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Retinol is one of the most effective skincare treatments for anti-aging, but many people aren’t as familiar with its fellow umbrella (and more potent) ingredient, retinaldehyde or retinal. Of course to get the most pure form of retinol (also known as tretinoin), you need a prescription, but retinal is the slightly more potent version of retinol that you can still grab over the counter. That’s why shoppers are loving Avene’s RetrinAL 1.0 Intensive cream with retinal so much—especially those with sensitive skin.

People with sensitive skin or even combination skin often complain of the irritation retinol causes after a few nights of using it. The typical reaction is redness and flaking as your skin gets used to it, but for people with sensitive skin, this reaction might not ever go away, no matter how long you use the product. This Avene cream seems to solve all of those issues.

The retinol cream is made with Avene’s signature thermal spring water that helps to soothe irritated skin, and vitamin E for natural antioxidant protection throughout the day. And of course, instead of retinol it has retinaldehyde, which is clinically proven to be more effective for cell turnover and anti-aging than retinol, according to the brand’s website.

Avene RetrinAL Cream

Courtesy of Avene.

Avene RetrinAL Cream

Also just a fair warning: Since retinol makes the skin more susceptible to sunburn, you need to make sure you use an SPF first thing in the morning before you head outside. The quality of the ingredients runs the price of the RetrinAL cream around $75, but in honor of Labor Day weekend, you can score it with free shipping.

Shoppers who have tried it say “my face does feel softer and I was able to use to 0.1 strength even though I have sensitive skin.” Another wrote, “I prefer this to prescription Retin-A. My skin doesn’t tolerate Retin-A at any strength but this is less harsh and tolerable.”

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When starting a retinol, derms typically recommend starting with every other night until your skin can build up a tolerance to handling it nightly. But shoppers who have tried this say they have no problem applying it nightly.

Other fans of the RetrinAL cream say that it even had unexpected benefits like evening out redness for rosacea-irritated skin. ” It instantly softens and smooths my skin,” they wrote. “It evens out my rosacea redness and dry areas.”

If you’ve been dodging retinol because your skin peels too much or has other sensitivities, this cream is a great swap for the harsh retinol you’ve been using.

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