10 Best Drugstore Retinols for Acne in 2022

With so many options, finding the best drugstore retinol for acne can be overwhelming. There are so many things to consider such as ingredients, formula, brand name, price, and so much more. Needless to say, this can be pretty time-consuming.

To save you the hassle, we researched hundreds of products and sifted through thousands of customer reviews. Then we checked the ingredients, formula, efficacy, and price. Based on this, we bring you the best drugstore retinol for acne. Let’s have a look.

Top 10 Best Drugstore Retinols for Acne

Bestseller No. 1
CeraVe Retinol Serum for Post-Acne Marks and Skin Texture | Pore Refining, Resurfacing, Brightening Facial Serum with Retinol and Niacinamide | Fragrance Free, Paraben Free & Non-Comedogenic| 1 Oz
  • [ ACNE RETINOL SERUM FOR FACE ] With encapsulated retinol, this serum helps skin look smoother and more even-toned. Pore-minimizing serum for face helps refine skin’s texture over time and helps visibly reduce the appearance of post-acne marks.
  • [ LIGHTWEIGHT SERUM ] Gel texture & a non-greasy feel. Apply Resurfacing Retinol Serum at night & apply sunscreen. Apply a pea-sized amount of CeraVe retinol serum in a thin layer and allow to fully absorb into skin before applying additional products.
  • [ BRIGHTENING SERUM ] Formulated with licorice root extract helps to brighten the appearance of skin and niacinamide helps to calm skin. Fragrance free, paraben-free, and non-comedogenic.
  • [ 3 ESSENTIAL CERAMIDES ] Ceramides are found naturally in the skin and make up 50% of the lipids in the skin barrier. All CeraVe products, formulated with three essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-II)to help maintain the skin’s natural barrier.
  • [ DEVELOPED WITH DERMATOLOGISTS ] CeraVe Skincare is developed with dermatologists and has products suitable for dry skin, sensitive skin, oily skin, acne-prone, and more.
Bestseller No. 2
Paulas Choice--SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant--Facial Exfoliant for Blackheads, Enlarged Pores, Wrinkles & Fine Lines, 4 oz Bottle
  • GENTLE NON-ABRASIVE LEAVE-ON EXFOLIATOR: with 2% BHA (Beta hydroxy acid) to unclog & diminish enlarged pores, exfoliate dead skin cells, smooth wrinkles & brighten & even out skin tone. Combats redness, wrinkles, aging, enlarged pores, & blackheads. PACKAGING MAY VARY.
  • Dramatically improves skin's texture for radiant youthful even-toned skin. Beta hydroxy acid (BHA also known as salicylic acid) mimics the natural exfoliation process of younger skin by helping it shed extra layers while unclogging and clearing pores.
  • HYDRATE, BRIGHTEN & SMOOTH FINE LINES: Our unique, non-abrasive, leave-on exfoliant is gentle enough for daily use on all skin types. Exfoliates dead skin cells while clearing pores for a more even tone, plus it visibly reduces fine lines & wrinkles.
  • Paula's Choice facial exfoliants are gentler on delicate skin of the face & neck than an abrasive face scrub, which can cause micro-tears. A BHA leave-on exfoliator delivers hydration & can exfoliate directly inside the pore & improve how the pore works.
  • Paula's Choice Skincare makes products that work. No fragrance, no parabens, no fluff. Just effective, science-backed formulas that target any concern from wrinkles to breakouts.
Bestseller No. 3
Acne Treatment Differin Gel, 30 Day Supply, Retinoid Treatment for Face with 0.1% Adapalene, Gentle Skin Care for Acne Prone Sensitive Skin, 15g Tube (Packaging May Vary)
  • Clears breakouts where they start (Deep in pores) and prevents new acne from forming, which ultimately restores skin's texture and tone
  • Differin works differently than other Acne treatments by normalizing skin cell turnover and effectively targets two primary causes of Acne, clogged pores and inflammation
  • Adapalene was created for superior tolerability compared to other prescription retinoid products not containing Adapalene; It is suitable for use as part of your morning or evening regimen
  • Water based formula, oil free, alcohol free, fragrance free, non comedogenic; Helps reduce the risk of scarring and Hyperpigmentation by treating Acne
  • In a clinical study, Differin gel provided up to 87 percent reduction in acne breakouts after 12 weeks, which will continue to improve with further use
SaleBestseller No. 4
TruSkin Vitamin C Serum for Face – Anti Aging Face Serum with Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E – Brightening Serum for Dark Spots, Even Skin Tone, Eye Area, Fine Lines & Wrinkles, 1 Fl Oz
  • SKIN BRIGHTENING SERUM: Our most popular facial serum uses vitamin C to even skin tone, neutralize free radicals and boost collagen, thus improving radiance and reducing dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles
  • PLANT-BASED, SKIN-FRIENDLY FORMULATIONS: Our anti aging serum is a purposefully balanced blend for skin nutrition, harnessing support from botanical hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, aloe vera, jojoba oil and MSM to help brighten, calm and protect skin
  • PURE & POTENT SKIN CARE: Vegan and cruelty-free skin nourishment using antioxidants, nutrients and botanical actives to improve skin wellness, all in a fragrance free formula without parabens and other harmful chemicals you don’t want
  • DIRECTIONS: TruSkin Vitamin C Serum for face with hyaluronic acid can be used morning and/or night. Apply 3-5 drops of serum to clean fingertips, palm or back of hand and use fingertips to gently smooth onto face and under eyes
  • EXTENDED MANUFACTURER GUARANTEE: Love it or your money back! If for any reason you decide this product isn't a fit for your skin, we offer a 90-day money-back refund. The expiration date is printed on the barcode sticker attached to the packaging
Bestseller No. 6
Neutrogena Stubborn Marks PM Treatment with Retinol SA, Face-Exfoliating Treatment to Help Reverse the Look of Post-Acne Marks & Uneven Skin Tone, Oil-Free, Non-Comedogenic, PM Treatment, unscented, 1.0 Fl Oz
  • 1-fluid ounce of Neutrogena Stubborn Marks PM Treatment with Retinol, a dermatologist proven ingredient, to exfoliate and help reverse the look of post-acne marks and uneven skin tone
  • This retinol treatment works nightly to support the skin's natural exfoliation process and complements cell turnover while you sleep. Helps to reverse the look of post-acne marks for improved clarity and a more even skin tone
  • The clinically proven, non-comedogenic formula contains retinol SA, a stabilized, highly refined form of vitamin A that helps provide visible complexion correction. Plus, it's suitable for daily use
