Tested by Dermatologists and Beauty Editors: The Best Retinols for Sensitive Skin of 2023

6. Kiehl’s Microdose Anti-Aging Retinol Serum: Just because Kiehl's serum is extremely gentle, doesn't mean its effectiveness has to be compromised. It contains smaller doses of pure retinol to achieve the desired results with minimal irritation, ceramides to help strengthen the skin's protective barrier, and peptides to strengthen the skin's protective barrier.


Test Notes: Again, the actual percentage of retinol in this product isn't disclosed, which is a bit of a shame, but since it's advertised as "microdosing," our testers didn't experience any irritation, including those who did, because We have never experienced any irritation using retinol and we assume its value is very low. Even though the amount of retinol may be very small, our testers noticed effects after a few weeks, which shows that it really works.




7. Olay Regenerating Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer: The rich, hydrating texture of this anti-aging cream is meant for dry, sensitive skin, but this miracle product takes it up a notch.




First, it's fragrance-free, making it perfect for sensitive skin that may react to other fragrances. Second, it not only contains retinol, but also retinyl propionate, a milder form of retinol that delivers the desired results without irritation.





Test Notes: Since you really only use retinol at night, we'll always be fans of combo products like this that combine retinol with a night cream. Some say adding retinol to a face cream reduces its effectiveness (the jury is still out on this, by the way), but if you have sensitive skin and are already using the sandwich method (see FAQ below), then you It's not necessary for this rich cream.




It's hydrating enough to keep very dry skin hydrated overnight, reducing potential irritation while still delivering the results you'd expect from a retinol product.




8. First Aid Beauty FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum If you don't usually pay attention to ingredient concentration, you should use retinol because more isn't always better. Concentrated as low as 0.25% (more commonly found in 0.5 and 1%), this serum is perfect for beginners and sensitive skin.




The formula also contains soothing ingredients like aloe vera, colloidal oatmeal, and allantoin to further curb irritation. Test Notes: In terms of actual product, this is one of the best low-dose retinol serums on the market. Our testers found it to be gentle and non-irritating, even for retinol newbies, and the slightly creamy texture spreads easily onto your face without leaving a harsh, filmy residue.




You still need to add moisturizer after use, but it's so gentle that many of our testers felt they didn't need to reapply it in between. We also have to say that while the pump isn't in great condition and the packaging isn't as easy to use as some of the other products on this list, we don't find them as annoying as some reviewers.




9. Neutrogena Rapid Anti-Wrinkle Repair Retinol Essence Capsules This fragrance-free serum contains powerful retinol and vitamin E, but is not only gentle on skin, but also comes pre-packaged in biodegradable capsules to ensure you never overdose. Open one, apply it to your face, and you're good to go. Test Notes: Unlike other formats on this list, we found these single-use capsules take the guesswork out of how much retinol to use.




When we first opened it, we thought a pea-sized amount wasn't enough to apply to our face, but once we smoothed it out, it was more than enough (just goes to show how easy it is to apply too much product). . The formula is thick and viscous but doesn't leave a greasy film on the face. If you travel a lot, these capsules are a lifesaver and eliminate the need to pack bulky serum bottles.




10. CeraVe Anti-Aging Retinol Serum Yes, sure, this lightweight gel serum contains the retinol you need to smooth lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture, and more, but what makes it especially great for dry skin are the other skin ingredients in the formula Element.




Hydrating hyaluronic acid, protective niacinamide, and skin barrier-strengthening ceramides ensure your skin remains balanced and hydrated while retinol works its magic.




Test Notes: For a retinol product with so many ingredients, this lotion is shockingly simple. It spreads easily on the face and absorbs immediately, which surprised many of our testers since the formula is a bit thicker than you might expect. It's specifically designed for people with dry and/or sensitive skin, and it shows.




There's no added fragrance, and the formula feels intensely hydrating even without the addition of other moisturizers (although you should still do that).




What does retinol do?


 

A more appropriate question is: What can't retinol do? "Retinol is probably our most researched ingredient for fighting signs of skin aging," says Dr. Illustrator. "It stimulates the production of collagen, elastin and even hyaluronic acid, which strengthens the skin and improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol also stimulates cell turnover and h