9 Best Retinol Products You Can Get Without a Prescription

There's not a skincare junkie alive who hasn't tried at least one or two of the best retinol products. And for good reason - retinol is a must-try ingredient.

In case you're wondering why, well, there are a whole host of reasons. You see, this Vitamin A derivative is the MacGyver of skin care and has benefits for every skin type and need. It can diminish fine lines and wrinkles, refine large pores as well as combat acne.

How it works is simple: retinols cause the skin cells to turn over and regenerate more quickly. This allows fresh new cells to grow more quickly, and also thickens the far-reaching layers of facial skin to help prevent new wrinkles. In addition to this quick cell turnover, retinols also make it easier for collagen to form, which increases the elasticity of the skin.

Retinol users will notice many benefits from using these products. The biggest benefit that people of all ages typically see first is that it makes the skin feel more soft, bouncy, and youthful because of the increased amount of collagen that develops when using this product. It also slows the visible signs of aging from appearing, because the deep layers of skin become stronger and more resistant to wrinkles. The high level of cell turnover also can reduce the appearance of dark spots, which tend to develop with age.

In addition to combating signs of aging, retinol can also be very helpful for treating acne, which is why it is often recommended for people troubled with breakouts to incorporate into their skincare routine. This is because the increased level of cell turnover helps keep pores unclogged and helps acne heal faster. The scars left by acne will also be lighter when using retinol.

Thanks to its multi-tasking efficacy, there is currently a huge variety of options on the market, which can make choosing the best retinol products a bit of a challenge. 

To save you some time and headache, we've compiled a list of the best retinol products you can get your hands face on without a prescription!

Miracle Retinol Moisturizer

best otc retinol

Get the moisturizer for $36

This jar of moisturizer may look unassuming but it's packing a potent combination of active ingredients like 2.5% Retinol as well as soothing, nourishing ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe, Green tea, and Shea butter.

And as you might've guessed from its ultra-hydrating ingredients line-up, this retinol cream is best for dry, aging skin - the Retinol increase cell turnover to diminish the appearance of wrinkles while Hyaluronic Acid plumps and hydrates. It is particularly good at minimizing the appearance of wrinkles by making them look shallower and less pronounced.

We especially love how it has no unnecessary chemicals, fillers, or fragrances, which makes itperfect for people with sensitive skin or those looking for more natural, greener options. The texture of the product is very smooth and lightweight, so it can be used under makeup during the day. It is quite affordable as well, which makes it a good choice if you're on a budget!

Skinceuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream

best retinol products
best retinol products

Get the night cream for $47

This high-end product is the most recommended non-prescription retinol cream by skincare experts. It is very strong, so it is a good choice for those who experience major skin symptoms and need immediate and ongoing relief. You only need a very small amount for this product to be effective, so although the tube may not seem very large at first, it will last you a long time.

Again, it's a potent retinol cream so make sure you pair it with an ultra hydrating moisturizer to combat redness and flaking. And don't worry so much if your skin does experience some shedding - once it subsides, you'll be left with clearer, brighter skin. You skin texture will also improve, leaving it very soft and supple. 

Because it causes such a fast cell turnover, it is also a good product for acne. The texture of the product is nice as well - it sinks into the skin very quickly.

If your skin is on the sensitive side, consider using this cream every other day - it'll still be just as effective and you can give your skin some time to rest in between treatments. ​

Body Merry Retinol Surge Moisturizer

best retinol cream

Get the cream for $20

This retinol moisturizer is designed to combine the defining elements of a serum and a moisturizer to create an anti-aging product that does it all. In addition to retinol, it contains organic and natural ingredients like Vitamins E and B5, plant-based hyaluronic acid, green tea, and shea butter. It is relatively gentle for a retinol product, but it can still clear up redness, dark spots, acne scars, and wrinkles.

The product comes in a relatively large size, at 3.4 fluid ounces. It feels very light, doesn’t have a smell, and it sits well on the skin. Your skin actually feel softer and more moisturized after use, and it does a great job of getting rid of dry or flaky patches as well as improving overall skin tone. It also helps the skin feel tighter and more rejuvenated. Although the results aren’t instant, they can be seen clearly after just a few weeks.

LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream

best cream for pimples

Get the cream for $19

This retinol moisturizer is designed for frequent use and fast results. Although it is quite potent at 2.5 percent retinol, it does not dry out the skin thanks to a combination of aloe vera and organic oils in the ingredients. It has a light, fresh scent that is great for the morning. The product also sinks into the skin quickly and is not greasy, which makes it a good choice to wear under makeup.

Thanks to the high retinol content, this product compares well to expensive prescription product - without the same drying effect. It is also not irritating for most skin types and is well tolerated even if you have sensitive skin. It works particularly well for sun damage and dark spots and you should see a noticeable diminishment after just a few weeks of using the product. It is also relatively affordable, another great perk!

Body Merry Pro-A Serum

best retinol serum

Get the serum for $15

This gentle serum uses very potent retinol to provide a strong, effective anti-aging experience. Like other Body Merry products, it contains a nice and soothing blend of organic ingredients that help care for the skin and reduce the negative effects that can go along with other retinol products. At 2.5 percent retinol, this is one of the strongest concentrations available without a prescription.

The product soaks into the skin right away and feels very smooth. In addition to combating the signs of aging, it also helps other products absorb into the skin well to improve overall skin quality, and it looks great under makeup as well. It reduces the appearance of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles very quickly. Like other Body Merry products, it is also relatively inexpensive, especially for its high level of functionality.

Raw Biology Organic Liquid Facelift

best retinol products

Get the whole set for $30

This set consists of 3 potent serums for the price of 1. You get a concentrated 2.5% Retinol serum to stimulate collagen production, diminish fine lines and resurface skin; a pure Hyaluronic Acid serum to plump skin and provide deep moisture; and an organic Vitamin C serum to repair elastin, fade dark spots and brighten your skin tone.

Altogether, this organic serum set is the perfect all-in-one anti-aging solution. 

And the 3 power ingredients work wonderfully together - you'll feel that your skin is more soft and hydrated after just a few uses, and over time you’ll see a very noticeable difference. Some say it replicates the feeling one gets after a night of great sleep. It also makes the skin look smoother because it decreases the appearance of spots and wrinkles. It absorbs very quickly and has little to no odor, which makes for a pleasant user experience.

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