12 OTC Retinol Products You Can Snag for Under $20
Ask any skincare specialist and they will tell you that retinol is the holy grail of skincare. This vitamin A derivative is one of the few products that has been backed by science and proven to prevent wrinkles, boost collagen production, speed up cell turnover, and generally give you the smooth, glowing complexion you've always dreamed of. While stronger retinoids are usually prescribed by a doctor, there are plenty of over-the-counter versions that are effective without being quite as harsh on the skin. And, best of all, there are some that don't bear the hefty price tag of their prescribed sisters. Here, we've rounded up 12 OTC retinol products that come in at $20 or less. Click through to find your newest skin savior.
The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane ($6): This serum is a straight dose of 0.2 percent retinol in a squalane base that keeps your skin hydrated while the retinol does its thing. Apply a small amount at night, before other oils and moisturizers, and make sure to use SPF during the day, since retinols increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun.
Pixi by Petra Retinol Tonic ($15): Rarely do you see retinol in toner form, but if anyone was going to do it, it was the makers of the cult favorite Glow Tonic. The unique time-release formula reduces the risk of irritation and dryness, making this a great choice for first-time users.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Accelerated Retinol SA Night Moisturizer ($17): The addition of retinol boosters in this night cream helps accelerate the skin's surface activity for fast results. It also contains hyaluronic acid to add moisture.
L'Oréal Revitalift Cicacream Anti-Wrinkle + Skin Barrier Repair ($18): This lightweight, protective cream combines retinol with centella asiatica, a herb used in traditional Chinese medicine that also has anti-aging properties.
Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment ($11): Granted, this is just the travel size and the full size is noticeably pricier, but it's a great way to get introduced to Paula's Choice retinol products, all of which consistently receive rave reviews. This potent formula is one percent retinol, so it's better suited for users who are used to retinols.
RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Anti-Aging Night Face Cream ($18): RoC is widely considered to have some of the best commercially available retinol products. This night cream visibly reduces the look of fine lines and deep wrinkles while you sleep, leaving skin smoother and younger-looking come morning.
Derma E Anti-Wrinkle Cleanser ($14): Formulated with vitamin A, glycolic acid (another skincare heavy hitter), marine plant extracts, and papaya, you can look forward to a thorough cleanse and mild exfoliation every time you rinse with this product.
Amara Organics Retinol Cream for Face 2.5% ($20): The high concentration of pure retinol is balanced by hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, organic jojoba oil, and shea butter. The result? Superior results with less irritation.
CeraVe Skin Renewing Retinol Cream Serum for Fine Lines & Wrinkles ($17): CeraVe's retinol offering is rich in ceramides, which help hydrate and restore skin's natural barrier. Their patented MultiVesicular Emulsion (MVE) ensures that moisturizing ingredients are delivered to the skin slowly over time, lasting long after you apply it.
Hada Labo Tokyo Anti Aging Hydrator ($8): The serum-like formula — powered by Super Hyaluronic Acid, a hydrating ingredient that's unique to the Japanese brand — absorbs instantly, so skin feels velvety smooth, tighter, and renewed.
Garnier SkinActive Ultra-Lift Anti-Aging Moisturizer & Serum ($13): Garnier's multi-tasking daily cream combines a serum and a moisturizer in one. In addition to retinol, it is infused with vitamin E and rice peptides, which help hydrate skin while fighting wrinkles and improving elasticity.
Olay Eyes Pro-Retinol Eye Treatment ($20): The skin around your eyes is more delicate than the rest of your face, so it's always a good idea to use a specially formulated product. Olay’s eye cream increases the rate of surface cell turnover, which smooths skin and reduces the look of crow's feet and wrinkles.
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