Head-to-toe glow: The best retinol and bio retinol creams for eyes, face, & body
Retinol is a wonder product for many: its collagen-boosting properties help to keep skin firm and youthful.
However, overuse can exacerbate dry and sensitive skin while it begins to work its magic.Using a retinol cream could be the answer. It’s a little more hydrating than other forms and leaves you silky-smooth - what more could you want?
What is retinol cream?
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative famed for its effect on the skin. It helps boost collagen production - the protein which keeps skin firm, tight, and wrinkle-free.¹
It also speeds up your skin’s natural cell turnover, getting rid of old skin cells and revealing new ones beneath. This can:
- Help to brighten the skin
- Help fade redness, hyperpigmentation, and dark spots
- Help reduce the appearance of blemishes under the skin
Using retinol helps thicken the epidermis (your outer layer of skin) to help protect against signs of sun damage.²
Vitamin A is an antioxidant, which means it also helps with the negative effects of free radicals that can contribute to weakening the skin.
Most retinol lovers tend to stick to their face - but did you know there are nourishing retinol creams to suit your whole body?
What’s the difference between a retinol cream and other types of retinol?
Creams are highly moisturising – perfect if you’ve got dry skin or you’re prone to sensitivity.
Some people experience dryness and redness when they begin to use retinol.
Choosing a cream with emollient (skin-softening) and humectant (moisture-retaining) ingredients will help lock hydration in and keep you feeling hydrated.
Our top tips for introducing retinol cream into your skincare regime
- Start slow
Retinol is powerful, so it’s important to toe the line between treating your skin and giving it a break. Perform a patch test before you start using retinol. We recommend applying it just twice a week when you begin. After that, you can work up a little if your skin reacts well.
- Only use it at night
Retinol can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so you’re at greater risk of sun damage if you apply it during daylight hours. Only use retinol at night to protect your skin and be sure to use an SPF of at least 30 every day.
- Give it time
It could take up to 12 months to see the full effects of retinol. You may not notice a difference for a while – or you may come face-to-face with the “retinol purge”! Unless you’re experiencing any redness, itchiness, or extreme sensitivity, we recommend you wait it out and your glow will slowly start to appear.
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For your eyes: stay bright
Feeling tired? Your eyes are the first to give the secret away. The skin around the eyes is 10 times thinner than the rest of your face, which means it has less collagen and elastin to share around. ³
It’s also a highly active area, with constant movement from your facial areas. These movements are outside our control - so never hold back on your smiles! If you’re looking to keep your skin ageing healthily, your eye area is a great place to start. But do you specifically need an eye cream?
Well…yes. The products we use on our face are too thick and strong for such a thin and sensitive area. This is also why we apply our eye cream first.
What’s more, your usual retinol can cause side effects like redness and flakiness - certainly not ideal for your undereyes.
In comes BYBI with their Eye Plump Overnight Cream. It’s worth noting that this isn’t actually a retinoid - it uses bakuchiol, a plant-based alternative from the babchi herb.
Still, Eye Plump replicates the effects of retinol: it supports collagen production and helps to firm the fragile skin around the eyes. At the same time, it helps to minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
The silky formula is gentle enough to use on your delicate eye area - yet it’s packed with plumping hyaluronic acid to hydrate and nourish while you rest. Brainchild of plant beauty innovators BYBI, Eye Plump is carbon neutral and vegan.⁴
Handpicked content: BYBI Q&A: A chat with Elsie & Dominika
For your body: stay smooth all over
We’re no stranger to a retinol face product and all its benefits.
Smoothness, youthfulness, and an even pigmentation…why not the same for your body?
Mixing your usual retinol serum into a moisturiser can spread its rejuvenating properties all over.
Smooth, light serums are easy to blend - but they’re powerful! This makes them perfect for diluting and using to help nourish and firm your body.
The Oleus Retinol Serum is a strong contender thanks to its lightweight formula. It’s also plant-based (always a plus).
What’s more, it’s gentle enough to provide daily support for mature and dry skin - not always the case with retinol, as it can cause redness and skin sensitivity in excess.
The serum complements its partner, the Oleus Oil Free Moisturiser. Together, they’ll hydrate without clogging the skin or interfering with its natural balance.
For your face: stay glowing
The Vitaskin Vitamin A Rejuvenating Night Cream uses retinoids to help brighten your skin as you get some Zs. It’s loaded with carrot oil (another rich source of vitamin A) - so you’re getting all the goodness that stimulates collagen production.
Over time, this will help improve the appearance of skin firmness and elasticity as well as helping to brighten hyperpigmented areas. And - if you’re not feeling soothed enough - this retinol cream has added lavender oil to help lull you into a good night’s rest.
If luxury’s your middle name, there’s nothing better than the Evolve Bio Retinol Gold Mask. Yes, it’ll actually turn your face gold. You might have caught the “bio” in “bio retinol”. While it’s not actually retinol, it’s still a derivative of vitamin A and has the same smoothing properties.
The mask’s retinol-like qualities come from bidens pilosa, a plant also known as black-jack. It’s packed with vitamin C, another skin-brightening saviour, as well as moisturising rosehip and argan oils.
Unlike traditional retinol products, it’s safe to use bio retinol during the day as it doesn’t increase sensitivity to UV rays. Not only will your skin feel a million dollars with this shining face mask, but it’ll look like it, too.
Is there anything I should avoid alongside retinol?
You shouldn’t have to ditch your entire skincare routine if you start using retinol, but there are a few products to avoid:
- AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) like citric acid, glycolic acid, and lactic acid
- Harsh exfoliators, like scrubs
- Benzoyl peroxide – it can cancel out the effects of retinol⁵
- Vitamin C – using vitamin C and retinol together can make your skin sensitive. However, many people find they can use both, as long as they use them at different times. Since you’ll want to use retinol at night, it’s advised that – if your skin can handle retinol and vitamin C – you should leave the vitamin C until the morning.
- BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids) like salicylic acid: using both could over-dry your skin. As with vitamin C, wait a few hours between your retinol and BHAs, and apply an SPF of at least 30 every day to help protect your skin.
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
If you have sensitive skin, eczema, psoriasis, acne or rosacea, consult a dermatologist before trying any treatments. It is important to always check with your doctor or midwife before taking any supplements while pregnant. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking any medications or under medical supervision, please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before use.