Throughout our lives, we find ourselves focusing on different things when it comes to skincare. Sometimes, we’re focusing heavily on clearing up acne or reducing redness. Other times, we want to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles or focus on pigmentation and acne scarring. Is there a silver bullet answer to all of these skincare problems? Retinoids and retinols might be the solution!
Skincare can be incredibly overwhelming because there are so many products out there that will address different skincare concerns. However, retinoids will combat all of these at once which is why retinoids (more specifically, retinols) have squeezed their way into my skincare routine and will NEVER leave!
So if you are searching for a new product that will elevate your skin to new heights, minimize fine lines, smooth your skin, and even out the texture of your skin, then look no further than retinoids and retinols!
Disclosure: Please keep in mind that many of the links provided below are affiliate links which means that I am compensated if you do decide to make a purchase. Whether or not you do so is completely up to you!
What Are Retinoids?
To put it simply, a retinoid is a Vitamin A derivative and was first used as a prescription acne treatment by dermatologists several decades ago. And while retinoids are fantastic for fighting acne, they are also great for clearing your pores, reducing fine lines, and smoothing out your skin through stimulating collagen production.
Underneath the umbrella of retinoids are several different products–most notably retinols. Retinols are the most popular form of retinoids, likely because you can purchase them over the counter and without any kind of prescription.
If you are interested in trying out a retinoid, I HIGHLY recommend starting with retinol! You may find that an over the counter retinol product works just fine for your skin without having to take the step up to a retinoid (and, subsequently, pay more money).
Side Effects of Retinoids
Personally, I put off adding retinol to my skincare routine for a long time simply because of how many side effects I had heard about. I thought that I–with my sensitive skin–would never be able to safely use a retinoid or retinol because they were so strong that they would basically burn my skin off.
Obviously, that is a bit hyperbolic, but the question still stands: what are the potential side effects of using a retinoid (or, more specifically, a retinol)?
First of all, there is a common misconception that retinoids and retinols are exfoliants. This is not the case! Since retinoids and retinols are actually Vitamin A derivatives, they are technically an antioxidant for your skin rather than an exfoliant. Therefore, if you are experiencing any side effects that you would expect from a heavy-duty exfoliant (like flaking or redness), that means that your skin is irritated by the product you are using. If this is happening to you, no need to worry! Apply moisturizer to your face before and after using retinol in order to give your skin an additional layer of protection.
Another misconception about retinoids and retinols is that you have to avoid the sun if you use them. I remember reading that retinoids and retinols weaken your skin against the sun and make you more prone to sunburns and skin cancer.
However, my esthetician was glad to let me know that this is 100% a myth and that there have been no studies that have shown that the use of retinoids or retinols make us more sensitive to the sun. However, you definitely should be using sun protection if you go outside–retinols or not!
Retinoids vs. Retinols
If you have sensitive skin and are just delving into the world of retinoids for the first time, I highly recommend starting out with a retinol product rather than a prescription-strength retinoid. Not only are retinols less potent than retinoids, but they are also available over the counter which makes it incredibly easy to grab one; not to mention affordable!
Since I like to promote products that I have first-hand experience with, I am going to be focusing on retinols. I have never tried a retinoid because, honestly, retinols have done an incredible job at clearing up stubborn pimples, preventing further breakouts, and smoothing out and evening my skin tone. Most importantly, I haven’t really experienced too many irritation issues with the retinol products I have tried out. Since that was my biggest hang up about retinols in the first place, I have to say that I am more than pleased! So if you are interested in seeing which retinols are my absolute favorites, keep on reading!
The Best Drugstore Retinols
For background, I have dry, sensitive skin, so I am always on the hunt for the best retinols for sensitive skin! If you’re like me and a little bit nervous about causing some major irritation by adding a retinol to your skincare routine, OI am happy to share a few of the retinol products I have tried recently that I have been very happy with!
I love to recommend this retinol to beginners since it comes portioned out in these cute little capsules! When I was just starting out with experimenting with retinols, I was always unsure of how muh I should use on my face–especially because I have sensitive skin. I didn’t want to cause irritation on my face simply because I was using too much retinol!
That’s why these capsules are perfect! They hold the perfect amount of product, so all you need to do is twist the cap off, pour it onto your fingertips, and apply the product to your face!
Aside from the pre-portioned capsules, I found that this formula went on smoothly and sank into my skin nicely. And–most importantly–it didn’t cause any irritation or breakouts! The jar comes with 30 capsules which is a really nice amount if you are just experimenting with retinols and don’t want to commit too much to one product. This is one of my all-time favorite retinols though, so be prepared to be amazed if you try it out!
I put this on my skin once or twice a week before my moisturizer and wake up to such smooth skin! My skin looks so refreshed, plump, and smooth in the mornings after I use these capsules. Seriously, I can’t help but touch my face in the mornings after wearing this all night. It’s a skincare game changer!
This is another great retinol to use if you are a beginner simply because the price tag cannot be beaten! I bought this retinol about a year ago when I did my first big haul of products from The Ordinary. However, at that time, I really didn’t pay too much attention to this one since I had bought so many different things and was a little bit disorganized when it came to testing them out and forming an opinion on each of them.
Fast forward to a few months ago, and I decided to give this little guy a try once more. Overall, I thought that this was a great retinol–especially at such an affordable price! One thing I will say is that I didn’t enjoy the scent of this one too much, but it didn’t really linger very long which was nice.
I will also say that this retinol did cause a bit more tinglyness in my skin than the ROC retinol, so I was definitely putting on moisturizer before this product in order to provide an additional layer of protection. Because of this, I would recommend this retinol to someone who doesn’t have any issues with skin sensitivity.
I have to say that I really am a big fan of RoC retinol products. I feel like you really can’t go wrong with any of them!
This anti-aging face cream from RoC boasts–of course–anti-aging benefits. While I think that I am still a little too young to give a verdict on whether or not my skin looks ten years younger like the product advertises, I will say that it did a great job of smoothing out my skin. Seriously, I woke up in the morning looking airbrushed! Plus, my skin not only looked incredibly smooth but it felt so soft as well!
This was the retinol that I moved up to when I felt like I was ready to graduated from the RoC capsules, and while I was disappointed by the size of the tube, I will say that a little bit of this product goes a long way. The capsules are fantastic for learning how much retinol you need in order to see the best benefit, and I was able to use that knowledge to make this tube last for a few months. Not too bad given the price!
Have any of you tried out retinoids or retinols yet? What’s your verdict? Because I personally cannot imagine my skincare routine without one now!