Top 6 Retinol Products – Recommended by Dermatologist Dr. Dray
Retinol is a term for topical Vitamin A. Vitamin A consists of retinoic acid or Tretinoin, which is known for its anti-aging benefits. It boosts up collagen production in the skin which improves the condition of the skin by repairing it and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It removes sun damaged skin cells, not only that but it has also been discovered that Tretinoin can remove pre skin cancer cells.
Keep reading for some of Dr. Dray’s favorite cleansers to be used with retinol.
Retinol vs Tretinoin
Both Retinol and Tretinoin are Vitamin A derivatives, both Retinol and Tretinoin are known to treat the same skin conditions. Both Retinol and Tretinoin:
- Stimulate Collagen in the Skin, making it more elastic
- Reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
- Exfoliate the skin
- Have anti-aging properties
- Help with hyperpigmentation
So, how are they different?
Tretinoin is a synthetic version of Vitamin A, only available via prescription because it is very strong and not well tolerated by sensitive skin.
Retinol is a natural form of Vitamin A, it is milder, hence less irritating, and more tolerated by sensitive skin. Retinol does not require a doctor’s prescription, and easily available over the counter. Therefore, Retinol is more popular when it comes to skin care.
Please remember that moisturizing your skin regularly is a must when using retinoic acid or Tretinoin. Dr. Dray has some of her favorite moisturizers that she recommends, and I have them listed for you right here. Click for some of the best moisturizers for you!
Top 5 Retinol Products – Recommended by Dr. Dray Dermatologist
Dr. Dray Dermatologist is whom I trust when it comes to skin care. If you watch her videos, you will see what I am talking about. She does not recommend every skin care product under the sun. The two most basic products Dr. Dray recommends in her videos are moisturizer, and sunscreen. I only started using both these things last year after watching Dr. Dray and I saw a difference on my face in less than a week.
I have oily skin which is why I was under the misconception that I did not need to moisturize. Well, low and behold – I was wrong. It does not matter what your skin type is, oily, dry, acne prone, “combination”; you need a moisturizer, and you need it every day. That is something I still do not follow to a T but yes, daily moisturizer and sunscreen is imperative when it comes to skin care.
Other than that, if you want smoother looking skin, you want to fight signs of aging, reduce fine lines, or deal with acne, Retinol or other Vitamin A derivatives are great to add to your skin care routine. Here are The Best Retinols for Hyperpigmentation and anti-aging as recommended by Dr. Dray Dermatologist. You can click on the link, if you prefer the video format.
I have another blog post that I wrote about The Best Cetaphil Products Recommended by Dr. Dray, Click here for that.
Dr. Dray reminds us that it is important to remember to introduce these products into your skin very slowly to minimize irritation and this also allows your skin to adjust to these products without acting out, start with once or twice a week, for the first few weeks.
Note: The product links in this post are for your benefit and mine. If you use them to make a purchase, I will get a small commission from Amazon, as part of their affiliate program. Thank you!
Adapalene – A third generation retinoic acid, that is recommended for people with sensitive skin, used to be exclusively available via prescription but now it is available over the counter to be bought by consumers. Mainly used by people with acne, recent studies have shown that Differin gel also has some anti-aging benefits and reduces the appearance of sunspots. This gel is already in its active state, so the skin does not have to do anything to prepare for it.
Dr. Dray’s Recommendation 2 – La Roche-Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel Acne Treatment
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel Acne Treatment is the same as Differin. They are both the same drug, manufactured by different brands. Adapalene is an evidence-based ingredient that can brighten sunspots and pigmentation caused by the sun. It can also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
This ingredient can be used at nighttime, Dr. Dray recommends. It can be incorporated into your night routine. Dr. Dray recommends washing your face at the end of the day, make sure to get off all the makeup, oil, dirt, put on a moisturizer and let it fully absorb into your skin, and then apply Adapeline, that is Differin or La Roche-Posay’s Adapalene Gel. This method of application minimizes the irritation that some people experience after using Adapalene.
Alternatively, it can also be used during the day, since unlike Retinoic acid, Adapalene remains stable in the presence of light. It can be used on your arms as well.
Retinaldehyde improves the look of the skin by reducing wrinkles, fine lines, improves the appearance of pores, boosts collagen production, removes hyperpigmentation. It is less irritating than Adapalene because the skin takes longer to process the Vitamin A. It is also why it takes longer to show results, but it will show results over time. This product can be used around the eyes, around your mouth or the neck. Clinical studies have shown that this ingredient can improve the appearance of crow’s feet around the eyes.
