Retinoids are a broad group of natural and synthetic vitamin A derivatives that help clear acne, reduce fine lines and dark spots, and boost skin renewal. They can be purchased as a topical cream or gel by prescription only.
UK Meds offer a free online consultation so you can get your prescription quickly and easily.
- Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
This clean, cutting-edge cream combines 1% vegan retinol with nourishing superfood ingredients to diminish fine lines and sun damage. It’s also formulated with soothing botanical oils and vitamin F to restore bounce and clarity while evening skin tone and texture.
It’s free of harsh alcohols, common allergens, phthalates, silicones and fragrance. The product also contains niacinamide, peptides, botanical exfoliants and shea butter to help prevent irritation.
Drunk Elephant’s cult following is largely due to its straightforward, efficacious skincare. The brand recommends mixing A-Passioni with other serums, oils and moisturisers in your routine but has been accused of not telling the full truth about this (the reason why you should mix retinol is because it makes it more tolerable).
The cream comes in a metal container similar to prescription retinol products, which helps keep light and air from meddling with the potent ingredients inside, and also helps preserve the efficacy of the formula. However, some users have complained about the twist-off cap that often oozes more than you need and doesn’t allow you to ration your usage.
- Skinceuticals Retinol Night Cream
Suitable for all skin types, this fragrance-free cream uses the vegan form of retinol to reduce fine lines and sun damage and contains other skin healing ingredients like marula oil and thermal mud. It plumps skin with hyaluronic acid, helps fade discolorations and shrink pores that have become clogged, and provides a rich dose of antioxidants to fight free radical damage. It also contains the molecule LR2412, a jasmonic acid derivative that promotes cell regeneration and improves texture. It’s recommended to use it sparingly initially and gradually build up to nightly usage until your skin can tolerate it.
This non-comedogenic cream is ideal for those who have used retinol in the past and are looking to increase their usage. It accelerates cell turnover to diminish signs of aging, including discoloration and wrinkles, while soothing bisabolol minimizes irritation.
- The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid Cream
As a budget-friendly option for those wanting to get on board with retinol, The Ordinary offers up two granactive retinoid creams (plus three other retinol serums). This 2% formula is a great place to start. It accelerates cell turnover, reducing dark spots, wrinkles, and acne while also boosting collagen production.
The product combines two forms of next-generation retinoid — solubilized hydroxypinacolone retinoate and pure retinol — in a protective capsule system that support their delivery and efficacy. This enables a more stable and multi-fold more effective anti-aging effect compared to standard retinol, retinyl palmitate, and nearly all other non-prescription retinoid products.
It’s a light emulsion that doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. It smells a little like unscented lotion and applies to the skin smoothly. As with all retinol products, it’s recommended that you pair it with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher during the daytime to help prevent sun damage. You should also avoid other active ingredients, like exfoliating acids (like glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid), and pure or ethylated Vitamin C until your skin is used to this treatment.
- Skinceuticals Retinol Overnight Moisturiser
SkinCeuticals makes science-backed skincare that’s used by dermatologists and plastic surgeons. Their retinol creams come in both gel and cream form, the latter being more gentle and perfect for dry or sensitive skin types. They work by stimulating collagen production and reducing discoloration. They also help smooth out crow’s feet, fine lines and wrinkles and minimize pores.
This cream is formulated with pure retinol that’s encapsulated to ensure a steady release into the skin. It also contains boswellia serrata resin extract and chamomile extract, both of which have been proven to reduce irritation. This night cream has a light, fresh scent and dries quickly.
Apply a pea-sized amount to clean, dry skin in the evening and reapply as tolerated. It’s recommended to start using this product once a week, then increase to every other night and then eventually every night. Always use a high-protection sunscreen during the day when using retinol products. This product is not recommended for pregnant women.retin a uk