How do I Choose the Best over-The-Counter Retinol Products?

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  • Written By: Angela Crout-Mitchell
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2019
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Certain considerations must be made when choosing an appropriate over-the-counter retinol product including the correct dosage of active ingredients in the product, proper use guidelines, and determining if retinol is beneficial for the individual. This skin conditioning substance can be found in creams or lotions, and is available in prescription form when necessary. Retinol products are designed to aid with a number of skin conditions including treating fine lines and wrinkles, acne, and stimulating collagen production in the skin. It is believed to be well tolerated by most people, especially in over-the-counter formulas, and is often suggested by dermatologists and other medical professionals for skin care.

While retinol is very effective for treating a host of skin conditions and ailments, it is important to choose an over-the-counter retinol product that will be well tolerated by the skin. This amount varies greatly from person to person, and it may be necessary to try a few different formulas before finding the correct dosage. The strongest over-the-counter version of retinol contains 0.1% of active ingredients, and is often found in high intensity products such as retinol night creams and eye skin products. Most dermatologists suggest using a cream or lotion with lower retinol amounts if the skin does not respond well to the higher dosage amounts.


Another important consideration when choosing an over-the-counter retinol lotion or cream is convenience of proper use. One of the most crucial factors to understand about retinol products is that they are to be used only at night before sleeping. A common side effect of retinol is photosensitivity, or severe reactions to sunlight. When used during the day, the retinol creates a hyper-sensitivity to the sunlight and often results in sunburn. It is also advisable to use these products in the evening because the skin may also become red and flaky, and should only be used two to three times a week.

When deciding on the use of over-the-counter retinol products, it is also important to understand that these products are not beneficial to everyone. Retinol will produce red, flaky skin along with a stinging sensation, even in people with healthy skin. Those with damaged or highly sensitive skin may not be able to tolerate the effects of the product. Patients suffering from specific skin conditions, such as skin cancer and rosacea, are advised to not use these products as well. When using over-the-counter or prescription retinol products, it is important to seek medical advice and attention if a serious reaction is experienced.


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Post 3

Another tip for finding the best retinol cream for you is to ask your dermatologist. Doctors are usually willing to advise patients on the best over the counter products for their skin needs without insisting that they use products that require prescriptions.

Post 2

If you are on a budget, well-known chain drug stores often carry their brands of retinol creams. These products are effective without the high costs associated with high-end brand creams.

Post 1

Several natural product companies make retinol serums that are effective and gentle. If you want the benefits of over the counter retinol products without side effects such as red, itchy skin, I suggest that you look for one that doesn't contain added chemicals, dyes, and fragrances. On the other hand, ingredients such as fruit oils and peptides indicate a quality product.

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