Dr. Dray Dermatologist recommends using this product in your nighttime skin care routine, it can work well as your nighttime moisturizer to your face and neck. Just make sure your face and neck are clean before you use this. It can also be used as a spot moisturizer. It is expensive so you can use your regular moisturizer all over your face, and then use this as a spot moisturizer for areas that need more help.
Let’s Talk about Retinol for Skin Care
The skin needs to perform two steps for retinols to work, which is why retinols take longer than adapalene and retinaldehyde to work. However, there is evidence that long term use of retinol can help improve your skin by producing more collagen into the skin, reducing fine lines, it has anti-aging properties as well.
Unlike, the before mentioned ingredients, adapalene and retinaldehyde, retinol is mainly a cosmetic and not an FDA approved ingredient for anything. Dr. Dray claims that not all retinols are created equally, which is why she is cautious and choosy when it comes to picking and recommending a product with retinol in it for skin care.
This product not only helps reduce wrinkles and fine lines, but it is also effective when it comes to getting rid of post acne redness and discoloration. It has niacinamide and licorice extracts, the combination of these two ingredients along with retinol, can work wonders when it comes to dealing with hyper pigmentation. A lot of people believe that topical Vitamin A should not used by people with rosacea, however, it has been seen that this product has helped people with rosacea. Start with one night a week and try building it gradually.
Apply a moisturizer first, and once that has completely dried up, use this retinol serum just before going to bed. It is best suited to people in their twenties and thirties that are looking for anti-aging products.
I use this and it is a great one! Almost every dermatologist on the internet has this in their top 10 list of favorite retinols.
Dr. Dray’s Recommendation 5 – Neutrogena Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream (the fragrance-free version)
This Retinol product is Dr. Dray’s favorite, this product is super moisturizing, can be used as a nighttime moisturizer around the eyes (just do not get it inside your eyes, like all other Vitamin A products) face, neck, around the mouth and arms. This product stings a little when you apply it, it says so on the lable. The slight tingling sensation goes away soon enough.
Dr. Dray dermatologist recommends using this product at night. Cleanse your skin properly and apply this retinol product when the skin is a little damp. The slow release sustained action of this retinol will not cause an irritation on your skin if used this way, unlike the other Retin A ingredients, like Adapalene, which should not be used on damp skin.
This super moisturizing retinol product has been tested vastly in laboratories, and studies conducted over a year suggest that this product showed continued improvement in the condition of skin, by reducing wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation; it is an anti-aging powerhouse, and the fact this it is also a moisturizer, this product is particularly well suited for people with sensitive skin.
This is a new retinol product in the market. Dr. Dray recently recommended this in one of her instagram posts as one of the best drugstore retinol products. The sustained action retinol in this Neutrogena product is a slow release encapculated retinol, that is clinically tested on actual patients. This one gets a thumbs up by our favrite dermatologist and one worth trying if you’re looking for an affordable retinol product.
Cleansers to be Used with Retinols – Also Dermatologist Dr. Dray Recommended
Usage of retinol can really benefit the skin, however it can dry out your skin. A key to success with using retinol or Vitamin A derivatives is to avoid really hot water, avoid scrubbing your face or using a harsh cleanser. It is important to use a gentle facial cleanser, especially when using a retinol.
Dr. Dray recommends these gentle, non soap, fragrance free cleansers to be used with your Retinol:
This cleanser is very gentle, mild and perfect to be used along with a retinol, prescription or store bought. This is a safe bet. Dr. Dray is a fan of a lot of these CeraVe products. I have a list of her top recommendations from the brand right here. Click here for some of the top dermatologist recommendations from CeraVe.
This cleanser is another favorite of Dr. Dray’s. It has licorice root in it which is anti-inflammatory, and helps calm down redness. It also has glycerin which is hydrating, hydration is key when it comes to cleansers, especially while using retinols. Here is a travel size one that you can try out first.
This one is also no surprise for anybody who watches Dr. Dray videos. Another gentle cleanser with a very small ingredient list. When it comes to skin care, trust me, the smaller the list, the better the outcome. Yes, I have a post up with the top Neutrogena recommendations by Dr. Dray as well. Here it is!
Adapalene is the most well suited when addressing acne and hyperpigmentation, however it is also the ingredient most likely to cause irritation and dryness and not tolerated well by everybody. Retinaldehyde requires your skin to oxidize first, to work, which is why it takes longer to see results after using this product. It is best suited for people with crow’s feet around their eyes, wrinkles around the mouth and to rejuvenate the neck. Retinols require the skin to do two things before they can start working, the results definitely take longer, but with consistent usage, retinols, as data based evidence shows, can visibly help improve your skin.