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10 Best Retinol Creams for Acne

Many individuals choose strong prescription acne treatments containing antibiotics, but these can be expensive. You will be glad to learn that you can find alternative acne products that are less costly, yet still very effective. For instance, retinol is an active ingredient that helps unclog pores, while allowing other medicated creams to work better by giving you healthy skin. Learn more today about retinol for acne.

Woman with red pimples using Retinol For Acne
image credit: herb

First of all, retinol creams are over-the-counter active acne products that can help your skin to recover from acne and other skin problems.

How effective is retinol for acne?

Retinol is an active ingredient that helps to remove dead skin cells. A study revealed that retinol combined with vitamin A is effective in fighting against skin problems like acne.

Retinol creams are a water version of vitamin A. However, this ingredient can harm your skin if you go out in the sun. Therefore, if you are planning to use retinol creams on your face, you need to stay indoors and avoid exposing yourself to the sun.

Limitations of Retinol For Acne

Though retinol is a beneficial ingredient in fighting acne, it does have some limitations.

To start, you may experience irritation during the first application. This is because retinol and other vitamin A-based products tend to cause itching and skin irritations until your body creates a tolerance to the ingredient.

Retinol chemical formula and woman for acne
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Next, retinol could leave your skin feeling flaky and dry. This is due to how quickly the component speeds up the removal of skin cells on the surface of the skin. Consequently, your skin may turn red and peel because of these corrosive effects.

It is also important to note that products containing retinol should not be used by those with rosacea or eczema. Primarily, do not use retinol if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as it may cause congenital disabilities.

In severe cases and for those with very sensitive skin, retinol may cause harmful effects. If you experience extreme irritation, swollen skin, or redness, stop using retinol immediately to prevent further harm.

Managing the Negative Effects of Retinol For Acne

But there is good news! You can control and manage retinol’s less appealing effects, while also eliminating your acne.

To start, you can choose products with a lower concentration of retinol for acne. Though it is difficult to be patient and wait for results, selecting a lower concentration is more gentle. As the resistance finally builds, retinol becomes more useful to remove acne. Take it one step at a time, and you will enjoy the benefits later. Although some experience the benefits after a week of using lower concentrations of retinol, it can take longer for others. As a result, it is best to observe and proceed as your skin permits.

Another option is to choose skin hydrating products that soothe the skin, helping to keep side effects to a minimum. Over time, you will notice better results.

You can also combine retinol for acne creams with moisturizers, skin cleansers, and antioxidants to attain excellent results. Hygiene plays an essential role in keeping your skin acne-free and smooth. Remember to wash your face to remove dead skin cells that have accumulated. You can apply hydrates. And always moisturize your face.

With all that said, we are ready to introduce some popular retinol creams that can eliminate and prevent acne. Review and check these retinol for acne creams. Find the right one for your unique skin type. Though it may not be the favorite on the market, it could still be the right match for you and your skin.

1. LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream Moisturizer

LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream Moisturizer

The LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream is a vitamin A formulation that gives good results with its high concentration of plant-based ingredients for a healthier and youthful skin. It is designed to minimize the appearance of scarring and sunspots, improve skin tone and texture. It contains shea butter, green tea, and jojoba oil that help keep your skin smooth and hydrated with each use, while reducing the risks of redness and irritation.

There are retinol products that come as heavy creams leaving a greasy finish, but this retinol cream disappears without oily sheen, tacky feeling, no nothing. It does not clog skin pores or cause breakouts. This product has a light pleasant scent.


  • Formulated for daily use at near-prescription strength
  • Fits individuals with all skin types
  • Has smooth, non-greasy finish
  • Gentle to use on under the eye circles


  • May leave oily finish if this retinol cream is used together with a sunscreen during the day
  • Best as night use
  • Dark spots takes a long time to disappear

LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream Moisturizer

2. RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Facial Night Acne Cream

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Facial Retinol Night Acne Cream

This night acne cream is designed for all types of skin. The cream contains retinol, copper, zinc, glycolic acids, and magnesium.


  • Contains just enough retinol that works all night to remove acne
  • Glycolic acid keeps your skin moisturized
  • Less discomfort and burning sensation experienced when the night cream is used


  • Some reviews state that it does not prevent frown lines, crows feet, or other wrinkles

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Facial Night Acne Cream Buy Button

3. La Roche-Posay Redermic R Eyes Anti-Aging Retinol Cream

La Roche-Posay Redermic R Eyes Anti-Aging Retinol Cream

This anti-aging retinol cream is designed to be used on the eyes. A recognized product which has received several awards for being reliable and effective, the cream contains retinol, caprylyl glycol, glycerin, citric acid, and caffeine. It can also help remove wrinkles from your body.  The cream is gentle and soothing for all types of skin, and this anti-aging retinol product is recommended by most dermatologists.


  • Gentle and soothing on eyes and body
  • Fits all types of skin
  • Clinically-tested for individuals with allergies and passed the tests
  • Fragrance- and paraben-free
  • Glycerin and other soothing ingredients help treat and soothe your skin
  • Recognized as reliable and effective, has received several awards


  • May not be effective in reducing puffy eyes

La Roche-Posay Redermic R Eyes Anti-Aging Retinol Cream Buy Button

4. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum with Retinol

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum with Retinol

The repair cream from Neutrogena is excellent for removing deep wrinkles by applying the cream every day. The results will be noticeable within one week. The active ingredients of this repair cream are Accelerated Retinol and Hyaluronic acid.


