Free shipping on all domestic orders over $39

Five Best with Retinol April 2013

Five Best with Retinol 2013

Solution for:

Fine Lines, Wrinkles
September 4, 2013 Reviewed by Marta 13 Comments

This post has been updated: Five Best with Retinol 2014

There is no doubt that retinols can improve the appearance of the skin since they are highly active. They work by exfoliating, and the effect on the skin will depend on the form of the retinol (there are several types in the vitamin A family including retin A, retinyl palmitate and trans retinol), the concentration used and the tolerance of the user (they can be drying and irritating). Retinols also increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun and so they are best used at night and rounded out with antioxidants that protect the skin. For me, the best way to use retinol is patiently, rather than grabbing the strongest dose from the derm’s office. The best options are gentler formulations that soothe, repair and boost collagen. My Five Best with retinol, have so much more to offer than vitamin A.

  • Arcona Vitamin A Complex Repair

    Arcona Vitamin A Complex Repair ($68 in the shop). Arcona has reformulated its retinol serum, streamlining it to an unadulterated dose of the key actives. There is retinol, a vitamin A derivative that exfoliates the skin and helps to diminish wrinkles, plus retinyl palmitate, which is easily absorbed by the skin and once it is there is converted into Retinol. Retinyl palmitate is gentler for sensitive skins than retinol, making this a good combination. The exfoliating force of these retinoids is given a further boost by glycolic acid. Fructooligosaccharides is a favorite ingredient of Arcona and it helps build collagen and retain moisture. Glucosamine HCI assists in maintaining the elasticity and integrity of the connective tissue and is an anti-inflammatory.

  • BRAD Biophotonic Ultra Elastin Lift

    BRAD Biophotonic Ultra Elastin Lift ($210 in the shop). If you want retinol as part of a comprehensive anti-aging serum, then look no further than this high-quality multitasker. BRAD believes in keeping beauty routines simple and this complex formula does it all. Ultra Elastin Lift firms the skin while improving skin tone. Retinyl palmitate gives a boost to glycolic acid and lactic acid. Borage and flax will tone down redness and a ton of hydrating ingredients counteract dryness, such as avocado, sodium hyaluronate, cocoa butter and tamanu.

  • Osmosis Correct

    Osmosis Correct ($46 in the shop). 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 product at any price and very good value at less than 50 bucks. With 0.5% retinol.

  • Skinfinite Platinum PM Cream 1% Retinol

    Skinfinite Platinum PM Cream 1% Retinol ($63 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. With 1% retinol. Another reviewer, found it too strong to use more than once a week.

  • 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 retinal, 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.

  • November 11, 2014

    by Marta

    Hi Terry, I have cast an eye over the ingredients and the formula is not very impressive. The most dominant ingredient is silicone, which will do nothing for your skin. Next up is squalane, which is a good moisturizer but might be the cause of the oiliness that you don't like. Here's the ingredient list: Cyclopentasiloxane, Squalane, Retinol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Water (Aqua), Pentylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Lechitin, Bisabolol, Alcohol.

  • November 10, 2014

    by Terry

    Hi: I just bought Peter Thomas Roth , Retinal Fusion PM that has 1.5% microencapsulated retinol. I paid $65 but it just feels like mineral oil. Can you tell me if this product is a good one for diminishing the appearance of wrinkles?

  • September 16, 2014

    by Marta

    Hi Jacquelyn
    Try looking at our Five Best for sagging skin:

  • September 16, 2014

    by Jacquelyn

    I too would like to know what to do for a crepy neck. Like the previous post, my face looks pretty good at 57 but my under chin area is starting to get a slight waddle (I'm slim) and I want to head it off if I can!

  • July 29, 2013

    by Linda

    I would like to know while using a retinoid, can you use growth factors?
    I remember using a product from a doctors office that said to not combine those 2 products together. The nurse said that the retinoids, do not allow the growth factors to work.

  • May 11, 2013

    by Denise

    I thought retinol and glycolic acid shouldn't be mixed in one serum. I read on here that glycolic overrides the retinol which makes it inactive. Is this true?

  • April 8, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Teri, I don't rate the products in the Five Best categories as I try to choose a range that perform well, will suit different pocket books and please those that want totally natural products and those that don't mind a wee compromise if the product is effective and overall has good ingredients. So there isn't one over-arching winner, but the opportunity to choose the one that most seems to fit your personal requirements.

  • April 5, 2013

    by Terri

    I would like to know if these top 5 products are rated 1 through 5, # 1 being the best? It would be nice to know how they rated in the order of the reveiws.

  • April 5, 2013

    by Elle

    Which of these would be appropriate for neck aging? My face actually looks years many younger than my age (42) but something dreadful has happened to my neck in the last two years: it is loose and crepey, and turkey wattle is creeping up fast. What happened?! I fear it is genetics but is there anything I can do - and is retinol the answer? Do I need to get out the big guns beyond the OTC retinol? I tried finding a post about neck issues and regimen but didn't see anything that pertained to this in particular. Many thanks!

  • April 5, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Asya, Alpha hydroxy acids, of which glycolic is one, work by loosening the glue-like substances that hold skin cells together, thus shedding the top layer of dull, damaged skin. Retinol penetrates the skin and works at a much deeper level encouraging cell turnover. There's more in these two posts:

  • April 5, 2013

    by Asya


    If retinols work by exfoliating and accelerating cell turnover how do they differ from the actions of glycolic acid?

  • April 5, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Jana, 1% is the highest amount allowed for over the counter. The other products don't give the concentrations, you can assume that they are under 1%.

  • April 5, 2013

    by Jana Menard

    Fantastic Review! The only thing I would like is for the strengths of the creams...looks like only the 1% lists the strength. Also, is Rx no longer necessary for 1%? Thanks Marta!

Join the discussion! Leave a comment below.

My Comment

Add a comment...

-or- Cancel Comment
* Required Fields
truth in aging's five best

Truth In Aging's Five Best

The very best to choose from for your skin concerns.

Read More

truth in aging videos

Truth In Aging Videos

Helpful how-tos and reviews from Marta and friends.

Watch Now

meet our contributors

Meet Our Contributors

The TIA community consists of our trusted reviewers.

Meet Them

be inspired

Be Inspired

Inspiring thoughts and women who are aging gracefully.

Read More