The Most Effective Retinol Is Hiding at the Drugstore, and It Only Costs $10

Welcome to ‘Dear Derm,’ our brand-new series in which dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD shares serious skin-care realness. In each episode, she’ll answer your most burning beauty questions and give you all the tools you need to take your glow game to the next level. 

Raise your hand if you like effective skin-care ingredients. Now keep it raised if you like effective skin-care ingredients...from the drugstore. Stay with me here, keep that hand in the air if you like effective skin-care ingredients...from the drugstore...that cost no more than $10. Thought so.

With that said, it's time for you to get acquainted with retinoids, if you aren't already. According to Mona Gohara, MD, a dermatologist and our resident Dear Derm expert, it's the ingredient that she'd save if her house was on fire.'s that good. Responsible for flipping on the collagen pumps within skin, speeding up cell turnover, and evening out your complexion, the ingredient is a star player for those with acne and those who are starting to see the first fine lines show up on skin.

If we've convinced you that it's worth looking into, you'll be even happier to learn that you can get one of the most effective retinoids on the market by making a quick stop to your local drugstore. Not kidding.

"The most effective over-the-counter vitamin A derivative, I would say, is adapalene, or the name brand is Differin ($10) and you can go to any drugstore—CVS, Walgreens, Duane Reade, and get Differin," she says. It's a major steal considering the stuff used to only be available by prescription. So, yeah—run, don't walk, to your local pharmacy and snatch one up for yourself. And subscribe to Well+Good's 'Dear Derm' to stay in-the-know on dermatologist skin-care tips.

For more 'Dear Derm' expertise, here's why all dermatologists say you *have* to slather on sunscreen every single day. And this is how to choose a vitamin C serum, which is the little black dress of skin care. 

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