  • This formula is free of parabens, oil, phthalates, dyes and fragrances. For best results, use this night treatment with the Neutrogena Stubborn Acne AM Treatment with Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Our recommended regimen for stubborn acne & post-acne marks. When used together, the retinol helps release pore-clogging dead skin cells, giving the benzoyl peroxide in the AM formula a clear path to effectively target acne-causing
SaleBestseller No. 7
CeraVe Anti Aging Retinol Serum | Cream Serum for Smoothing Fine Lines and Skin Brightening | With Retinol, Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, and Ceramides | 1 Ounce
  • [ RETINOL SERUM FOR FACE ] Anti-aging facial serum with Retinol to help improve skin’s texture including visible signs of aging for more radiant skin and Hyaluronic Acid to help retain skin’s natural moisture, and Niacinamide to help calm skin.
  • [ SMOOTH TEXTURE ] Lightweight serum with a gel texture and a non-greasy feel. If layering with an eye cream or facial moisturizer, apply Skin Renew Retinol Serum in a thin layer and allow to fully absorb into skin before applying additional products.
  • [ GENTLE ON SKIN ] Fragrance free, non-comedogenic, and non-irritating formula. As retinol can cause sun sensitivity, please apply Skin Renewing Retinol Serum at night or wear a facial moisturizer with at least SPF 30 sunscreen if wearing during the day.
  • [ 3 ESSENTIAL CERAMIDES ] Ceramides are found naturally in the skin and make up 50% of the lipids in the skin barrier. All CeraVe products are formulated with three essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-II) to help restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier
  • [ DEVELOPED WITH DERMATOLOGISTS ] CeraVe Skincare is developed with dermatologists and has products suitable for dry skin, sensitive skin, oily skin, acne-prone, and more.
Bestseller No. 8
PurOrganica Retinol Serum - Best Treatment for Acne and Acne Scars, Pigmentation, Fine Lines, Wrinkles and Dark Circles - Premium 2.5% Retinol, Vegan Hyaluronic Acid & Jojoba Oil
  • DISCOVER THE MIRACLE OF RETINOL ON YOUR SKIN: Our serum contains 2.5% retinol- or vitamin A- which is extremely beneficial for every skin type. This miraculous ingredient does not only prevent ageing, but is also proven to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, as well as to improve skin texture, skin tone and color. Get it now and check its results on your own!
  • GREAT FOR ACNE & ACNE SCARS: Retinol is an extremely effective acne treatment - unclog pores to clear up blemishes, reduce blackheads, and minimize pores. Retinol prevents future breakouts by blocking dead skin cells from clogging pores and stimulates collagen to fade acne scars.
  • SKIN PIGMENTATION TREATMENT: Brown spots and dark circles? Not anymore! This best-selling product guarantees radiant, fresh skin without fine lines and wrinkles! Look fresh every day and let everybody wondering about your beauty secrets! Try it now and get instant glow!
  • TURN BACK THE CLOCK: No, you are not dreaming! This product will make your face glow instantly, due to its miraculous and natural ingredients! Are you tired of trying facial serums without any results? Get this one and get amazed by how different your skin will look within a few days after using.
  • WORKS OR YOUR MONEY BACK: If you're not happy for any reason, simply contact us and we'll give you a full product refund, no questions asked and no need to return the bottle.
SaleBestseller No. 9
Anti Aging Hyaluronic Acid & Retinol Serum 2.5% for Face with Vitamin E For Oily Acne Skin Best Skin Care Retinoid Facial Moisturizer Reduce Fine Lines Wrinkle Dark Spots Pure Organic Ingredients
  • BEST SKINCARE COMBINATION: Hyaluronic Acid hydrates and moisturizes the surface skin layer, reducing dry, scaly skin. Retinol increases skin cell production, helps unclog pores, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, giving your skin a fresher appearance.
  • PURE ORGANIC INGREDIENTS: Vitamin E keeps the skin well moisturized, prevents dry, flaking skin, reduces skin itching, minimizes the appearance of scars; Jojoba Oil helps to keep the skin hydrated, makes clogged pores less, and fights breakouts and acne, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; Green Tea treats acne, helps reduce redness and irritation, and makes skin moisturized; Aloe Vera fades dark spots and stretch marks, prevents acne, soothes skin conditions.
  • SLOWING SIGNS OF AGING: unique anti-aging blend formulated to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, stimulate the production of new blood vessels to improve skin color, and soften rough patches of skin.
  • FOR ALL SKIN TYPES: Please follow the instructions to get the best effect. Clean and dry your face. Gently massage a small amount of this Serum to your freshly cleansed and toned face, neck and decolette focusing on problem areas until fully absorbed in the beginning of your skincare routine. Follow with your regular moisturizer. For best results, we recommend using this serum 1-2 times a day.
  • HEALTHY CHOICE: No Alcohol, No Parabens, No GMO's, Cruelty Free, Never Tested On Animals.
Bestseller No. 10
Tree of Life Vitamin C Serum, Retinol Serum and Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Brightening, Firming, and Hydrating for Face; Total Skin Reset Day & Night, 3 Count x 1 Fl Oz
  • A power trio for your best skin yet. Use the Vitamin C Serum followed by the Hyaluronic Acid Serum in the morning to visibly brighten, reduce dark spots, smooth, and hydrate the skin. Reach for the Retinol Serum followed by the Hyaluronic Acid Serum in the evening to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, fade the look of age spots, support elasticity, and soothe the skin.
  • All of our products are cruelty-free, dermatologist-tested, and made for all skin types and tones. Plus, they're packed with thoughtfully-chosen ingredients you can feel good about.
  • Directions: Apply Vitamin C Serum in the morning followed by Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Apply Retinol Serum in the evening followed by Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Apply 3-5 drops to clean, dry skin on face, neck, and décolleté. Use sunscreen daily, as retinol increases sun sensitivity. For best results, follow serums with a moisturizer.
  • True radiance for the taking. Tree of Life is all about clean, effective, attainable skincare — and we won't give you anything less.
  • Quality at the core. We're so sure you'll love our products that we offer a 30-day money back guarantee. If you're not fully satisfied, you can return it for a full refund.

