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Ever heard of the “retinol scaries”? They are very real indeed and show up in the form of redness, dryness, itching, and flaking, Dr. Brendan Camp of MDCS Dermatology previously told StyleCaster. The potential side effects are a big reason why people (like me) are too afraid to give the ingredient a shot. But why? Retinol is literally one of, if not the most popular and recommended skincare ingredients of all time. I can’t escape my TikTok FYP without a derm or beauty influencer touting retinol.

Pedro Pascal and Sydney Sweeney

Coco & Eve Pro Youth Hair & Scalp Mask

“Retinol is a milder form of tretinoin (a retinoid) and is available over-the-counter, where it is primarily marketed as an anti-aging product to help address wrinkles, dark spots, and collagen production,” Dr. Camp explained in our explainer on bakuchiol versus retinol. 

Whether you’re a retinol newbie or have had a negative experience with it in the past, don’t sweat it. Amazon shoppers have discovered a serum that they claim does not come with the retinol scaries. 

CeraVe’s Skin Renewing Retinol Serum
(which is currently on sale at Amazon) pairs retinol with a bunch of moisturizing, soothing ingredients that strengthen your skin barrier. Dr. Camp previously shared with StyleCaster that you should look for such ingredients in a retinol-packed formula so that they can balance out the potential side effects of the skincare MVP. 

To get more specific, the retinol serum
calls on hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and three essential ceramides to keep your skin from turning into the Sahara desert. The ingredients alone should help hit back at retinol’s side effects, but the MVE technology should too. It “encapsulates ceramides to ensure efficient delivery within your skin’s barrier and slow release over time, supporting your protective skin barrier long after you’ve finished applying.” This explains how the formula is able to remain gentle yet effective. 

If you’re still unsure about this fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, non-irritating formula, Dr. Camp previously explained to StyleCaster how to apply retinol. He advised starting out by using it once every third night for one month. After that, increase your use to every other night for one month. And the final stage of incorporating retinol into your skincare routine is building up your tolerance enough to where you can apply it nightly. 

The anti-aging ingredient doesn’t have to be a pain in the you-know-what thanks to CeraVe’s gentle formula that, need I remind you, is on sale for $14 on Amazon
, where it’s earned an impressive 4.6-star overall rating.

“I’ve tried several retinol products, but they were heavy or broke my skin out. This one is light and absorbs nicely. I am already noticing a difference after only a few days,” one five-star reviewer wrote. “It was recommended by my dermatologist. If you have sensitive skin, just try it! I wish I hadn’t waited so long!”

“This is the perfect serum for beginner retinol users
. It was recommended to me by my dermatologist because my skin had gotten very irritated with other retinols,” another one wrote. “This serum is much more gentle and keeps my skin moisturized. It’s obviously not as potent as some retinols, but it still seems effective.”

“I really love this product because I have tried other retinol products before and haven’t been happy with how they have left my skin feeling. My past experiences with other brands have left my skin flaky and feeling dry but with this product. I have had none of those issues,” raved another shopper.

Don’t let your skin concerns take the reins any longer. CeraVe’s beginner-friendly serum is here to make using retinol a total breeze—retinol scaries not included. Make sure you stock up while the formula is 43 percent off at Amazon
and full-price at Ulta.