How do I Choose the Best Retinol Gel?

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  • Written By: Rica Lewis
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2019
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Odds are if you're trying to choose the best retinol gel, you're trying to improve the look of your skin. With that in mind, making the best choice — the right choice — for your skin is important. With a multitude of retinol gels available and each promising optimal results, choosing the best one is no easy task. Many factors, including ingredients, skin type and budget, should all be considered as you peruse the cosmetics counter for the best retinol gel for your skin.

Retinol, a vitamin A compound, is an antioxidant — a substance that neutralizes free radicals and helps to offset everyday damage that causes skin breakdown and wrinkles. Retinol gel is often effective alone but is typically combined with other nourishing ingredients, such as hydroxy acids, kinetin, copper peptides and coenzyme Q10. Look for these active ingredients as you skim the labels on prospective products, but keep in mind that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not evaluate cosmetic products, so their effectiveness is uncertain.

The time of day in which you want to apply your retinol gel should help you narrow your search. Retinol gels are available in various formulas, including daytime and nighttime varieties and gels designed specifically for the skin around the eyes. Skin undergoes a restoration and repair process at night, so many believe a nighttime product — one that works in accord with the body’s clock — is most beneficial.


Nighttime retinol gels do not need to be layered with other cosmetics and creams, which may help improve their effectiveness and reduce the possibility of skin irritation. If a daytime gel seems more appealing, the product should contain an added sunscreen, because retinoid ingredients can make skin sensitive to the sun. Experts recommend broad-spectrum sunscreen, meaning it blocks both UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF of at least 15.

Targeted eye gels may help if morning puffiness and under-eye circles are a problem. The skin under the eyes is thinner and more sensitive than other areas, so people with sensitive skin may experience irritation. There is no guarantee that any product, even one that your best friend adores, will be gentle on your own skin.

Some women feel a product’s price tag is indicative of its quality. There is some truth to that theory, because prescription gels contain higher concentrations of active ingredients and are often priced higher, it is not always an accurate measurement. When comparing products, ignore the prices and examine the labels instead.

In the end, the best retinol gel cannot counteract an unhealthy lifestyle. Getting proper sleep, exercise and maintaining a healthy diet — one that contains a variety of vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables — is the best anti-wrinkle formula. Combine good habits with a great retinol gel for the best possible results.


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Post 3

I use a retinol gel for wrinkles. The label says that there is 100,000 Iu of retinol per ounce of gel. I'm not sure what percentage that translates into, but I'm very pleased with the results. The change in my skin is fairly dramatic. The cream started working right away and my wrinkles don't appear as deep as before. I've also noticed that my skin is softer.

The only problem with the gel is that it's very thick which makes it difficult to apply. I asked my dermatologist about this just today and he suggested mixing the gel with a little bit of my regular moisturizer for easier application. I'm going to do that from now on.

Post 2

@serenesurface-- A retinol gel with a concentration of 0.01% is best for beginners.

I also used retinol gel for acne and it was very helpful. I used 0.01% gel as a thin layer once a day in the beginning. Since it takes a while for skin to adjust to retinol products, it's important to use very little at first. Otherwise, the skin might get irritated. After the skin adjusts, the amount and concentration can slowly be increased. The higher the concentration of retinol, the better it usually works for acne. But you have to go slowly.

Post 1

I want to use a retinol product for acne and I was told that a gel product would be best because it's oil free. But there are different types of retinol gel with different concentrations of retinol. Which would be best for someone with moderate acne?

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