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Five Best over the counter anti-wrinkle retinol creams

Solution for:

Fine Lines, Wrinkles
March 9, 2013 Reviewed by Marta 15 Comments

This post has been updated. See Five Best with Retinol 2014.

Retinol, it must be said, is very good at reducing fine lines and giving the complexion a boost. So good, in fact, that it is easy to get addicted. Beware, retinol is a heavy-duty exfoliator and overuse may irritate the skin and even thin it.

What Is Retinol? Why Do Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Creams Work?

Retinoids are highly active and produce relatively quick skin changes but the speed and intensity of the changes is dependent on the form and dose, as well as an individual’s tolerance. Our Five Best over-the-counter anti-wrinkle retinol buys have been tested by me and members of the Truth In Aging community and have been selected because, along with retinol, they are packed with other great anti-aging ingredients.

  • Omosis Correct

    Omosis Correct ($56). An excellent and effective product that fades wrinkles and smooths the skin whilst being relatively gentle. The secret is that niacinamide backs up the action of trans retinal. Plus there are anti-aging heavy hitters such as copper peptides and epidermal growth factor that repair wrinkles, as well as R-Lipoic acid. A great anti-wrinkle retinol product at any price and very good value at less than 50 bucks.

  • PSF Retinol Nite Repair

    PSF Retinol Nite Repair ($46). A good product at a good price. It packs its punch with a 1% concentration of pharmaceutical grade retinol. Alpha lipoic acid is an interesting additional ingredient that is supposed to prevent vitamin C and E deficiency. Counteracting the irritant effects of retinol are aloe, neem oil and willow bark, which has salicin (similar to aspirin) in it. Unfortunately, I am less keen on the butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), a preservative that has been banned as a food additive in Japan and Europe.

  • Skinfinite Platinum PM Cream 1% Retinol

    Skinfinite Platinum PM Cream 1% Retinol ($79 in the shop). Truth In Aging reviewer, Mark, said: I didn’t experience any redness, irritation or flaking (as I did initially with retin-A, even with cautious use) and I do attribute that to gradual use, and most likely the improvement in the delivery system of the product.  It left my skin smooth and even toned. Interestingly, instead of drying my skin out, it actually hydrated it thanks to several moisturizing ingredients such as shea butter, almond oil, beta-glucan(D), and ceramide-2”. Skinfinite says its retinol is entrapped in molecular microsponges that enhances skin penetration in a time-release delivery system. Another reviewer, found this anti-wrinkle retinol cream too strong to use more than once a week.

  • Arcona Vitamin A Complex Repair

    Arcona Vitamin A Complex Repair ($68). Arcona put two retinoids in their Complex Repair (PM). Retinol, the alcohol form of vitamin A, is the third ingredient, and retinyl palmitate is further down at 10th position. For anyone who likes retinoids, this is a great one to try because the overall formulation is so clean, lightweight and you won’t have to wait too long to see some changes. Truth In Aging reviewer, Jaysie, said she “was quickly aware of a tightening effect, but also a smoothing effect. For anyone who likes retinoids, this is a great one to try because the overall formulation is so clean, lightweight and you won’t have to wait too long to see some changes."

  • Prana Reverse A

    Prana Reverse A ($48 in the shop). An excellent retinol that does a great job of bringing down sun damaged skin. If you have stubborn areas of aging skin or hyperpigmentation and want a relatively effective over the counter anti-wrinkle retinol cream, then Prana Reverse A is worth trying out. Reverse A gets my vote for its natural ingredients and slew of anti-agers. Alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant and produces energy in cells and I especially like l-Carnosine, which flushes toxins from the body and may extend the Hayflick Limit (the number of times cells reproduce themselves). NaPCA crops up in a few of Prana’s products and sounds a little like hyaluronic acid (which is also here) in that it Na-PCA it pulls water out of the air to moisturize the skin.  With botanical sage, horsetail and chamomile, Reverse A also has calming effects and may help with broken capillaries. The vitamin A is rounded out with Vitamin B5, E and C.

  • July 18, 2014

    by dee

    I have been reading about Revitol over on and it sounds good. Has anyone had any experience with this product? Apparantly, it is better than Botox. Sounds too good to be true. That's why I am looking for some "human" experience of this product.

    I get so fed up with fake reviews/

  • May 22, 2011

    by Kim Y.

    Dr. Oz says to use help me cream by philosophy, $45 for 1.05 oz at amazon. Looks to have some great reviews, so I took a chance and bought a kit from (also came w/free gift and I looked up promo codes to get 15% off + free shipping! Waiting to get it so we'll see!

  • May 28, 2009

    by Evelyn Andreoli

    I have just found this cream on the Internet and I am interested in it. I have not heard of it before and was checking up on Dermapril-SP, Prevage and Dermitage Products. I had a CO2 Lazer Treatment done and I am looking for a product that will suit my skin. I have used Dermitage for a short time before the treatment and it was nice. I have also used Stridi Vectrin for about 3 years. I am now using the bleaching cream and MD Mositerizer until the Dr. Chang says I can start using something else.

    Some say that the product Prevage with Idebenone is the best and others say that Dermapril-SP with Matrixyl 3000 and Argatensyl is the best. Now MyChelle Supreme says no to Matrixy; 3000.

    The regiment that is said is best is:

    Anti=Aging Products (antioxidant, Retinoid, MMP Inhibitor)
    Sunscreen Daily (UVA &UVB)

    So now what do I buy is the trick.??

  • April 10, 2009

    by Christine

    Hi, Marta,

    Have you tried Pantaxyl yet?

  • March 26, 2009

    by marta

    Victorial Principal's line uses Argireline. This peptide is supposed to reduce facial muscle movement and the production of expression lines. Nothing wrong with it, but its not outstanding. The rest of the ingredients aren't listed.