Things to Consider When Buying the Best Drugstore Retinols for Acne

Ingredients

When it comes to choosing the best drugstore retinol for acne, the most important thing to consider is the ingredients. If you’re particularly allergic to a specific ingredient, make sure to only choose products that don’t contain it. This way, you won’t experience allergies or irritation when using a drugstore retinol.

Price

Another important thing to consider is the price. You shouldn’t always chase the cheapest product on the market as it can cause problems in the long run. Similarly, just because a product is expensive doesn’t mean that it’s the right product for you. Make sure to do your due diligence when shopping for the best drugstore retinol for acne.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

When looking for the best drugstore retinol for acne, it’s better to avoid harsh chemicals. Generally, it’s better to look for a product that doesn’t contain synthetic fragrances, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, etc. Even the reputable products can sometimes contain these chemicals, it’s important to look at the formula. Too much of these chemicals can be bad for you.

Star Rating

If a product is well-received on Amazon, chances are it’s usually pretty good. These reviews are generally a testament to the efficacy of a product. When shopping for the best drugstore retinol for acne, you should usually go with product with the star rating of 3. 5 or more. The higher the better!

Read Customer Reviews

Reading customer reviews can also be helpful when purchasing the best drugstore retinol for acne. It’s possible that someone else who has the same needs as you has already tried and reviewed the product. Reading their review will give you an idea on whether or not the drugstore retinol you’re looking to buy is worth your time and money.

Brand Name

Finally, when it comes to beauty, skincare, or hair care products, it’s usually better to stick with reputable products. There are so many products available on the market, but the brands which have stood the test of time are the ones that you should generally go for. At the same time, don’t be afraid of experimenting with new products.

Patch Test

No matter which drugstore retinol you’re considering, it’s important to do a patch test first (even if a product is well-received). Everyone is different and so are their needs. So, always be sure to do a patch test when you try out a new product.

Conclusion

It can be challenging to find the best drugstore retinol for acne. However, we’ve done all the heavy-lifting for you. We hope this article helped you find the best drugstore retinol for your needs.

Which one of these drugstore retinols are you going to try? Let us know in the comments below. If you have any questions, ask away.

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