Best Retinaldehyde serums (better than Retinol!)

Did you know? Retinal (short for Retinaldehyde) is more potent than Retinol! While all these Vitamin A derived ingredients are called Retinoids, they have completely different strengths. That is why percentages on products can confuse consumers. You can not compare a 1% Retinol serum with a 0.1% Retin-A cream. The Retin-A cream is much more potent- even though the percentage seems much lower.

It goes like this:

  • Retinyl Palmitate, Retinyl Acetate, Retinyl Propionate, Granactive Retinol are the weakest Retinoids with a bioavailability of about 1%- you will not get much effect from these, but maybe these ingredients are a good start for Retinoid beginners.

  • Then we have Retinol with a bioavailability of 10%. Much better and you will have a mild effect.

  • Going on to Retinal or Retinaldehyde. This has 90% bioavailability. This is fantastic! For comparison: if you have a serum with 0.1% Retinal it is MUCH more potent than a 1% - 3% Retinol serum.

So, clearly Retinal is the best option if you are not going for prescription strength (or try out the over the counter available Adapalene, however, I have tried it myself with not so much luck- read my experience). Another bonus of Retinal: it is strong but not as irritating as Retin-A can be.

So, here are the best Retinaldehyde serums:

1. Naturium Retinaldehyde Cream Serum 0.05% // Amazon

Formulated with a unique, sustained-release retinaldehyde; a potent next-gen retinol that directly converts to retinoic acid, to address the look of fine lines and wrinkles, uneven tone and texture. Added biofermented oligopeptide actively refines the appearance of skin texture and radiance for optimal results. Looking for more? This serum is also available in 0.1%!


Expertly stabilized retinaldehyde at 0.11% concentration delivers prescription level benefits by helping to improve uneven skin tone and appearances of photoaged skin. And because retinaldehyde is also antibacterial, Moonlight can help with acne as well. Now, you can finally enjoy all the promises you have hoped from retinoids without the harshness.

3. Avene RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream // Amazon 

Avène Retinal 0.1 Intensive Cream visibly reduces the appearance of wrinkles to shave years off of your appearance. Patented relastide is a pro-elastin peptide that fills in wrinkles and fine lines to tone and firm your complexion while vitamin E reflects free radical damage and protects against damaging sunrays. Irregularities are reduced, leaving a radiantly youthful complexion in its wake.

4. Murad Retinal ReSculpt Overnight Treatment // Sephora // Ulta

One of the most efficacious forms encapsulated in an exclusive delivery system for enhanced stability and targeted delivery deep within skin’s surface, allowing for 2.5x more effectiveness (vs. free retinal)—while still being gentle on skin.

5. PEACH & LILY Retinal For All Renewing Serum // Ulta

Retinal For All Renewing Serum, featuring patent-pending R-IQTM technology, is powered by a potent dose of 0.1% retinal, the most powerful non-prescription retinoid available, and ectoin — a revolutionary extremolyte that stops retinoid-induced inflammation before it starts. 

6. Youth To The People Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum // Sephora

This multi-effect retinal night (0.15%) serum uses the power of retinaldehyde (the most potent retinoid next to an Rx) to smooth textured and blemished skin, improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles, and brighten uneven skin tone.

7. Medik8 Crystal Retinal Serum // Amazon

Available in 5 Progressive Strengths! Ladder up your results with 5 available strengths: 1, 3, 6, 10, and 20. This is a great system to adjust your skin to Retinal.

There you go- these are the best Retinal serums currently on the market. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: Contains Affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.