When it comes to anti-ageing skincare, retinol is one of the most effective ingredients out there. But it’s important to know which products are best for you before you start adding it to your beauty routine. To help you get started, we’ve rounded up the best retin a cream uk to help minimise fine lines, fade dark spots and reduce blemishes.
Retinol works by speeding up the skin’s natural regeneration process, increasing cell turnover and fading discolouration. But it can cause irritation and dryness, especially in the first few weeks of use – which is why we recommend starting with a low concentration product and building up your usage.
Our favourites are formulated to be gentle on the skin, with less than a pea-sized drop required for each application. They also come with hydrating ingredients, such as argan oil and vitamin E, to keep your complexion looking dewy. And because every skin type is different, we’ve chosen formulas to suit everyone, from those with sensitive skin (like this La Roche Posay retinol serum) to those who need extra hydration (this Body Shop retinol lotion).
It’s important to note that no retinol product can reverse major changes to the skin. If you’ve got severe sun damage or deep wrinkles, a prescription-strength retinoic acid (which can be bought by prescription in the UK) will be needed to help slow down the aging process.
All of our picks have been tested by a panel of beginners to make sure they’re easy to apply and won’t irritate skin. We’ve also noted whether they’re suitable for drier or sensitive skin types, as well as their price.
We’ve chosen formulas that have a lower concentration of the active ingredient and that are available to buy over the counter, as opposed to prescription-strength options such as adapalene (Differin). We’ve also opted for products that are backed by scientific research.
Retinols are most effective when used at night, so they’re ideal for use after cleansing and toning. We suggest combining them with brightening vitamin C products in the morning for maximum effect, and remember that they can increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, so be sure to wear an SPF during the day. We also advise avoiding other exfoliants such as AHAs or BHAs when using a retinol, particularly in the first few weeks of use to minimise irritation.