'I can already see a difference': This $26 anti-aging retinol serum is perfect for beginners

·Lifestyle & Features Editor
·4 min read

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Image via Getty Images.
Image via Getty Images.

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In the world of skincare, few ingredients receive as much praise and attention as retinol. The multi-use derivative of vitamin A can help tackle some of the most common signs of aging that can cause us to feel less than confident about the state of our skin.

Products with retinol can help revitalize dull looking skin, prevent our pores from clogging to prevent and treat breakouts, reduce the appearance of dark spots, and of course, minimize and prevent fine lines and wrinkles.

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So, where do you begin if you want to dip your toe into the world of retinol? One of the most trusted and accessible brands, CeraVe, offers a wide variety of affordable and dermatologist-approved skincare products, like the Skin Renewing Cream Serum with retinol.

CeraVe Skin Renewing Cream Serum


SHOP IT: Amazon, $26

What is it?

CeraVe's Skin Renewing Cream Serum helps reduce and prevent visible signs of aging using super-ingredients like retinol, niacinamide, ceramides and hyaluronic acid. The gentle serum can be applied once or twice daily, and worn under makeup to help improve your skin's moisture barrier, resulting in more youthful, firmer looking skin.

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How to use it

Retinol is a pretty powerful skincare ingredient that can negatively impact your skin if used the wrong way. Too much retinol too soon can cause your skin to dry out and peel — which can be painful and embarrassing.

For best results, you should slowly introduce retinol into your skincare routine. Only use the serum a few times a week by placing small dots on problem areas and smoothing them into the skin until fully absorbed. Retinol also makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays, which is why you should always finish your skincare regime with a moisturizer that contains SPF.

Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 50


SHOP IT: Amazon, $14 (originally $18)

What people are saying

Amazon Canada customers have given CeraVe's Skin Renewing Cream Serum a 4.4-star rating based on more than 400 customer reviews. The customer reviews are extremely helpful and echo recommendations to start slowly — but to be prepared for real results.

"I got this as a starter retinol to freshen up my face and I highly recommend it," one Amazon shopper wrote. "Within a week this noticeably changed the way my skin looked and took away subtle redness that I thought was always going to be there. I literally thought parts of my face were always going to be pink and was fine with it but this smoothed out my discolouration a lot. I don't know how potent the retinol is but I have used it every night since I got it. I have very dry skin to begin with and since this is retinol it does dry the skin out and I noticed that. After I use it I layer moisturizer on top to replenish my dry skin. I highly recommend this and a good moisturizer and face oil to use on top of it and the day following. This product will make your face very vulnerable to the sun so wear SPF."

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Some shoppers have said they noticed their skin looking dry after a few uses or have noticed their skin becoming irritated. While it's unsure to know how often they were using the product, be warned that too much retinol will definitely cause your skin to dry out! Slow and sparingly is always key with retinol, especially in the beginning.

Image via Getty Images.
Image via Getty Images.

"This stuff is amazing! I have only used it for about two weeks or so now but wow, I can already see a difference. I have the most sensitive acne prone skin," another reviewer wrote. "Everything - and I mean everything - makes me either break out, gives me a rash, makes me super sensitive and red. This did dry out my forehead a tad but no bad reactions, no break outs! My skin looks and feels softer and smoother. How is this possible after only two weeks?! I love it. Somehow my skin also looks more plump and soft. Highly recommend."

If you notice an immediate reaction to the serum, discontinue use immediately. It may be helpful to visit a dermatologist to formulate a skincare routine that works with your specific skin type to prevent any future breakouts.


CeraVe's Skin Renewing Cream Serum is a great retinol option for beginners looking to improve the overall look and texture of their skin, especially on a budget. Just be sure to incorporate a moisturizer with SPF to help your skin look its best!

he reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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