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  • Writer's pictureAnjana Rajbhandary

The Best Retinol Serums To Fight Wrinkles ASAP

Aging is inevitable, but there is a lot of pressure to look young in our current global culture. We invest in expensive creams and treatments to hold on to our youth, but it is natural to develop fine lines and wrinkles as time goes by. Instead of hating those lines, you have to accept aging as a privilege everyone doesn’t get. With age comes experience, and as we get older, everyone develops age spots, gets more frown lines, and notices some sagging skin. Before you freak out about it, thankfully, there is retinol. It is a magical ingredient that can do wonders for your skin, and if you are a skincare junkie, you have definitely heard about it, and probably use it in your skincare routine.

But what is retinol, and how does it work? Retinol is a “vitamin A derivative” that is wonderful because “it speeds up your cell turnover to reveal smoother, more even skin, stimulates collagen production to combat fine lines and wrinkles, and helps with acne and hyperpigmentation” (via Bustle). When you use retinol every day, is there anything it can’t do? Everyone can benefit from using this potent ingredient. In fact, New York City-based dermatologist Doris Day told Women’s Health, “As you age, the skin cells stop maturing, and they tend to pile up,” but the beauty of retinol is that “it works on a molecular level to normalize cell turnover.” Here, we’ve gathered the best retinol serums for you to fight wrinkles and give you younger-looking skin.

This is the best of the best retinol serum

Retinol is considered “one of the best-known skin care ingredients on the market,” and when applied, these tiny molecules “go deep beneath the epidermis (outer layer of skin) to your dermis” where it “helps neutralize free radicals,” and “boost the production of elastin and collagen, which creates a “plumping” effect,” per Healthline. Honestly, there is no correct age at which to start using retinol. “The production of collagen fibers starts to decline in our 20s,” Dr. Allison Arthur, MD, FAAD, at Sand Lake Dermatology Center, told They recommend adding retinol into your skincare routine in your early 20s.

We know retinol is quite impressive, so how do we find the best of the best? Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum was voted Byrdie’s “best overall” retinol serum because it has “1.5% concentration of encapsulated, time-released retinol (making it gentler than most) and brightening antioxidant,” with the editor reporting that her skin had “an overall more refreshed appearance” without any “irritation or redness.” This serum is a bit pricey, but it may be worth it. Honest Brand Reviews loves how this serum also has vitamins C and E, “which provide a healthy dose of antioxidants,” and considers the brand “well worth the money.”

Best bang for your buck for a retinol serum

Yes, there are splurge-worthy retinol serums, but you also need to pay attention to your budget. You might think it has to be super-pricey for such a powerful ingredient to work, but that is just not the case. For those looking for an affordable pick that works really well, Byrdie recommends The Ordinary Retinol Serum 1% In Squalane because it is “brilliantly cheap” and has squalane that is “blended with jojoba oil to minimize dryness.” This little gem costs less than $10.

If you prefer a slightly weaker version, Glamour Magazine UK suggests trying The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane. Even at a “lower percentage,” it helps “encourage cell turnover, revealing softer skin, while also tackling blemishes, dark spots and signs of aging, in the first few months of use.” You probably won’t be able to find any retinol serum this good at that price to fight fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.

Best drugstore retinol serum

Retinol is the gold standard for anti-aging ingredients, but they take time to work. New York-based dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum shared with Byrdie that “OTC (Over The Counter) retinol can take up to six months to see results,” because, depending on your skin type, it “takes between three to four weeks to adapt to consistent use.” You need to be patient to see the results of retinol on your skin, but this retinol serum may act quicker than the rest.

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum is cheaper alternative because “the featherweight serum improves the look of wrinkles after about three months of daily use” (via Allure). It also has magnesium, zinc, and copper, which “aid in skin renewal,” and won Allure’s Best of Beauty Awards in 2019. It has ultimately won many hearts, and we see why.

Best retinol serum for hyperpigmentation

Retinol is one-of-a-kind when it comes to anti-aging ingredients, but it doesn’t work too well with the sun. That doesn’t mean you should stop wearing sunscreen if you use retinol, though. “Retinol makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays, and sunlight decreases the efficacy of the product,” New York City dermatologist Whitney Bowe told Vogue. She recommends only using retinol or other retinoids “at night,” and to “be diligent about applying a daily broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher during the day.” According to Derm Collective, hyperpigmentation is most often caused by sun exposure.

Marie Claire calls Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment a “fan favorite” because it also has “a quadruple peptide blend that keeps skin looking firmer over time,” in addition to retinol. Skin Care Hero considers it “best for hyperpigmentation and wrinkles” and “an excellent choice for sun spots.”

Best retinol serum for sensitive skin

Retinol is a potent ingredient that delivers what it promises, but it can be harsh for sensitive skin, causing irritation. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it. “When choosing a retinol for sensitive skin, I recommend starting on the lower end, such as .01 to .03%,” Pennsylvania-based dermatologist Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky, M.D., told Bustle. She recommends serums “formulated with encapsulated retinol.”

Bustle’s recommendation is CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum with “encapsulated retinol.” Plus, it also has “ceramides to boost your skin’s barrier and licorice root extract to help brighten.” It’s also a winner of Allure’s Best of Beauty Awards. It further has niacinamide, “a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich vitamin B3 derivative that has been scientifically shown to help with redness and discoloration in the skin,” per Allure. It is definitely “more tolerable for sensitive skin.”

Originally published at on March 18, 2022.


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