The results are in: Most dermatologists and estheticians agree that everyone age 25 and up should be using a retinol, regardless of their skin type. Retinol has a myriad of benefits, from slowing down and reversing the aging process to alleviating acne, fading discoloration, and refining pores. These are all benefits a bride-to-be might be looking for ahead of her wedding day. "Not only is retinol useful for all types of skin, whether oily or dry, but retinol products also support a healthy collagen formation, so it lays down the bricks for more robust skin later on that can withstand the effects of both chronological aging and photoaging," says Dr. Lamees Hamdan, founder and CEO of skincare brand Shiffa. But the type of retinol you should use varies based upon your distinct skin type.
Those with dry and sensitive skin should use a low concentration of retinol and/or one that contains lots of moisturizing and calming ingredients in the formula. Joanna Vargas Super Nova Serum is filled with a variety of soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients that won't dry out the skin. This is important, as one of the main drawbacks of retinol is that it can make your skin irritated and flaky. And Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil contains chamomile and chia seed oil to ensure skin feels soft and moisturized.
If you're looking to eradicate acne, oil, and pigmentation before the big day, try Shiffa Rose Maroc Night Elixir. The key ingredient is granactive retinoid, which "helps decrease UV-induced skin damage, even out skin tone, reduce pigmentation and pore size, clear acne-related symptoms, and clarifies skin," Hamdan says.
Prescription retinoid is generally better tolerated for oily skin—and older, mature skin types. "I am in my 40s and tried using prescription, but just couldn't," Hamdan says. "It can make skin too sensitive. But if you try it and are able to use it, it gives you the fastest results—in two weeks compared to eight weeks for OTC retinols." Especially when prepping for your wedding, get on a retinol regimen as soon as possible so it can start working—and so that you can ensure you're using one that agrees with your skin way before the big day.