Which retinol, Retin A, Renova, etc. is right for you?

Note: These are put on at NIGHT.  
These ” Vitamin A” creams (actually a cousin of the vitamin A molecule) are hard to figure out for many. These are still the gold standard for an anti aging cream. They have been proven over time to decrease and prevent wrinkles, to reduce brown spots, and to help prevent precancerous spot and skin cancers. No other type of anti aging cream has ever been proven to be better. THESE MUST BE USED WITH A GOOD SUNSCREEN EVERY MORNING.

But which one should I use? 

Prescription forms: are generally stronger, but many people get too irritated to use them consistently. You want to be able to use at least 3-7 times a week to get a result.
In order of least to most irritating of the prescription forms, try:
1. Refissa
2. Renova
3. Any of the 0.025% creams
4. Gels are usually more irritating, but better for those with oily skin and acne.
Of the retinols which are over the counter: again, creams will usually be less irritating than gels. The 0.25% (like this one by SkinMedica) is less irritating than the 0.5% or 1.0%. 1.0 retinol is the highest percent I’ve seen (like this one by SkinCeuticals). Higher would likely be too irritating. Again, these must be used with a sunscreen every morning.
For my answer about retinol products for treating brown spots, read here
For more about Renova, retinoids, and Vitamin A creams, see my answers on them here
Dr. Irwin
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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