paula's choice anti aging retinol

Shoppers Say This Trusted Brand's Retinol Is So Good, It Beats $100 Prescription Treatments

A long list of moisturizers keeps it from irritating skin.
Rachel Nussbaum
Aug 16, 2021 @ 1:42 pm
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This story originally appeared on InStyle.com.

Is there anything better than a trusted anti-aging ingredient coming from a trusted brand? It's enough to restore your faith in the sometimes-shady beauty industry, and considering that brands still don't have to disclose what's in products' "fragrance," that's saying a lot. And yet, it's par for the course for Paula's Choice—and, if you like knowing what's in your products and seeing remarkable wrinkle-smoothing results, the brand's 1 percent Retinol Treatment will be right up your alley. 

Paula's Choice was one of the first skincare brands to prioritize transparency in its products, an approach that stemmed from founder Paula Begoun's work analyzing the science behind skincare. With that in mind, 12 peer-reviewed studies support the Retinol Treatment's efficacy, and each ingredient comes with a reason for its inclusion (the number of footnotes would make David Foster Wallace proud. Coming soon: Consider the Ceramide).

Jokes aside, the lengthy formula includes a hard-hitting squad of active ingredients. Leading the pack is retinol, which dermatologists love for its proven anti-aging properties, alongside vitamin C, four peptides, hyaluronic acid, brightening licorice root extract, soothing oat, burdock, and willow bark extract, allantoin, ceramides, and vitamin E. According to the brand's description, the light lotion uses retinol's anti-aging capabilities to soften fine lines, while the soothing extracts counteract the anti-ager's sometimes-harsh side effects.    

Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment
Credit: Courtesy

Shop it! $58, paulaschoice.com

The above checks out, going by the vast majority of shoppers who've granted the lotion a five-star rating—even those who describe themselves as "beauty experts" and "survivalist/minimalist" users (and knowing the scrutiny that minimalists give everything in their bathroom, that's quite the compliment).         

"I just purchased my third bottle of this after trying several other retinol products that did literally nothing for the creeping wrinkles under my eyes," writes a 46-year-old who dubs the lotion a "wrinkle eliminator." "After several weeks of using the Paula's Choice, I was no longer having makeup collect in the lines under my eyes—because they were *gone.* This is the only product that's ever given me visible results, so it's totally worth it." 

Another glowing review comes from a self-described skin care professional, who says that the powerful, yet gentle Retinol Treatment replaced their last favorite retinol, an over $100 buy, thanks to the PC's "medical grade results." The thoughtful formula leads others to note that they haven't seen any negative effects, even the dryness or flaking that often accompanies retinol. 

The lotion's strength isn't only anti-aging, either; one reviewer says it helped fade their melasma, and another comments that after trying everything to clear up their pimples and years-old acne scars, the Retinol Treatment was the first thing to do the trick. "I wasn't confident without makeup, even refusing to go out with my friends sometimes because I felt disgusting in my skin. Now, my face is the smoothest that it's ever been. If you are suffering from acne and scars, GET THIS. I promise, it is the best thing in the world." 

(Sidenote: As journalist Jessica DeFino notes, often the issue isn't really our skin, but the unrealistic beauty standards that make people feel so uncomfortable. For me, it's been a game-changing realization—yet, I still love skincare and the soothing ritual it provides).  

Self-actualization aside, people do adore the treatment. "This is the first facial product that performs like prescription-strength retinol, at only a fraction of the cost," writes one such shopper, adding that alternating it every night is best for their skin. "I have noticed a HUGE difference in fine lines, large pores, and overall skin texture and tone," says a 39-year-old whose mom recommended it. "My skin is literally glowing and looks five years younger."  

And unlike most skincare products, the Retinol Treatment doesn't require religious application to deliver a difference. "Even with infrequent use, I've noticed a dramatic improvement in my skin texture. I've experienced redness on my cheeks for my entire adult life, and I'm shocked that this is actually reducing [it] to the point that I don't feel the need to wear foundation." 

A last enthusiast sums it up: "This is the one product I can't LIVE WITHOUT! It works like a magic youthful potion. Trust me, it's worth the money." Bugged by wrinkles, redness, or acne? Give it a try for yourself.