    Sorry, but I'm not qualified to make recommendations linked to surgical recovery. That's between you and your surgeon

  • March 24, 2009

    by Liz

    Have you looked at Victoria Principal's line? Do you have an opinion on the Reclaim line? Is there something you recommend for pre- and post- eyelid surgery that will help with healing? Thank you.

  • March 17, 2009

    by Kat8

    I just purchased (yet to receive) the gloRetinol CS by glotherapeutics, however, it contains 5% glycolic and 3% retinol...and i've since read that glycolic (AHAs) deactivate retinol so they should not be used together. I'm just wondering if I should be rethinking the $55 I spent on the product. I'm looking for a great retinol more so than a great AHA.

  • December 23, 2008

    by Jenny

    Hi Marta,
    I tried to access your review re: Lifecell but it is giving me an error message (404--no longer there). I get the same error message when I try to access the updated five best anti-wrinkle serum review. Help!
    I have been testing IQ Derma's eye cream and anti-wrinkle serum now for 2.5 weeks and am looking to try another product for comparison.


  • October 20, 2008

    by Petra

    <p>I've used the Glo therapeutics gloRetinol CS and love it. I have been struggling to keep some pre-menopausal acne under control and this product really seems to help with that while making my face look brighter and feel softer - probably because of the exfolation properties of the glycolic acid. I don't feel that it's enough of an anti aging serum and am trying to find the perfect peptide serum to use on top of this, but if you're looking for a good retinol product, I think this is the best I've tried.</p>

  • September 18, 2008

    by Marta

    <p>Thanks for your kind words.</p>

    <p>I wrote about Lifecell: <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a><br />
    I'm not surprised the results are superficial. </p>

    <p>I have had good results with ReLuma and Your Best Face Control for forehead wrinkles and crow's feet. Honestly, they are both the best things I have found so far.</p>

  • September 18, 2008

    by Thia

    <p>I've been obsessed with anit aging products since a young age. I'm a smoker that doesn't want to look like a smoker! I've also suffered from cystic acne since age 9. Seem to have it under control at the moment but want to live life for just a while with a clean lineless face. One product I found last year is LifeCell. Have you had a chance to try this product? Sometimes I feel it works, but on those tired days, it just doesn't seem to diminish my lines. I've read your revies of YBF Correct, and now, today, ReLuma. I have the beginnings of crow's feet, and forehead lines. What would you recommend?<br />
    Btw, I have to tell you, this is the best site I have found to date! You're doing a fantastic job in advising us product junkies! Thanks so much!</p>

  • September 10, 2008

    by jo

    <p>here are two more from glo, both of which have 1% retinol (the first is combined with 7% glycolic and 2% salicylic acid):</p>

    <p>glotherapeutics gloRenew Serum<br />
    Ingredients: Aqua (Distilled Water), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Ethanol, Glycerin, Glycolic Acid Salicylic Acid, Retinol, Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein, Pyridoxine, Totarol™, Niacinamide, D-panthenol, Allantoin, D-biotin, Xanthan Gum, Phyllantus Emblica (Amla) Fruit Extract, L-carnosine, Spin Trap (Phenyl Butyl Nitrone), Dehydroacetic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Benzethonium Chloride, Fragrance Oils<br />
    <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a></p>

    <p>gloSuper Serum<br />
    Ingredients: Aqua (Distilled Water), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Glycerin, Argireline® (Acetyl Hexapeptide-3), Glycosaminoglycans/Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, C12-15 AlkylBenzoate, Matrixyl™ 3000 (Palmitoyl Oligopeptide-Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3), Retinol, Marine Oligopeptides, Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), Superoxide Dismutase, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Phyllantus Emblica (Amla) Fruit Extract, L-carnosine, Niacinamide, Spin Trap (Phenyl Butyl Nitrone), Xanthan Gum, Fragrance Oils, Dehydroacetic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Benzethonium Chloride<br />
    <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a></p>

  • September 10, 2008

    by marta

    <p>Both of these look really good. I like inclusion of spin trap and niacinamide. They'll nudge out some of my finds when I do an update. Thanks!!</p>

  • September 10, 2008

    by Nimue

    <p>Here's another product:</p>

    <p>PSF Retinol Nite Repair 1% Active Retinol</p>

    <p>Ingredients:<br />
    Rosa damascena (Rose) Distillate, Simmondsia chinensis (Organic Jojoba), Cocos nucifera (Organic Coconut), Vegetable Glycerin, Alpha lipoic acid (ALA), Emulsifying Wax NF, Palm Stearic Acid, Citric Acid, Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Oleoresin, Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), Azadirachta indica (Organic Neem), Salix nigra (Organic Black Willow Bark) Extract, Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT Spin Trap), Methylpropylparaben</p>


    <p>Since the ingredients on the PSF website are a picture, I copied them from EDS- essential day spa. I'm not using this product yet, or any retinoid but if I wanted to start I would consider this. There's also a version of this product with a lower % of retinol.</p>

  • September 9, 2008

    by jo

    <p>I wonder how this one with 3% retinol & 5% glycolic acid compares?</p>

    <p>glotherapeutics gloRetinol CS<br />
    Ingredients: Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Aqua (Water), Alcohol Denat. (Ethanol), Glycolic Acid, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Daucus Carota Sative (Carrot) Root Extract, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Opuntia Ficus Indica Flower Extract, Retinol, Gallic Acid, Phyllantus Emblica (Amla) Fruit Extract, L-carnosine, Niacinamide, Spin Trap (Phenyl Butyl Nitrone), Daucus Carota Sative (Carrot) Seed Oil, Morus Alba (Mulberry) Bark Extract, Xanthan Gum </p>

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