Retinol Serum vs Cream: Which Should You Pick?

woman deciding between retinol serum vs cream
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If fine lines, wrinkles, pore size, uneven skin tone, and texture are among your current skincare concerns, a retinol cream or serum may be beneficial to you. But, with such a large variety of beauty products on the market nowadays, picking the appropriate one can be difficult.

One of the most effective anti-aging chemicals on the market is retinol. Retinol has a long list of skin advantages. It can be confusing, though, because it comes in a variety of concentrations and forms, such as retinol serum, retinoic acid, retinol cream, and pro-retinol.

While the best retinol product for you depends on your skin type, many people are unaware of this and end up using the wrong one. Retinol cream and retinol serum are two of the most perplexing types of retinol. Despite the fact that they both contain retinol as a base ingredient, they differ in a number of ways.

However, choosing the proper product might be difficult because it comes in a variety of intensities and consistency. The difference between a retinol serum and a retinol cream is determined by your skin type, as well as the other products in your skincare routine.

So how do you decide between retinol serum vs cream?

What is Retinol?

Retinol is the workhorse of any anti-aging treatment, regardless of formulation. It reduces collagen loss, repairs fine wrinkles, and evens skin tone by boosting cell turnover. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that aids in the destruction of free radicals, which form in the skin as a result of exposure to the sun, tobacco, and pollution.

Although it may take some time before you see any results, many people believe the benefits are well worth the wait.

Retinol Serum Vs Cream

The majority of creams contain moisturizing ingredients such as petrolatum or mineral oil. Although retinol creams can clog pores, they may be the best option if your skin is dry or sensitive.

Most serums, on the other hand, are water-based and have larger concentrations of the “active” components. Furthermore, most serums are light to the touch and rarely leave a residue or a sticky aftertaste. For oily or acne-prone skin, or for those who want to use a separate moisturizer in addition to their serum, the retinol serum is ideal.

But, is there anything we need to know more about the difference between retinol serums and creams? Yes, there is and you should scroll down to read more about it!

Retinol Serums

The INKEY List Retinol Serum

Serums have larger concentrations of active chemicals, and because they’re thin and light, they enter the skin more effectively than creams, according to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Van Dyke. Serums are especially beneficial for individuals with oily skin because they are grease-free. Regardless, if you’re looking for a retinol serum, most dermatologists advise double-checking the formula for any extra active ingredients.

Dr. Kraffert, a board-certified dermatologist and president of Amarte Skin Care, explained that there is no retinol existing in a formulation vacuum, hence, this is why you should look for retinol formulas that contain other actives instead to make sure they give the hydration you require.

But, even if your retinol serum contains moisturizing ingredients (such as hyaluronic acid with retinol), you’ll still need to use a moisturizer on top.

Find out more tips on how to use retinol serum.

Retinol Creams

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Cream

On the other hand, Dr. Markowitz, a board-certified dermatologist and Director of Pigmented Lesions and Skin Cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, advises “creams over serums any day” as creams form a skin barrier that inhibits moisture loss. So, if you have dry skin, retinol cream such as the is probably the better choice.

Read our review on the Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream.

Moreover, when taking retinol, moisturizing is especially crucial because this strong activity can cause peeling, dryness, and flaking when first used. That’s why most dermatologists advise starting cautiously with your retinol of choice — like, once or twice a week — then gradually increasing to whatever frequency your skin can bear.

Making the Choice: Retinol Serum vs Cream

Most of the time, choosing between a retinol serum and a retinol cream comes down to your skin types. Essentially, the thing you need to keep in mind is that the retinol gets onto and into your skin, which both can achieve.

So, which one are you choosing? The retinol cream or serum? Let us know in the comments below: