"The skin around the body can benefit from an ingredient that helps reduce fine lines, address hyperpigmentation, and smooth the texture," says David Petrillo, a cosmetic chemist and founder of Perfect Image, a beauty and skin-care company. And this is where retinol comes in. According to Dr. King, retinol body products can be particularly helpful on sun-damaged and acne-prone skin, since they aid in fighting discoloration and unclogging pores, which can help with fighting acne on your back, chest and extremities.
Even if you aren't dealing with those issues, using a retinol body product can still bring its fair share of benefits. "Retinol body cream can help improve the evenness of the skin’s texture and soften the skin while also reducing the appearance of fine line," says Petrillo. "If the formula has hyaluronic acid, it can also be hydrating, and if there are butters incorporated into the mix it can also have moisturizing and protective properties."
Since most retinol body lotions pair the ingredient with humectants and butters, they're generally gentle enough to be used on all skin types. But if you've got sensitive skin or a condition like eczema or psoriasis, Petrillo suggests checking with your dermatologist before slathering one all over yourself. Your best bet for reaping the products full benefits is to apply it at night, when your skin kicks into repair mode, and you'll wake up in the morning with a smooth complexion all the way down to your toes.
Shop retinol body lotion
With a 0.1 percent concentration of retinol, this stuff is intense. The good news? It's also got hydrating emollients and natural oils so that you can use it all over without having to worry about irritation.
Shop now: Paula's Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment, $29
2. Chantacaille Retinol Body Treatment, $102
The encapsulated retinol used in this product makes it extra gentle while still packing a major smoothing-and-firming punch. The ingredient is combined with a powerful humectant to draw moisture into the skin, and edelweiss extract gives the formula an antioxidant boost.
Shop now: Chantacaille Retinol Body Treatment, $102
This product isn't technically retinol, but it will give you the same results as the real deal. It's made from a pink algae extract known as "pro-retinol," which helps to stimulate cell turnover to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It's also packed with potent antioxidants to fend off environmental stressors and prevent free-radical damage, plus Josie Maran's legendary, ultra-nourishing Argan oil.
Shop now: Josie Maran Whipped Argan Pro-Retinol Body Butter, $46
Got more questions about retinol? Check out the video below.
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