From reducing wrinkles to tackling acne and bumpy skin texture, there's no skincare expert out there that would deny a retinol is a must-have product you need on your bathroom shelf.
The problem is, when you first start using them, retinols can cause a bit of dryness, redness and even peeling – so some of us get put off using them long-term. But the good news is there are loads of different formulas that promise to work on every skin type – so you can easily find one that suits you.
We had our OK! testing panel try out some of the latest launches to review exactly what they did for their skin after six weeks…
If you’re a first time retinol user
Try:Superfacialist Retinol+ Reviving Tonic Lotion, £16, buy it here
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Weaker vitamin A (retinol) formulas are a good introduction for new users and this daily toner has retinol, aloe vera and glycolic acid in the ingredients to soothe while smoothing.
Tester Deborah says : "It was my first time trying a retinol but I found this was gentle enough for daily use. I noticed an improvement in the tone of my skin after a few weeks, without any reaction at all. My lines are slightly less visible now, too."
If you have sensitive skin
Try:Pixi Retinol Jasmine Lotion, £24, buy it here
Look for a treatment like this one with jasmine oil in, that mixes together calming and hydrating ingredients to stop the retinol from causing dryness.
Tester Zoe says: "Finding a good retinol is tricky for me, as my skin is very sensitive. This product really makes my skin feel softer and look smoother, without aggravating it – but it does sometimes bring me out in a few little spots if I use too much, so it’s not an every day product for me."
If you want to fix problem eye areas
Try:Superdrug Optimum Retinol Eye Cream, £12.99, buy it here
Since the eye area is delicate, you can’t always treat it with a vitamin A, but this contains retinyl palmitate, which isn’t as strong as other retinols and can be used safely for smoothing.
Tester Jessica says : "I have reactive skin and tend to break out with small red bumps if my face rejects any of the ingredients – especially around thinner areas like eyes. But I had no problems with this. I’m noticing my makeup stays on better and doesn’t crease as much and the area looks smoother."
If you want to refine skin texture
Try:Sienna X The Retinol Serum, £36, buy it here
It stimulates collagen production as well as boosting radiance and evening out rough skin with a concentrated 0.3% retinol formula.
Tester Tanya says: "This didn’t completely shift my fine lines but it did make my skin look smoother, as I usually have quite a bumpy complexion. It made my face go a little red for the first few days but was fine after using it every other day for a week."
If you’re stepping up your retinol
Try:skinSense Double Strength Retinol Night Serum, £46, buy it here
If your skin is already used to retinol then try this one, which offers a higher 0.6% concentration. The vitamin A is also encapsulated which means it’s better preserved.
Tester Lynne says: "Not a starter formula – I’m used to retinol and even I noticed a tingly feel initially. It takes time to see anti-ageing results from retinol, but this serum has a nice instant smoothing effect which makes me want to keep using it."
If want to quickly banish lines and wrinkles
Try:Perricone MD High Potency Classics Firming Evening Repair, £79, buy it here
The formula of this combines 0.14% retinol with antioxidants and DMAE, which is naturally produced in the body and has been shown to have positive effects on sagging skin.
Tester Victoria says: "Immediately after applying this my skin felt slightly tingly, which I liked. My skin felt and looked smoother and plumper after just a few applications – and fine lines around my lips were diminished. It’s powerful though, so don’t use too much!"
What you need to know about retinol
*‘It’s used in serums, creams and toners because of its ability to speed up skin cell renewal and boost collagen production so is ideal for improving the look of fine lines and wrinkles,’ says Dr Tatiana Lapa.
*The percentage of retinol in products varies. For over-the- counter products, this usually ranges from a starter strength of 0.1% up to a potent 1%.
*You may experience a bit of skin tingling or flaking for the first few days of using a retinol. ‘However, brands often add other ingredients like hyaluronic acid into the formula which ensures those side effects are kept to a minimal,’ says Dr Tatiana.
*If you’re new to retinol, build up gradually, says Dr Tatiana. ‘Start with a lower formula and only use it every few days, then gradually increase the frequency and strength.’
*Retinol makes your skin more sensitive to the sun so make sure you wear a daily SPF30+.
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