Even a tiny amount of retinol makes a difference to your skin…..we're talking pea size! So if you still aren’t using the gold standard in anti-aging, this easy-to-understand, expert-approved list from Miami dermatologist Leslie Baumann, MD, will most likely make you take another look.


1) It's Proven!

According to Baumann, retinoids, hydroxy acids and vitamin C are the only things that have been proven to improve wrinkles. “However, of these three, retinoids work the best. Retinoids also prevent wrinkles, even out skin pigmentation, prevent acne and exfoliate skin to impart a radiant complexion. Retinoids are the only ingredients FDA-approved to treat wrinkles, which means they have been proven to work in double-blind placebo-controlled trials.”


2) It Can Communicate With Your Genes

Retinol up-regulates the genes that make collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin and turns on the fibroblasts (the skin cells that make collagen). It down-regulates the genes that make collagenase (the enzyme that breaks down collagen).


3) Even a Tiny Amount Will Help

If the varying numbers of percentages are confusing to you, know this: All percentages will improve the skin, but higher percentages produce faster results. For example, with a higher percentage you can see results in six months, but a lower percentage can take 12 months. “I prefer starting patients on 0.25 percent retinol, then increasing them to 0.5 percent and then 1 percent.”


Dermalogica's Retinol comes with a buffer cream to vary the strength


4) They’re Simple to Fit Into Your Existing Skin Care Regimen

Even if you think your skin care routine is totally solid, if you aren’t using retinol, you may want to revise it—and you can start off small. “Apply a pea-size amount over moisturiser every third night for the first two weeks,” Dr. Baumann says. “Then increase to every other night for two weeks, and then every night.”


5) The Side Effects Are Very Easy to Control 

Redness, itching and flaking are the primary side effects of retinol, but they can be avoided by starting slowly with a low dose and a small amount. For example, start with a pea-size amount of 0.25 percent retinol every third night.


6) There Are a Ton of Options

Dr. Baumann says some of the best over-the-counter brands to try are SkinMedica, SkinCeuticals and Replenix.