  • Helps soften your skin and removes wrinkles
  • Notice results within one week, enjoying radiant skin
  • Gives even skin tone and reduces swelling of eyes
  • Budget-friendly and effective repair cream


  • The cream is powerful and may cause redness, itchy and dry skin, and irritation
  • If you have sensitive and reactive skin, avoid using this repair cream

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum with Retinol Buy Button

5. Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion

Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion

Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion is formulated to give your skin health and consistency. The product is recommended by dermatologists. It contains retinol and Queen of meadow extracts, which may be good for those with oily, porous, and uneven skin.


  • Relieves and reduce the growth of acne
  • Hydrates and nourishes your skin, giving you an even and healthy skin
  • Reduces oil production in oily skin type and stabilizes uneven areas


  • The cream also contains methylparaben and aminomethyl propanol, which can cause skin irritation
  • Increases the risks of skin and sun sensitivity

Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion Buy Button

6. Bioelements Sleepwear Oil Control 

Bioelements Sleepwear Oil Control 

Bioelements Sleepwear Oil Control contains retinol, vitamin E, calcium, and peptides for oily and combination skin types. It is designed to remove acne and other skin conditions, giving you radiant and younger-looking skin.


  • Relaxes your skin by removing wrinkles and lines
  • Helps control oil production for those with oily skin


  • May not be very useful in removing acne because it controls oil production in your pores

Bioelements Sleepwear Oil Control  Buy Button

7. SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream

SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream

This night cream from SkinCeuticals is a strong cream. This cream may work well for those who want to remove acne and treat wrinkle problems. It contains 1% retinol.


  • Contains very high concentration of retinol making it an active shield against acne and other skin problems
  • May help remove acne, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone
  • Suitable for all types of skin except the sensitive skin types
  • The cream does not block your pores


  • The high retinol concentrate may irritate your skin if the cream is not used properly
  • Those with very sensitive skin may experience irritation

SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream Buy Button

8. iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+

iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+

The cream is designed primarily for those with sensitive skin. It helps treat those with skin problems, including acne and rosacea. It also contains retinol, kojic acid, vitamin C and vitamin E.


  • Useful for treating severe skin problems such as acne and rosacea
  • Effective for very sensitive skin, aging skin, and sun-damaged skin
  • Eliminates wrinkles, dry skin patches, and uneven skin tones
  • Treats insect bites


  • Very expensive
  • Vitamin C may cause irritation and burning sensation

iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+ Buy Button

9. Advanced Clinicals Retinol Cream

Advanced Clinicals Retinol Cream

Advanced Clinicals Retinol Cream is formulated to hydrate and moisturize. The product is designed for salon experts to treat an array of skin problems. It promises to get rid of wrinkles and aging effects – gently. This retinol cream also helps reduce dark circles and puffy eyes. It works at a slow pace with consistency to attain best results, rather than an aggressive approach that could result in more skin problems. The cream contains retinol for acne and glycerin as active ingredients. It is suitable for all types of skin.


  • A potent anti-aging formula that gets rid of wrinkles and blemishes
  • Smooths uneven skin patches
  • Gentle on the skin and performs well without irritation
  • The cream can be applied to the arms and hands
  • Paraben-free
  • Affordable


  • The cream is not a fast working product that can resolve your skin problems very quickly
  • Not recommended for outdoor use

Advanced Clinicals Retinol Cream Buy Button

10. Jan Marini Skin Research Age Intervention Retinol Plus

Jan Marini Skin Research Age Intervention Retinol Plus

This Jan Marini cream contains green tea, shea butter, retinol (0.5%), Dimethicone, and hyaluronic acid for skin problems. A recipient of the 2013 NewBeauty award, the cream works by relieving you from your skin problems like wrinkles and acne. It is also designed for all types of skin.


  • A nourishing formula for acne and wrinkles
  • Hydrates and nourishes skin
  • Fragrance-free and fit for all types of skin including those with sensitive skin
  • Effective at removing wrinkles and treats dryness of the skin
  • Award-winning formula


  • Very high price
  • The high retinol content may need the user to build a tolerance to it first

Jan Marini Skin Research Age Intervention Retinol Plus Buy Button

We hope that the summary of the retinol-based creams for acne can help you find the right treatment. The list contains a summary of the products, as well as the pros and cons, so you can research and weigh your options.

For best results, you may consult with a licensed dermatologist before using any retinol-based creams for acne and other skin problems.

When enjoying outdoor activities, please make sure to protect your skin. We have compiled a list of the best sunscreens here: 10 Best Sunscreens For Acne Prone Skin

You should also keep your skin clean and clear don’t forget to check out:  Top 10 Budget-Friendly Acne Body Washes

Now It’s Your Turn

I hoped you enjoyed my Top 10 Retinol For Acne post.

Now I want to hear from you:

Which of these products in this post are you most excited to try?

Are you going to use any of these retinol products for your acne problem? Or do you have a suggestion for a product that has worked for you?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment.

What do you think?

Written by Maria

My passion is helping other people overcome the pain and embarrassment of acne. I have dealt with acne since my teenage years and know first-hand how hard it is to suffer from this condition.

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