OLD SCHOOL Rx retinoids that left your skin raw and red.
NOW SCHOOL Rx retinoids, as well as over-the-counter retinols, that smooth out skin without irritation.
“The single most important thing you can do for aging skin is use a retinoid,” says Jeffrey Dover, MD, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine. Retin-A was the gold standard when it launched 30 years ago, and its active ingredient (tretinoin, a vitamin A derivative) is still the best option today. However, when the original Retin-A’s patent expired in the early 1990s, other companies were able to take tretinoin and improve on the way it was delivered into the skin. The result has been a slew of new, less irritating prescription options: Renova, Refissa and Avita, all of which put tretinoin in anti-inflammatory bases, and Retin-A Micro, which delivers tretinoin into the skin slowly, rather than in one quick, potentially irritating burst. Another improvement: the arrival of over-the-counter retinol, which is less aggressive and typically less expensive than Rx versions.
MORE RECOMMENDS: Neutrogena’s new Rapid WrinkleRepair Moisturizer($20; drugstores), a daily treatment with “accelerated retinol,” a new form of vita-min A that delivers results in just one week.