Retrinal Cream 0.1
1 fl. oz. for $69
Last Updated:12.31.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This product is nearly identical to Avene’s other Retrinal Creams except for a different concentration of "retinal" as indicated on their ingredient label—and you’re not getting very much of it (or other intriguing anti-aging ingredients) for your money!

Also known as retinaldehyde, retinal is similar to retinol. Retinaldehyde is a worthwhile ingredient for skin, as it can reportedly be better utilized by skin than retinol because it takes less steps in the conversion process for it to become the active form of vitamin A after it is absorbed. Retinaldehyde is also supposedly better tolerated than retinol though there is limited information on that.

However, all forms of vitamin A can cause undesirable side effects such as flaking and dryness (Source: Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2006, pages 289–296).  How much retinol or retinal is needed for skin isn't firmly established, but generally amounts from 0.1–1% are considered effective. Higher percentages can cause unwanted side effects for some people but too little retinol and it’s questionable whether or not it’s effective, which we suspect is the case here.

Other than the retinaldehyde, this is a very standard, unimpressive moisturizer for normal to dry skin. It is worth considering if you are looking for a vitamin A product for your skin, just keep in mind the skin needs more than one ingredient to be healthy and function like younger skin. It is just like your diet: No matter how healthy green tea is, if that was all you drank you would be malnourished. Yes, this contains a tiny amount of peptides and a couple of antioxidants, but for the money we’re skeptical you’re getting what you should be.


A clinically proven intensive care visibly reduces the signs of aging with little to no irritation. Formulation is supported by 3 patents with Retinaldehyde, a direct precursor to Retinoic Acid, and RelastideTM, a pro-elastin peptide, and Pre-Tocopheryl, a photostable precursor to vitamin E for maximum efficacy.


Water (Avene Thermal Spring Water), Triethylhexanoin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclohexasiloxane, Ceteareth-20, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Ceteareth-33, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ammonium Acryloyl Dimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Benzoic Acid, BHT, Caramel, Disodium EDTA, Mica, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Oleoyl Dipeptide-15, Oleoyl Tetrapeptide-31, Phenoxyethanol, Red 33, Retinal, Silica, Sodium Hydroxide, Titanium Dioxide, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Glucoside.

Brand Overview

Eau Thermale Avene At-a-Glance

Strengths: Some excellent cleansers; well-formulated sunscreens; moisturizers that help to treat very dry, fragile skin; praiseworthy lip balms.

Weaknesses: Can be on the pricey side.

Eau Thermale Avene’s most prominent claim to fame is the thermal spring water in its products, which the brand maintains is curative due to both historical and scientific evidence. Unfortunately, there isn’t much evidence that we could locate that was in the form of published, peer-reviewed research. Without the research, thermal water is ultimately more about marketing than fact—however, the good news is whatever the factualness of their claims about the ingredient, at least thermal water isn’t going to harm your skin in any way.

Thermal water aside, what is clear is that Avene’s goal is to provide formulas for those who battle sensitive skin concerns. With that in mind, we can say there are quite a few successes among the brand’s range of offerings. There are also a few products we saw as missteps for reasons noted in their respective reviews.

Overall, Eau Thermale Avene’s more praiseworthy qualities is the range of options provided for those that have exceptionally sensitive skin, i.e. who may have been unable to tolerate more advanced anti-aging formulas. While we would have liked to see more in the way of complexity of anti-aging formulas from Avene (and fewer claims about thermal water), the particular direction the brand takes towards skincare is one that has its audience.

For more information about Eau Thermale Avene, call (866) 412-8363 or visit www.aveneusa.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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