Today there are many drugstore options if you want to incorporate a retinol product into your skincare routine. Two of the best options at the drugstore are Olay Retinol 24 Max Night Serum and CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum. These retinol products can combat wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging.
However, these products use different formulas to treat similar skin concerns. So how do they compare? We’ll look at product ingredients and performance in this post on Olay Retinol 24 vs CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum.
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Why You Should Use Retinol
Retinol is a form of vitamin A and the over-the-counter gold standard for treating the skin’s visible signs of aging.
Retinol (a type of retinoid) must be converted into retinaldehyde and retinoic acid before it can be effective on the skin.
There are many benefits of using retinol, as retinol does the following:
- Increases Cell Turnover: Retinol speeds up cell renewal so that dead skin cells fall away more quickly and new fresh skin is revealed underneath. This also helps to fade hyperpigmentation, dark spots, acne scars, and uneven skin tone over time.
- Improves Collagen Production: As we age, our collagen production slows down. This leaves the skin looking dull and fine lines start to form on the face. Retinol stimulates collagen production, which helps to improve the look of wrinkles, fine lines, and skin elasticity.
- Improves Acne and Breakouts: Retinol reduces sebum (oil) production and helps unclog pores, reducing acne and breakouts.
Just be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher while using retinol and for a week after, since retinol and all retinoids make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Olay Retinol 24
Olay offers multiple products in its Retinol 24 skincare line. The products include a serum, eye cream, and night cream. Olay also offers more potent retinol products in their Retinol 24 MAX line.
These products (a serum, eye cream, and night cream) contain 20% More Retinol 24 Hydrating Complex than the original Retinol 24 products.
I’ll be discussing Retinol 24 MAX products in today’s post. I’ll compare Olay’s Retinol 24 cream and serum to CeraVe’s popular retinol serum: CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum.
Olay Retinol 24 Max Night Hydrating Moisturizer
Olay Retinol 24 Max Night Hydrating Moisturizer is formulated with Olay’s retinoid complex containing retinol and retinyl propionate.
Retinyl propionate is a retinol ester that isn’t as strong as retinol but isn’t as irritating.
This night cream also contains niacinamide, an anti-aging all-star that brightens the skin by interrupting melanin production. It also helps with collagen synthesis for firmer skin.
In addition, niacinamide has anti-inflammatory benefits and regulates sebum production.
For an additional anti-aging boost, this moisturizer contains Olay’s amino peptide, palmitoyl pentapeptide-4. The peptide is a type I collagen fragment that helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
Olay also includes Tropaeolum majus flower/leaf/stem extract in the moisturizer to support a healthy skin barrier, plus glycerin to moisturize the skin.
These hydrating actives make this rich cream ideal for those with dry skin looking to treat the signs of aging.
In case you were wondering…
Olay does not disclose the amount of retinol included in this or any of its retinol products.
But…looking at the ingredient list, retinol is listed as ingredient #6, and retinyl propionate is #7 out of 23 ingredients, making it on the more concentrated side for a drugstore retinol product.
I have somewhat sensitive skin, and I can’t use this for more than two nights in a row. Otherwise, my skin gets dry and irritated.
The fragrance-free moisturizer glides onto your skin like silk.
This retinol cream is very effective at smoothing fine lines and wrinkles and greatly improves skin texture while reducing the look of enlarged pores.
Olay Retinol 24 Max Night Serum
Olay Retinol 24 Max Night Serum contains the same ingredients as Olay Retinol 24 Max Night Hydrating Moisturizer to target the signs of aging.
It uses retinol, retinyl propionate, niacinamide, glycerin, Tropaeolum majus flower/leaf/stem extract, and palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 to smooth fine lines, firm and hydrate the skin, fade dark spots, minimize pores and improve skin texture.
It leaves your skin feeling silky smooth, just like the moisturizer. It’s fragrance-free, lightweight, and sinks in quickly.
NOTE: Since Olay’s Retinol 24 serum and moisturizer are so intense, it is best not to use them simultaneously.
Use Olay Retinol 24 Max Night Serum with a soothing non-retinol moisturizer. Pair Retinol 24 MAX Night Moisturizer with a hydrating and soothing non-retinol serum.
CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum
CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum is formulated with encapsulated retinol which releases slowly to minimize irritation.
It resurfaces the skin to reduce the look of acne scars (due to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), visible pores, and uneven skin tone.
The serum also contains CeraVe’s proprietary three essential ceramides to hydrate the skin and restore the skin barrier. Niacinamide and licorice root extract brighten and soothe the skin.
Sodium hyaluronate (the salt form of hyaluronic acid) is water-binding, hydrates, and plumps the skin.
The concentration of retinol is not disclosed, but retinol is listed as ingredient #19 of 33 in the serum, so retinol is not one of the most concentrated ingredients in the serum.
Yet, the serum is effective at gently refining the skin’s surface, making it ideal for beginners or those that want a mild and less irritating retinol serum.
This retinol serum is lightweight, non-greasy, and absorbs quickly, making it ideal for combination and oily skin. Acne-prone skin will appreciate the brightening ingredients that target acne marks and other discolorations.
It’s non-comedogenic, paraben-free, and fragrance-free.
Related Post: CeraVe vs Cetaphil: Which is Better?
CeraVe Retinol vs Olay Retinol: Which is Better?
Whether you choose Retinol 24 MAX serum or moisturizer, these Olay retinol products contain two different retinoids, niacinamide, and a firming peptide, to address the signs of aging.
CeraVe’s serum contains retinol and niacinamide, ceramides and sodium hyaluronate for hydration and moisture, and licorice root for brightening.
Olay Retinol 24 products seem to have a higher concentration of retinol when compared to CeraVe. I prefer the anti-aging actives in Olay’s Retinol 24 line, as palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 supports retinol’s efforts to improve collagen production.
Which serum is better will ultimately come down to your unique complexion and skin concerns. Do you need a serum to fade acne scars, or do you want a rich night cream to smooth fine lines while moisturizing your skin?
Let’s look at which products are best for different skin types.
Olay Retinol 24 vs CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum: Skin Types
- If you have normal, mature, and/or dry skin, Olay Retinol 24 Max Night Hydrating Moisturizer will moisturize your complexion and target wrinkles and fine lines while firming the skin.
- If you have combination, oily or acne-prone skin, CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum work to fade hyperpigmentation and acne scars with retinol, niacinamide, and licorice root extract.
- There is a possibility that retinol might be too strong for you if you have sensitive skin. But CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum seems to be the gentler and less irritating option when compared to Olay Retinol 24 products.
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- Olay Hyaluronic + Peptide 24 Review
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- Vanicream vs CeraVe
- Aveeno vs CeraVe
- CeraVe vs La Roche-Posay
- Byoma Skincare Review
- CeraVe Retinol Resurfacing vs Renewing Retinol Serum
- CeraVe Moisturizing Cream vs Lotion
- CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser vs Foaming Cleanser
- Best CeraVe Cleansers For Acne
Final Thoughts On Olay Retinol 24 vs CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum
Whether you choose Olay Retinol 24 MAX products or CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum, both brands’ retinol products effectively address the signs of aging at drugstore prices.
Your best bet will be to choose a retinol product based on your skin concerns and skin type.
In my experience, CeraVe retinol serums tend to be more gentle and less potent than Olay retinol products.
If you like both brands, you can even use the CeraVe retinol serum one night and the Olay retinol moisturizer the next!
For more of the best Olay anti-aging products, be sure to read my post: Best Olay Products For Your 40s And Beyond.
Thanks for reading!