6 Best Drugstore Retinol Products

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Adding retinol to your skincare routine is a rite of passage. It’s a product we eschew for years until our dermatologist or esthetician finally harasses us enough to consider, and we realize that it’s not just for dealing with wrinkles. In reality, retinol has a ton of other benefits that make it a great addition to a skincare routine at any age. Whether you’re trying to smooth skin texture from breakouts in the past or you’re trying to quell breakouts today, retinol is a powerful skincare tool to keep in your armory.
Sounds great, sure — but what is retinol anyway? Retinol is just the fancy name for vitamin A. Yep, that’s right. All along, we’ve just been talking about using this antioxidant on our faces, not some intense chemical potion. Vitamin A is our skin’s best friend. Our skin welcomes it with open arms, and vitamin A gets to work, increasing the production of collagen (reducing fine lines), producing new blood vessels (fading discoloration), and exfoliating.
There are two forms of vitamin A used in skincare — retinol, where your skin must first breakdown the compound into retinoic acid, is available in drugstores. The prescription derivative of vitamin A is more powerful and has a higher concentration of the already broken down compound retinoic acid, so you get results faster. That doesn’t mean it’s better than the drugstore formulas by any means.
Retinoic acid is potent and will likely irritate your skin for a week or two even when you begin with the smallest dose. Starting with drugstore retinol is recommended to build your skin’s tolerance to the product and eventually move to the more potent prescription retinoids.
If you’re ready to start your retinol journey, here are six excellent drugstore retinol products to choose from.

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