We love retinol, plain and simple. It's one of the most beloved skincare ingredients recommended by derms and estheticians alike for its youth-enhancing properties, but we also now know it to be the reigning champion of acne fighters.
With so many different types of formulas out there, it's such a relief to know there's one single ingredient that can decrease fine lines and wrinkles while also catering to one of the most common skincare struggles both teens and adults face. If you're curious about how retinol performs such sorcery, esteemed dermatologist Macrene Alexiades (founder of Macrene Actives) has the full rundown for you. "Retinol impacts cell turnover to the skin," she shares. "It reduces sebum activity, therefore working against acne. It also results in a peeling of the skin, causing a resurfacing effect that reduces wrinkles."
Although those with sensitive skin should use caution with ingredients like retinol, those with blemish-prone or oily skin are in luck. Alexiades says you're the perfect candidate for this powerhouse active. For anyone with enlarged pores looking for a way to reduce their appearance, you'll also majorly benefit. Ahead, take a look at a few of Alexiades's recommendations and a full range of the all-time best retinol creams for acne.
1. Shani Darden Skin Care Retinol Reform
2. SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0
3. Obagi Medical Retinol 1.0
4. The Inkey List Retinol Anti-Aging Serum
5. Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment
6. Renée Rouleau Advanced Resurfacing Serum
7. Sunday Riley A + High Dose Retinol Serum
8. IS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advanced Plus
9. Alpha-H Beauty Sleep Power Peel With 14% Glycolic Acid and 0.5% Retinol
Alpha-H's Power Peel contains both glycolic acid (another buzzy resurfacing ingredient) and retinol for the ultimate overnight skin renewal.
10. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Texture Renewal Serum
This texture-renewing and acne-fighting serum contains retinol and another botanical active called bakuchiol that works in a similar way. That means you're getting a double dose of acne-fighting ingredients without any added dryness.
11. Dermalogica Retinol Acne Clearing Oil
12. CeraVe Retinol Serum
13. Naturium Vitamin C Super Serum Plus Retinol
14. TruSkin Tea Tree Clear Skin Super Serum
15. PCA Skin Intensive Clarity Treatment
16. Perricone MD Acne Relief Retinol Treatment Moisturizer
17. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1% Topical Retinoid Acne Treatment
For just a straight-up no-nonsense gel, try La Roche-Posay's 0.1% retinoid treatment. It's formulated for especially oily skin types.
18. Differin Acne Treatment Gel
19. RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
20. Avène Retrinal 0.1 Intensive Cream