Good News: The Best Retinol Creams Don't Require a Prescription

girl with heart-shaped cream on her cheek

 LightFieldStudios / Getty Images

No matter your age, retinol is going to do you favors in the skin department—the kind of favors you’ll see in the mirror and can’t believe are real (we speak from experience). Over-the-counter retinol creams are one of the most powerful tools in your quest for clear, healthy-looking skin. And for some, they're even better than prescription-strength options, which can be too irritating to tolerate. We rounded up eight of the best options available, so you can start getting better skin now.

'Retinol Intense' Cream
Chantecaille Retinol Intense+ Cream $140

Dubbed a "supercharged" version of its fan-favorite Retinol Intense, this cream has—ready?—twice the amount of retinol. When used at night, you'll wake up with exponentially smoother and firmer skin each morning following application.

Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer 1.7 oz/ 50 mL
Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer $75

Dr. Dennis Gross just always seems to get skincare right. This brilliant blend of ferulic, a powerful antioxidant, and retinol helps turn over new skin cells and protect against free radical damage. Its velvety formula is also packed with ECG Complex, a potent component that increases the skin’s moisture barrier.

RetAsphere(TM) 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream
Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream $85

Formulated with a Smart Release Carrier System, this wrinkle-preventing cream is encapsulated in a lipid shell and is slowly deposited into the skin to avoid irritation. The time-release component also helps it to work all night long.

Philosophy 'Help Me' Retinol Night Treatment
Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment $49

Similar to RetAsphere, this cream is delivered to the skin on a time-release basis, perfect for those with sensitive skin who need to ease into the world of retinol.

Lancer Skincare Advanced C Radiance Cream
Lancer Skincare Advanced C Radiance Cream $90

A whopping blend of 10% vitamin C and retinol, this water-free cream brightens, boosts collagen, and firms the skin right before your eyes.

Philosophy 'Help Me' Retinol Night Treatment
RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream $25

A budget-friendly drugstore fan favorite, this cult-loved cream erases wrinkles in just 12 weeks.

StriVectin-ar Night Treatment Beauty-to-Go, 0.25 oz
StriVectin AR Advanced Retinol Night Treatment $112

Formulated with copper tripeptides proven to protect skin and promote skin rejuvenation, this cream gently diminishes wrinkles while healing the skin. 

Differin Gel $13

The least expensive of the bunch, this once exclusively prescription-only retinoid was primarily formulated to help clear acne, but its adapalene complex also lessens the appearance of wrinkles.

Related Stories