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Dermatologists agree: Retinoids are one of the absolute best anti-aging tools out there.
On the retinoid spectrum, prescription-strength retinoic acid, also known as tretinoin, is the gold standard for anti-aging, but its controlled status and harsh side effects can make it out of reach and daunting to shoppers. At the opposite end, many beauty store skincare products contain a much weaker ingredient called retinol that may take up to a year to have any effect on your skin.
"Topical retinoids are typically the prescription-strength, stronger cousins to retinols, which are available at the local drugstore or beauty counter," Dr. Melanie Palm, director, Art of Skin MD, previously told InStyle . "Retinoids are more powerful, treating active acne, encouraging skin turnover, [and] improving skin texture."
There is, however, a lesser-known retinoid that falls right in the middle. Adapalene, also known by its brand name Differin, is a type of retinoid that promotes cell turnover, reduces inflammation and stimulates collagen production - an anti-aging power trio that helps reverse fine lines, fade dark spots, and diminish the appearance of pores quickly.
Since Differin is gentler than tretinoin, it skips over some of the harsh side effects including skin peeling, purging, and excessive dryness. Once only available with a prescription like tretinoin, Differin is now sold over the counter (and on Amazon), making it more accessible to those with anti-aging goals. For all the benefits it delivers, it's basically a prescription-strength anti-ager without the hassle.
Differin Gel for Face with Adapalene
Shop now: $12 (Originally $15); amazon.com
Differin is most known for its anti-acne properties, but given its proximity to the anti-aging legend tretinoin, many Amazon shoppers have discovered its off-label use for combating crepey skin and crows feet, among other youth-powering benefits.
"I use this gel retinoid product regularly to remain wrinkle and line-free at age 51," writes one reviewer. "This Differin gel smooths and tightens my facial skin when used regularly. Extremely affordable product that produces results! Definitely recommend in lieu of much more expensive retinol products."
"I'm using this for both adult acne and wrinkles," writes another. "And within a week, I noticed a difference. This has definitely had the most dramatic results of any anti-aging product I've tried. My skin is smoother and glowing, but the best part is that the areas that were thinner appear thicker now. I even use this around my eyes without any issues."
For such a powerful and convenient product, you'd expect it to come back and bite you in the price. Not the case. Differin typically sells for $15 a tube, but it's on sale now for Amazon Prime Day for just $12.
Shop the next best thing to prescription anti-aging retinoids for just $12 on Amazon.