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When I suffered from acne flare-ups with seemingly no other prevention, what was the solution? Retinol. When my friend struggled with hyperpigmentation and rough skin, what was her solution? Retinol. When my parents were worried about wrinkles, what was their solution? Retinol. Discovering this over-the-counter miracle truly feels akin to stumbling across the fountain of youth, and we just *had* to share it with you.

By penetrating deep beneath your epidermis (the outer layer of your skin) and neutralising free radicals, this potent little ingredient boosts your skin's production of elastin, collagen, and comedolytic agents. These natural chemicals work simultaneously with retinol's auxiliary exfoliating effect to uncover fresh layers of youthful-looking skin, essentially speeding up the skin's natural regeneration process and consequently thwarting any and every skin issue that springs to mind.

The side-effect of all this, though, is increased skin sensitivity, particularly to the sun, so it is absolutely—and I cannot overstate this enough—*imperative* to use a quality daily sunscreen. Click here to find the best sunscreen for you!

French pharmacy brands are the masters of retinol. Developing some of the best and highest-quality formulations available on the market, they have helped millions of people—myself included—uncover the flawless skin we all have hiding beneath the surface. Keep scrolling to read our retinol cream reviews and find the best French retinol products & regimens definitively categorized & ranked!

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Available Worldwide*

Unfortunately, this miracle treatment can be difficult to get a hold of in certain areas of the world - fret not, though, as we have trawled the internet to find products that are available for everyone! *As of the current update, we have only been focussing on the USA, France and the UK.

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Redermic By La Roche Posay

I'm so incredibly pleased to see that La Roche Posay's phenomenal retinol products are available worldwide. I personally turned to this first-class French pharmacy brand out of sheer desperation when I was younger and suffering from acne and unknowingly discovered one of the *best* dermatologist-backed skincare lines in the world: Redermic. Rigorously dermatologically tested, the award-winning Redermic products deliver inimitable anti-ageing and zit-zapping efficacy for even the most sensitive skin.

Redermic R Cream by La Roche Posay, the best French retinol cream for the face, available worldwide.

Redermic R Cream by La Roche Posay

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

What is it? A French retinol cream for the face.

What makes it special? This minimalist, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic formula contains no preservatives, no fragrance, no parabens, no colourants, and no lanolin. Enriched with 0.3% retinol and an added retinol booster complex that improves efficacy even further, it helps to stimulate collagen and elastin to firm, smooth, and resurface the skin.

Effaclar Adapalene Gel by La Roche Posay, the best topical retinol cream for acne, available worldwide.

Effaclar Adapalene Gel by La Roche Posay

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

What is it? A prescription-strength topical retinol cream for acne. (UK alternative: Effaclar Duo)

What makes it special? Whilst not strictly from the Redermic line, it felt almost blasphemous not to mention this magnificent retinol gel from the more acne-focused Effaclar collection. It is the first prescription-strength topical retinoid for acne available without a prescription (in the USA). It prevents blackheads, whiteheads, acne blemishes and clogged pores thanks to its high concentration of adapalene - you may have heard of this incredibly potent ingredient as 'Differin'. This gel was my holy grail; I hope it could be yours, too!

Redermic R Eye Cream by La Roche Posay, the best French retinol eye cream, available worldwide.

Redermic R Eye Cream by La Roche Posay

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

What is it? A retinol eye cream.

What makes it special? Akin to its sister products, this clinically proven eye cream contains the same pure retinol ingredient that makes the Redermic products so effective. No other product has helped to combat dark circles for me quite like this cream; it is enriched with caffeine and a retinol booster complex, which—combined with the pure retinol—intensively smoothes and sculpts the eye contour for a luminous, refreshed look.

Revitalift By L'Oreal

L'Oreal offers a more economical and more anti-ageing-oriented product range known as Revitalift. They blend the latest innovations in anti-ageing into effective formulas with high concentrations of active ingredients, tested by leading skincare experts and scientists. Millions of people entrust them with their beauty and self-care routines daily, and with such affordable prices, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not at least trying their French retinol products.

Revitalift Pure Retinol Serum by L'Oreal, the best French retinol serum

Revitalift Pure Retinol Serum by L'Oreal

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

What is it? A pure French retinol serum for face skin.

What makes it special? This serum contains L'Oreal's highest concentration of pure retinol and a balancing trio of soothing ingredients for exceptional comfort. Validated by dermatologists, 77% of women saw a reduction in the appearance of deep wrinkles. We recommend applying 3-4 drops in the evening to dry skin, waiting a few minutes for it to absorb fully, and then apply your moisturizer over the top.

Revitalift Moisturizer by L'Oreal, the best pro-retinol face moisturizer, available worldwide.

