What “over the counter” retinol and vitamin C brands are good?

Hi, I use your entire skin care routine! Thanks much. I want to use an over the courter retinol eye and face cream or gel and was wondering what brands you might recommend? I am trying Mc Evay but wondered if there was a really GOOD over the counter retinol eye and face cream or gel. Also, do you have any recommendations on what vitamin c brands you would use on your face? Thanks for the help.

I do have some biases here! I and our clinic clearly can’t test ever product out there and I don’t like relying solely on ingredient lists since they don’t really give a good indication of the feel and the effectiveness of a product necessarily. We occasionally find some department store products that are good, but many are more marketing and have a ton of chemicals in them. The drugstore brands are cheaper, but there’s a reason they are cheaper usually. They skimp on the more expensive active ingredients. More on skincare products.

If any of you find some of the above that you think are great, please let me know. I try to at least read every blog question, even though I can’t answer all sadly.

So……to answer your question, for an OTC retinol, this retinol 1.0% (stronger) and this retinol 0.25% (better for summer and more gentle) are great.   Also, here’s a link to my spring/summer regimen.

Vitamin C preparations are tricky. They need to be pHd and formulated correctly and 10-20% if you can tolerate the latter, is good.

Hope this helps,  Dr. I


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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