Retinol is a renowned ingredient that most skincare experts love. Dermatologists and estheticians alike sing its praises for its ability to promote youthful, glowing skin. It can even help with things like dark spots, acne, and fine lines. But retinol isn't just a powerhouse ingredient that's good for your face—it can be used on your body, too. Let's face it: Our body skin can have just as many blemishes, dark spots, and fine lines as our face can. And I, for one, wouldn't mind a solution to keep my skin smooth and polished.
Because retinol can be a strong ingredient, I figured it would be best to call in the experts for advice before incorporating it into my bodycare routine regularly. If you're also curious about trying out a retinol body lotion, keep scrolling. There's more information and products ahead.
The Benefits of Using Retinol in Your Bodycare Routine
You may think that ingredients like retinol only promote youthful skin on your face, but think again. Board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD, is here to set you straight. "Just as we use retinols on the face to help regulate skin cell turnover, prevent clogged pores, and improve overall texture and tone of the skin, retinols can be used on the body to have similar benefits. As a vitamin A derivative, it helps to boost collagen production, may help with blemishes and discoloration, can be used for rough and bumpy skin, and may even help with stretch marks," she says.
The good news is that you don't have to wait to start including retinol in your bodycare routine. But it can be particularly helpful if you're experiencing dull or sagging skin. "Though there is no specific right time to start, generally, retinols can be especially helpful as we notice changes in the skin related to loss of collagen and skin cell turnover slowing down, which can be apparent in the 30s," Garshick shares. "That said, you don't have to wait until you see changes to incorporate a retinol. While it can be incorporated at any time, it should be avoided if pregnant or breastfeeding. It can be incorporated if you have specific skincare concerns you are trying to address, such as skin brightening, or to improve the texture of the skin. If your skin is dry or sensitive, it may be best to decrease the frequency, and it's important to always make sure to moisturize the skin regularly. Retinoids can also make you more sensitive to the sun, so it's always important to remember sun protection!"
Applying a retinol body lotion is pretty simple, but Garshick and aesthetic nurse injector Revay Plunkett have a few different takes on how often you should use it. "It can be applied once daily, and it's often recommended to use at night time. If you're sensitive, it may be best to incorporate two to three times per week," says Garshick. Plunkett agrees with a more cautious approach since retinoids can be quite strong. "Every other day or every couple of days is best," she explains. "Your body doesn’t have the same amount of oil glands [as your face]. You don't want to irritate sensitive parts of your body by over-applying a retinoid." If you're now fully intrigued by the idea of adding a retinol body lotion to your routine, keep scrolling for recs from the professionals and a few of my favorites.
1. Paula's Choice Resist Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment
"This hydrating formula contains retinol in addition to antioxidants, nourishing shea butter, and plant oils such as grape seed and evening primrose. It improves skin tone and texture without leaving the skin feeling dry. It also absorbs easily and won't leave the skin feeling greasy, either." — Garshick
2. Replenix Retinol Smooth + Tighten Body Lotion
"This contains retinol in addition to edelweiss flower. It helps improve skin texture and tightens and firms the skin. Green tea polyphenols help soothe and calm the skin and provide antioxidant benefits. Hyaluronic acid and ceramides also work to boost moisture and lock it in, improving the overall appearance of the skin." — Garshick
3. Chantecaille Retinol Body Treatment
4. Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Body Lotion
5. Jan Marini CelluliTx Cream
6. Cosmedix A-Lift Overnight Vitamin A Body Treatment
7. Topicals Slather Exfoliating Body Serum With Retinol & AHAs
This milky body serum from Topicals features both encapsulated retinol and exfoliating AHAs. I know what you're thinking: This sounds like a recipe for dry, cracked skin. But Topicals's formulation is so gentle and full of other hydrating ingredients like urea that you won't even have an issue.
8. Truly Beauty Resurfacing Body Serum
9. The Glow Fairy Retinol Body Glow Wand
This easy-to-apply balm provides your body skin with a hefty dose of retinol, hydrolyzed collagen, squalane, and glycerin to help soften the appearance of fine lines and stretch marks. It also helps create a barrier, locking in essential daily moisture for healthier skin.
10. NatureWell Clinical Retinol Advanced Moisture Cream
You can't go wrong with a no-frills, budget-friendly retinol lotion like NatureWell's. It features advanced micro-encapsulated retinol to improve skin tone and texture. It's also formulated so that it can be used as both a face and body moisturizer.
11. Medix Retinol + Ferulic Acid Body Lotion
Ferulic acid, a powerful antioxidant, is paired with retinol in this body lotion to help target things like sun damage. It'll leave your skin feeling extra soft, hydrated, and youthful with reduced dark spots thanks to other nourishing ingredients like shea butter, chamomile, black tea, and aloe vera.
12. Nuventin Retinol Cream
Hyaluronic acid, green tea, and retinol blend perfectly together in this formula to leave skin feeling soft and hydrated. Retinol can definitely be drying, but this lotion works overtime to make sure that doesn't happen. It also has some pretty great reviews and doesn't cost an arm and a leg.