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Retinol Serum: Is It Good or Bad For the Skin

Retinol is a word that comes up a lot when we talk about skincare, it’s on moisturizer labels, concentrated serums, mentioned by your dermatologist, aesthetician, and maybe even your favorite influencers. We’re pretty familiar with the word, but what is it really?

Well, retinol is a synthetic form of Vitamin A that helps reduce fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and other signs of aging. It works by promoting healthy cell turnover that refines skin texture, boosts radiance, and targets other skin aging concerns.

Don’t confuse retinol with retinoids, though. While both retinol and retinoids are Vitamin A derivatives that get turned into retinoic acid, ‘retinoids’ is the umbrella term for prescription retinoids and over-the-counter retinols. Retinols will have smaller concentrations of the active retinoic acid, while prescription retinoids will have much higher concentrations of the active ingredient. Retinols work more gradually than retinoids because of their molecular structure, so the skin absorbs it differently resulting in effects becoming more evident after a longer period of time.

If you’re excited about getting into the retinol game, that’s great! The best time to start using retinol is in your mid-20s. Whether your skin can handle any ingredient under the sun or is as sensitive as a baby’s bum, there is a retinol serum out there for you, and you should try to find it. Retinol serums get ahead of skin aging and help you achieve the flawless skin of your dreams. But you can’t just douse your face in a retinol serum and think you’ll be good to go, like most skincare products, retinol is a time investment, and it takes effect over a long period of time so you have to be patient.

How do you use retinol?

You should use it only at night, on a clean, dry face after toner (if  you use one). Only at night because daylight deactivates the retinoic acid. Retinols can cause ‘retinization’, which is redness, flaking skin, and dryness - at least when you first start. Gradually increase the frequency of retinol application every two weeks. Start with a day a week, then eventually two or three, always making sure that your skin isn’t reacting negatively to the frequency of exposure to the active ingredients. Adjusting your skin care routine by using a gentle cleanser, and a good moisturizer, always making sure that your skin is getting better instead of getting worse. Avoiding using AHAs alongside your retinol is the best course of action since using them together could cause irritation. So although it is a tricky product, retinol is not just good for the skin, it’s great.

Retinol side effects?

Unfortunately, Retinol does come with some side effects, but these can be reduced by choosing the right formula and product for your skin type and applying it properly. You can start by slowly applying retinol on your skin, and build it up slowly as your skin becomes more tolerant  to the effects of retinol. You can steadily increase the dosage of retinol on your skin when you see there is less irritation when applying the serum. Always remember to apply sunscreen daily, since retinol can cause redness and peeling on your skin. 

Now you know what a retinol is when to start using it, and how to incorporate it in your skincare routine, the next question you may have is: what retinol serum should I use? We’ve mentioned that retinol is tricky, so it will be a trial and error process, but here are our top picks so you don’t just pull a random retinol serum off the shelf.

Here is the list of retinol serums that we actually use

Retinol Instant Radiance Booster


Retinol Serum - Instant Radiance Booster


Retinol Instant Radiance Booster is a great introduction to retin. It treats your skin with a burst of hydration, instantly adding a natural, luminous glow. This Anti-Aging Primer delivers the skin-smoothing benefits of Retinol Vitamin A, while Peptides help improve the look of firmness and tone. Use it alone for an all-over radiant finish or under makeup as an instant glow primer. Experience a more hydrated, glowing and beautiful look – instantly.

Patchology's Restoring Night Cloud Masque

Retinol Serum - Patchology Restoring Night Cold Masque

Patchology’s Restoring Night Cloud Masque is giving you another reason to love sleep even more.This weightless, whipped sleeping mask restores moisture and skin's youthful appearance while you snooze, so you wake up refreshed and ready to face the day. It contains super-moisturizing hyaluronic acid, anti-aging Retinol and Peptides, and 17 skin-conditioning plant extracts which sinks overnight. Are you ready for your dream skin? This would be the best choice for you.

Skincare Cosmetics' Men's Anti-Wrinkle Facial Serum

Retinol Serum for men

If you don’t want to mess around that isn’t specially formulated for men’s skin, there is a male-specific formula. Skincare Cosmetics’ Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Facial Serum still gives you all the benefits of other retinol serum while catering to the different pH levels of men’s skin. Bonus is that it helps soothe razor burns when applied after shaving.

Advanced Renewal Serum

Advanced Renewal Retinol Serum

The Advanced Renewal Serum by Retinol is a potent, yet gentle, serum that quickly and visibly helps minimize lines and deep wrinkles, firm and even skin tone, and boost radiance for more vibrant, youthful-looking skin. It contains Retinyl Palmitate, a Vitamin A Palmitate, which helps reduce appearance of lines, tone and tighten the skin leaving you a bright and renewed complexion.

6X Super Retinol Serum

6X Super Retinol Serum

If you want to achieve optimal anti-aging effectiveness, the 6X Super Serum is the one you are looking for. It will immediately restore the look of smooth, beautiful, and glowing skin with 3 Million I.U.’s of Retinyl Palmitate. This unique night-time accelerator encourages your skin’s renewal process while you sleep. It lifts and firms as it targets lines, wrinkles, dark spots, pores and blemishes. Along with the retinol, it also contains sodium hyaluronate, vitamin E, and almond oil which furthermore helps increase the effectiveness of anti-aging on your skin. You can start by adding a few drops 3 to 4 nights per week and gradually increase to nightly usage.

Advanced Brightening Serum

Advanced Brightening Retinol Serum

The Advanced Brightening Serum from Retinol is a weightless, fast absorbing serum, formulated with the highest potency of brightening ingredients. Not only does it contain retinol, but It also revitalizes, brightens, and smoothes the skin with Vitamin C. It also contains ingredients that helps your skin cope with the retinol such as Melavoid™, Licorice Root Extract, Willow Bark Extract, Turmeric Root Extract, Green Tea Extract and Aloe Vera.

Anti Wrinkle Treatment Vitamin A Eye Gel

Retinol Serum - Anti Wrinkle Treatment Vitamin A Eye Gel

Unlike other retinol serums, The Anti Wrinkle Treatment Vitamin A Eye Gel by Retinol is designed to reduce visible signs of aging around the delicate eye area. This effective eye gel will help minimize the appearance of puffiness and dark circles, while restoring tone and elasticity. Formulated without fragrance for use on even the most sensitive skin which contains Vitamins A, C, E, and glycerin. It also contains environmental friendly micro-beads which further helps revitalize the skin.

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