I have dabbled in my fair share of retinol concoctions - moisturizers, serums, oils... oh my! While the jury is still out on the oil (Sunday Riley Luna is currently being tested) I wanted to share a simple, easy to use and easy to find lotion with retinol that I have been using at night for the last few months. It's the Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA Concentrate and it's lovely.
FYI: Retinol & Retinaldehydes are the more gentle "over-the-counter" derivatives of trentinoin. Trentinoin is found in prescription products like Retin-A and is a lot more aggressive.
I have tried similar retinol-rich lotions from La Roche Posay and Obagi but none stood out to me as much as Vichy's LiftActiv Concentrate. LiftActiv HA Concentrate is a light lotion rich in retinol and hyaluronic acid.
You can use it as a lotion instead of moisturizer or you can layer it with your favourite moisturizer which is how I like to use it. It has a light fragrance which I could do without, to be honest, but alas french brands love their fragrances! I find that the hyaluronic acid in this product balances the retinol perfectly and doesn't cause any irritation or dryness whatsoever. The results are just overall better skin texture and plump-ness. Fine lines are diminished and skin feels extremely comfortable and hydrated. I use this serum at night after my toner. I top it off with an oil (Sunday Riley Artemis) or a moisturizer (Kate Someville Goat's Milk Cream) if I am needing some extra hydration and I snooze my way to better skin.
This product was sent to me for consideration. You can find it at your local Shoppers Drug Mart/CVS and it retails for around $50 which is reasonable. I reckon a tube of this will last you about 4-6 months. I have been using my tube regularly for the last couple of months and I am nearing the halfway mark. Now, I do have some more aggressive acne scars that will need some more heavy duty trentinoin/laser action, but until I grow the balls to go down that route, a little bit of retinol serum is going a long way :)
If your main skin concerns are fine lines/acne scarring and your skin is normal/oily/combination, I suggest you give this a try. You won't be disappointed!