Revitalift Moisturizer by L'Oreal

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Our rating: ★★★★

Price: $$$$

What is it? A pro-retinol face moisturizer.

What makes it special? This moisturizer is concentrated with pro-retinol (a milder pre-cursor to retinol) to visibly reduce wrinkles, firm and brighten skin in just one week of use. It is also formulated with two of the uppermost dermatologist-recommended ingredients: hyaluronic acid, a potent hydration-attracting molecule, and vitamin C, a vital antioxidant naturally found in skin, known to boost radiance. Immediately after application, your skin will feel delightfully soft, smoothe, plumped and hydrated.

AVAILABLE IN THE U.S.A.**

The following products are—at the time of the latest update—fully available in the USA but only partially available elsewhere. Where appropriate we have selected and linked to regional alternatives. **As of the current update, we have only been focussing on the USA, France and the UK.

Subscribe for future updates.

Skip to "Available in the U.K. & France" section

Retrinal By Avene

Avene, the 'Best French Skincare Brand for Sensitive Skin' (from our Best French Skincare Brands article), offers our favourite French pharmacy retinol collection. With two strengths to choose from, as well as a product specifically formulated for the delicate skin around your eyes and a gloriously nourishing day cream to complete the regimen, this is anybody's first and last stop on their journey to flawless skin. Ahead is everything you need to know!

Retrinal Intensive Cream by Avene, the best retinaldehyde cream for facial skin, available in the USA.

Retrinal Intensive Cream by Avene

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

What is it? A concentrated retinaldehyde cream for facial skin. (UK alternative: Avene Physiolift Serum)

What makes it special? Harnessing 'retinaldehyde' (the more potent sibling of retinol in the retinoid family), this cream delivers physician-strength anti-ageing and renewing benefits. It is available in two strengths, 0.1 and 0.05, the latter being our recommendation for those that are new to retinol. Enriched with powerful peptides and antioxidants, it plumps, firms, and protects the skin, whilst evening and brightening the skin's complexion. The final result after consistent use is a wonderfully youthful, radiant, flawless look. A *must-have*!

Retrinal Eyes by Avene, the best French retinaldehyde eye cream, available in the USA.

Retrinal Eyes by Avene

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

What is it? An incredible multi-tasking eye cream concentrated with retinaldehyde. (UK alternative: Avene Physiolift Eyes)

What makes it special? This 3-in-1 eye cream minimizes the appearance of under-eye lines, puffiness and dark circles while providing hydration, nourishment and a smoothing effect around the delicate eye contour. Pro tip: Soak two cotton pads in Thermal Spring Water; place them on your eyelids for 10 minutes for a wonderfully spa-like, refreshing sensation. Afterwards, gently apply this eye treatment with your ring finger. Consistent use will yield bright, firm, luminous and soft skin around the eyes.

Retrinal Day Cream by Avene, the best complementary day cream to use with a retinol routine.

Retrinal Day Cream by Avene

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

What is it? A nourishing, concealing day cream. (UK alternative: Avene Physiolift Day Cream)

What makes it special? Specifically designed to complement the intensive treatments, this day cream enriched with powerful antioxidants will ensure that your skin stays hydrated, plump, and comfortable. The yellow tint and collactin help to conceal any redness and the appearance of pronounced wrinkles, pores, or blemishes, at least until they have all diminished to your satisfaction after just a couple of months of consistent use!

AVAILABLE IN THE U.K. & France***

The following products are—at the time of the latest update—fully available in the UK and France but only partially available elsewhere. Where appropriate we have selected and linked to regional alternatives. ***As of the current update, we have only been focussing on the USA, France and the UK.

Subscribe for future updates.

A313 by Pharma Dev.

A313 is the cult French pharmacy retinol and one of the best-kept French beauty secrets. The magnitude of rave reviews it has is quite staggering; one such review was from Gwyneth Paltrow:

"[A313] is hard to find outside of France, but it's one of my very favourites. It's full of Vitamin A, which is wonderful for the skin, getting rid of blemishes, tough dry spots and preventing wrinkles (they say). I know an older movie star who uses this every night and she has the most amazing skin!"

A313 Pommade by Pharma Developpement, the cult-favourite retinoid treatment.

A313 Pommade by Pharma Developpement

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

What is it? A topical retinoid treatment. (US alternative: Effaclar Adapalene Gel)

What makes it special? Imbued with pharmaceutical-grade vitamin A known as retinyl palmitate, this wonder product boasts the following glorious benefits: it thickens and plumps the skin, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, improves sun damage, and clears acne. It has to be noted that the manufacturer doesn't make any of these claims, but the thousands and thousands of rave reviews speak for themselves.

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