As one of the most revered and researched skincare ingredients, retinol (also known as vitamin A), is often considered an essential step in any solid skincare routine, since it can treat a number of common concerns, from acne to fine lines and wrinkles.
While the focus has been on the proven benefits of using retinol on your face, it turns out the ingredient can be just as efficacious for the skin below your neck, too.
"Retinoids work by binding to retinoic acid receptors, which then can act as transcription factors and affect gene expression. This makes them very powerful and able to produce significant changes in the skin," says Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "They increase the turnover of skin cells, reduce the tendency of cells and keratin debris to clump together and clog up pores, increase collagen production and decrease discoloration."
Since retinol can also tackle skin concerns on the rest of your body, such as loss of firmness, uneven texture, or hyperpigmentation, more and more body care brands have been incorporating the ingredient into their body lotion formulas.
But keep in mind that when adding a retinol body lotion into your post-shower routine, it's possible to experience the same side effects as you would introducing a retinol to your face.
"Retinization is the adjustment period during which the skin adapts to the use of topical retinoids. During this time the skin may become irritated, resulting in dryness, peeling, scaling, redness or a burning or stinging sensation," Dr. King explains. While these symptoms usually taper off by the fourth week of use, those with sensitive skin conditions like eczema or roscea may not be able to tolerate the ingredient.
To prevent irritation, Dr. Kind recommends looking for a formula that also contains moisturizing ingredients that will support the skin barrier. "Increase your use of moisturizers if needed, and start three nights per week and adjust as tolerated," she says.
Ahead, the retinol body lotions worth adding to your body care routine.
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Josie Maran Whipped Argan Pro-Retinol Body Butter
When your skin is extra dry, a lotion doesn’t always cut it. That’s when a rich body butter like this Josie Maran one enters the chat. Along with deeply nourishing argan oil, pro-retinol (a gentler retinol derivative) tackles fine lines and wrinkles for smoother skin from head to toe.
Versed Firm Ground Retinol Body Lotion
Don’t underestimate this lotion’s minimalist packaging: the formula does the most. On top of hydrating skin, it works to minimize hyperpigmention, treat body acne, smooth uneven texture, and improve firmness.
Rosen Apothecary Anti-Aging Retinol Body Lotion
Formulated with retinol, argan oil, and caffeine, Rosen Apothecary’s lotion softens rough patches and firms the skin to reduce the look of lumps and bumps.
Chantecaille Retinol Body Treatment
You give your face the VIP treatment, so why not do the same for the skin below your neck? Chantecaille’s luxurious body lotion is formulated with encapsulated retinol and botanicals to smooth and firm skin over time. What’s more, it has a subtle floral scent for a spa-like experience.
Olay Nighttime Rinse-off Body Conditioner with Retinol
This isn’t a regular body lotion, it’s a hydrating in-shower treatment you rinse off like you would a conditioner for your hair. The retinol-powered formula is designed to prevent dry skin and can even replace your post-shower lotion.
Paula’s Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment
Now, this lotion’s formula truly reads like one you’d use on your face. It includes a mid-strength 0.1% retinol concentration, along with plant oils and butters to smooth and firm skin over time. The best part? It has a silky, lightweight texture that isn’t greasy.
iS Clinical Body Complex
For those with sensitive skin, iS Clinical’s soothing lotion is a good option for incorporating vitamin A into your body care routine. It has retinyl palmitate, a milder retinoid, plus soothing, hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and aloe to prevent irritation.
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