Skincare fanatics of a certain age might remember that when retinol was introduced to the general public, it was touted as a serious game changer–a solution to everything from wrinkles to dull skin to acne. Available then mostly via prescription, it was one of the few skincare products that actually lived up to its promises, causing a bit of a sensation in the beauty world. Today it continues to revive and beautify the skin, but it’s now available in non-prescription products–now that is a game changer! That’s why in this article, we’re going to talk about over-the-counter retinol, what it’s good for, prescription vs. over-the-counter retinol, and the best over-the-counter retinol products. If you’ve wanted to try retinol, but weren’t sure how– keep reading!
IN A NUTSHELL
Main Takeaways: One of retinol’s main benefits is its ability to increase cell turnover, resulting in soother, brighter and younger looking skin.
Good to Know: Over-the-counter retinol products are highly effective without the harsh side effects you may experience with prescription retinol.
What Is Retinol Good For?
As you may or may not know, retinol is a kind of retinoid that comes from vitamin A, a highly active antioxidant. One of the many benefits of including retinol in your skin care routine is increased cell turnover rate. This has a number of benefits, including reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots for a brighter, smoother complexion.
Aside from its ability to increase cell turnover, it’s also been found to stimulate collagen production as this study from Harvard Medical School will attest. This is crucial because collagen is what helps keep your skin looking young and plump. The result is firmer, younger looking skin.
Prescription vs Over the Counter Retinol
As we discussed above, when retinol was first introduced, it was available mainly by prescription, but today there are many fabulous, effective retinol products available in over-the-counter form. So what’s the difference? Well, prescription retinol products are generally stronger than over-the-counter options and are meant to tackle more serious skin conditions like severe acne. Prescription retinol is also available orally. Because prescription retinol is so strong, it’s recommended that anyone starting it for the first time begin gradually. Also, anyone who’s pregnant or breastfeeding is advised not to use retinol, as it’s been found to cause birth defects
Are Over the Counter Retinol Creams Effective
Given the fact that retinol creams are available in stronger percentages via prescription, you may be asking yourself why, then, would you use an over-the-counter retinol cream? Well, as we mentioned, prescription retinol creams are now generally used when someone has a difficult skin issue or problem rather than when they just want to maintain great skin. Also, prescription retinol can often cause side effects like very severe flaking, general dryness or even itchiness. Unless you have some very specific and hard-to-treat issue such as acne, there’s no reason not to use an over-the-counter retinol cream, as they are highly effective without the harsh side effects.
Best Over the Counter Retinol Products
With all that in mind, you’re probably wondering what some of the best over-the-counter retinol products are, so we’ve chosen a couple to share. One note: it is always recommended to gradually introduce retinol to your skin. Typically, this means applying every other evening or every few days, then slowly increasing your application as your skin adjusts. Remember to always follow up with SPF!
Imagine if a little skincare fairy emerged from the aether to perfect your skin and take years off your complexion! Well, we can’t provide an actual fairy, but we can provide the next best thing, which is our Youth Fairy retinol moisturizer. The perfect beginner’s retinol moisturizer, this next-level face cream offers a deeper level of moisture, employing retinol to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Supported by botanically-based antioxidants, it works gently to help diminish dark spots and even out uneven skin tone. We’ve combined other great plant-based actives like aloe vera, shea butter and vitamin E to help soothe and nourish the skin.
Like our Youth Fairy moisturizer, this retinol serum also works on diminishing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. With a higher concentration of retinol than our retinol moisturizer, ‘A’ Game is ideal for tackling dark spots and uneven skin tone and texture. It also helps calm and brighten your skin’s overall appearance with ingredients like green tea, aloe vera and rosehip oil. When you are ready to up your retinol game, we recommend pairing ‘A’ Game with Youth Fairy for maximum efficacy.
If you’ve been on the fence about incorporating retinol into your daily skincare routine, we hope this convinces you to take the leap! Just remember to start out slowly and protect your skin with a great SPF so you don’t undo all that effort.