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Take the most effective anti-aging ingredient, make it a serum, pour it over a few cotton pads, and make it as easy to use as a face wipe: that’s what retinol pads are. Given that retinol is pretty much the ‘it’ ingredient to tackle anything from wrinkles and acne to hyperpigmentation, it’s no surprise that we see it in different product forms like toners, cleansers, and now, pads.
But don’t confuse these with your regular peel pads. Retinol pads work a little differently, which makes them even more worthy of your attention. Keep reading to learn more about how they work, how to use them, and the best retinol pads to get started.
What Are Retinol Pads?
Retinol pads are single-use cotton pads pre-soaked in retinol. Each pad gives you a single-use amount of retinol and allows for a convenient application.
Because of retinol’s ability to boost skin turnover, retinol pads help boost collagen production and minimize signs of aging like wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and acne.
Traditional peel pads like glycolic acid pads or salicylic acid pads exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells. But retinol pads are all about infusing the skin with retinol and the benefits that come with it.
Benefits of Retinol Pads
Given that retinol comes in serums, creams, and oils, what sets retinol pads apart is their convenience. Beginner retinol users all struggle while incorporating retinol into their skincare routine.
With retinol pads, you know when to use the product, how much product to use, and how to apply it. This mitigates common retinol mistakes considerably.
These pads are more user-friendly. The likelihood of over-using retinol, which usually leads to irritation, is low all thanks to pre-made and ready-to-apply pads.
Another advantage of retinol pads over retinol serums is better stability. You’ll see that most peel pads come in packets and not jars.
You tear open the packet and with each use, you have fresh and potent retinol that hasn’t been oxidized due to light or air.
Needless to say, retinol pads are travel-friendly. So if you’re ready to give retinol a try, below are the best retinol pads for wrinkles, acne, and discolorations.
Best Retinol Pads
1. Exuviance Pure Retinol Correcting Peel
Exuviance set the bar high with these retinol pads. They contain 0.3% retinol to accelerate the skin turnover rate and fire up collagen production. In addition, the pads are soaked in a patented ingredient called CitraFill, which has a nice, instant plumping effect on the skin that reduces the look of fine lines too.
The formulation is pretty minimal, meaning that it doesn’t contain skin-soothing ingredients. So keep that in mind if you have very sensitive skin. Besides that, these once-a-week retinol pads will amplify your anti-aging routine considerably to better target signs of aging.
Key Ingredients: 0.3% retinol
Size: 6 pads
2. Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Overnight Texture Renewal Peel
These retinol pads also contain bakuchiol, the natural alternative to retinol, to better target wrinkles and dark spots. More importantly, the pads contain a rich blend of antioxidants, making the overall formula gentle on the skin and suitable for all skin types.
They contain Centella Asiatica, green tea, and ferulic acid to enhance the anti-aging effects while preventing irritation and redness. The pads are also formulated with hydrating hyaluronic acid, and squalane to prevent dryness and reduce the look of dehydration lines.
Key Ingredients: 0.2% retinol, bakuchiol, ferulic acid
Size: 16 pads
Good To Know: Cruelty-free, vegan
3. Neostrata Retinol 0.3% Overnight Peel
This has almost the same formula as Exuvaince, which is understandable as the two are practically the same brand. Similar to Exuviance, the potent formula contains 0.3% retinol in addition to a propriety ingredient to hydrate the skin and give it a bouncy feel.
Only this one contains 12 pads, which makes it more cost-effective. But again, it’s a matter of preference. But rest assured, you get all the benefits of retinol. Use it once a week to manage excess oil, blemishes, pores, and signs of aging.
Key Ingredients: 0.3% retinol, vitamin E
Size: 12 pads
4. Skin Script Glycolic And Retinol Pads
These pads combine 2% glycolic acid with 1% retinol. So you have two of the most effective ingredients to come at two of the most annoying skin problems: acne and wrinkles. The combination encourages skin turnover, softens skin texture, and evens skin tone.
Additionally, these are great for people dealing with stubborn acne marks and discolorations. Because the pads contain skin brighteners like kojic acid and arbutin to fade dark spots. Considering the potency and the effects, these are some of the cheapest retinol pads you can get.
Key Ingredients: 1% retinol, glycolic acid, kojic acid, arbutin
Size: 50 pads
Good To Know: Vegan
5. Lancer Gentle Exfoliating Peel Pads
Bakuchiol is a great workaround for people with sensitive skin. It’s known to work like retinol but it doesn’t irritate the skin. These bakuchiol pads also contain 7% lactic acid, which is the gentlest exfoliant you can use. So overall, the multi-tasking pads fit into any anti-aging routine where sensitive skin is involved.
Plus, they are formulated with papaya enzymes for surface exfoliation. And they contain oatmeal for anti-inflammatory benefits. You can use them as non-drying peel pads for wrinkles to minimize fine lines, and other signs of aging without aggravating sensitivity.
Key Ingredients: Bakuchiol, lactic acid
Size: 45 pads
Good To Know: Cruelty-free
So these are the best retinol pads you can use to tackle your skin concerns with the convenience of a peel pad. If you’ve never used one before, keep reading to learn how.
How to Use Retinol Pads
First of all, if you’ve never used retinol before, use your retinol pads only once a week. This is especially important if you have sensitive skin.
With retinol, consistency is key. So you’ll get better results if you go slow and steady as opposed to fast and sporadically.
Apply your retinol pad on clean, dry skin. Once it fully absorbs, top it off with a moisturizer. Don’t use an exfoliating toner, serum, or treatment in the same routine you use a retinol pad. And wear sunscreen during the day.
Read Next: Best Retinol Oils