15 Best Retinol Serums For All Skin Types In 2022, According To Experts

Anyone remotely interested in skincare has heard of the power of a good quality retinol product. And, I’m here to tell you that the hype is *fully* worth it. I’ve sworn by retinols through many phases of my skin’s life, from my teenage acne years, to hyperpigmentation in my early twenties, to dry skin and hormonal acne that I feel now. Between serums, moisturizers, and oils, serums are known to provide the most effective skincare benefits, which is why my routine hasn’t been complete without a retinol serum for almost 14 years. (!) year.

What are the benefits of a retinol serum?

Dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, MD, “Retinol helps increase our skin’s natural processes, such as collagen formation, cell renewal, vitamin A replenishment, and hydration. This improves the overall appearance of the skin and prevents acne,” she says. “Retinol also works as an antioxidant that can interrupt the free radical breakdown process that causes wrinkles and other signs of aging.”

Check out some of the best retinol serums here:

Who is a good candidate for a retinol serum?

Dr. Engelman recommends retinol serums to her patients who want to treat fine lines and wrinkles, but she also advises people in their 20s to start introducing a retinol into their skincare routine as a preventive measure. As mentioned before, it is of course also a great way to treat acne and hyperpigmentation.

Who should avoid using a retinol product?

Retinol has a reputation for being one of the harshest skincare ingredients, which is why dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD, says he is cautious in recommending products containing it to his patients, especially those with sensitive skin. And, dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara, MD, also recommends its pregnant or nursing patients to stay away from retinol. (But don’t worry, there’s a gentle, pregnancy-friendly alternative on the list below!)

How does a beginner get started with retinol?

Dr. Zeichner says it takes about two to four weeks for the skin to adapt to retinol, a process called “retinization.” So, to introduce the ingredient into your skincare routine, he suggests starting with a pea-sized amount for your entire face. Apply every other day under moisturizer and increase to higher frequency if you feel your skin can handle it. And, since retinol increases sensitivity to the sun, Dr. Engelman notes that you’ll either want to use it at night only, or wear a good sunscreen over it during the day.

See the best dermatologist-approved and recommended retinol serums below, whether you want to treat acne and wrinkles or even have sensitive skin.

Patricia J. Callender