A potent form of vitamin A (and therefore a powerhouse antioxidant), retinol may or may not be the buzziest skincare product that’s NOT in your current arsenal, either because A) it can be darn expensive or B) you’re just not sure what all the hype is all about.
Let’s start by clearing the air. Simply put, retinol is a cosmetic ingredient that, when absorbed into skin, is transformed into retinoic acid—aka the magic that has majorly game-changing effects on the overall appearance and health of your skin (think anti-aging, acne-clearing, and tone-enhancing). A godsend to those who dream of reversing past and future damage, preventing wrinkles, correcting discoloration, and/or helping to manage skin conditions such as acne and eczema, retinol is basically a reverie—tubed. Unlike over-the-counter retinol, a high-quality retinol cream purchased at your local drugstore can pack a powerful, skin-improving punch while being significantly easier on the skin (not to mention your bank account). Keep scrolling our five super-affordable favorites!