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The Best Retinol Products For Skin Over 50, According to Experts

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

Retinol, or retinoids, have been our gold standard for anti-aging and acne since the ’70s, and the science behind them has proven their value,” says Beverly Hills, CA dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD. “These derivatives of vitamin A act like the fuel for the engine in our cells to get to work. Retinoids work to speed up our natural cellular metabolic processes that slow down as we age. They signal our skin cells at the surface to turn over and make way for new cell growth underneath. They not only train them to act younger, but also to defend our collagen from free-radical damage and thwart its breakdown to thicken the deeper layer of skin. It creates a plumping effect, as well as helps minimize fine lines, wrinkles, acne, acne scarring, and enlarged pores.”

Though retinol is considered the number-one anti-aging ingredient in skin care, not all retinol products are best-suited for mature skin. It’s best to look for those with multiple heavy-hitting ingredients to get an even more effective treatment. These are the top retinol products for the face and body, as recommended by leading dermatologists and plastic surgeons.

1. SkinCeuticals Tripeptide-R Neck Repair

“For neck and décolleté, this neck cream includes a super slow-release retinol and tripeptide concentrate. It is a corrective tech-neck product helps reduced collagen-denaturation and works on the horizontal neck lines, but is gentle enough for the delicate skin of the neck.”

—Dr. Shamban

2. Alastin Renewal Retinol .5

“I suggest Alastin’s 0.5-percent retinol that in efficacy is stronger than any prescription. It has hydrating coenzymeQ10 and a hyaluronic booster, which are good for mature skin. And it’s affordable. It is also paraben-free and gluten-free.”

—Delray Beach, FL dermatologist Dr. Janet Allenby

“Alastin Retinol Renewal combines the benefits of an encapsulated retinol with their proprietary peptide complex that supports collagen and elastin, oat extract to calm the skin, antioxidants to help stabilize the retinol, and moisturizers to improve tolerability.”

—Dr. Waldorf

“This serum is an encapsulated format of vitamin A (retinol) to improve stability and allow for longer, slower delivery into the skin. It also contains antioxidant hydroxy-methoxy-phenyl, which supports natural hyaluronic acid production. And, it comes in a 0.25 strength too if you need a lower concentration.”

—Dr. Shamban

3. SkinMedica Retinol Complex

“This is a topical retinoid I frequently recommend for mature skin. Its formula helps to minimize any irritation and it comes in three strengths—0.25, 0.5 and 1.0 percent—so it is easy to gradually increase as tolerated. Over time, it can help build collagen and minimize old sun damage.”

—Greenwich, CT dermatologist Lynne Haven, MD

Written By Brittany Burhop Fallon, Beauty Director · Originally posted on

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