While most skincare enthusiasts and aficionados are no stranger to Retinol, only some of them truly understand its prowess and what it does.

In a nutshell, Retinol is an over-the-counter formulation of Vitamin A that helps combat ageing and acne when applied to the skin. Simultaneously, it stimulates collagen production and refines the skin’s texture. Some have also noted its ability to regulate oily skin, reduce spots and tighten pores. It’s essentially the sovereign of age-defying products.

However, since Retinol seems to have quite the power, it can also cause irritation when incorporated into a skincare routine too quickly. Rash, dryness and other skin conundrums may arise. That said, we suggest avoiding these vexing complications by slowly integrating Retinol into a day/night routine, starting with one to two times per week, gradually increasing the frequency if it doesn’t aggravate the skin.

In a bid to help kickstart your skincare journey, we’ve curated four efficacious Retinol products. Though most of these serums have been clinically demonstrated to minimise discomforting effects, avoiding other potent formulations and products such as Vitamin C and Niacinamide could further abate the complications.


Paulaʼs Choice Retinol Booster

Paulaʼs Choice has been touted as a skincare brand that does it all without compromising affordability. One of our favourite products by the USA-founded brand, the Paulaʼs Choice 1% Retinol Booster is a concentrated, pure form of retinol in a slow-release delivery system with a light fluid lotion texture. It also includes a superior assortment of potent antioxidants to help produce the most beautiful appearance for your skin imaginable.

Fragrance-free, clinically proven to be non-irritating, and never tested on animals, this Retinol serum can help to quickly bring about a more clarified, vibrant, younger-looking skin, complete with visible refinement of the look of pores, uneven skin tone, and even deep wrinkles. As it sees a potent formulation, we recommend pairing it only with gentle moisturisers and serums.

Available at paulaschoice.sg


Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum

Retinol is often touted and highly regarded by dermatologists as a miracle product. Its unique and clinically proven abilities such as visibly reducing wrinkles, increasing surface skin renewal, and restoring skin density and firmness, have earned them the best antiageing product title. Last September, Kiehlʼs unveiled its first iteration of the superb product dubbed Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum. With its innate prowess melded with Kiehlʼs breakthrough approach to Retinol, the serum is almost like a laser skin-resurfacing treatment, but minus the exorbitant price tag and pain.

While the American skincare brand formulated the product for daily use, we would recommend only using it on alternate nights for a start. Mixing the product with your moisturiser could also be a good way to incorporate the potent serum into your skincare regime.

Available at Kiehl’s


Like the other iterations, the Advanced Retinol+Ferulic Texture Renewal Serum promises to reduce the look of blemishes and visibly smooth fine lines for a clear, even complexion. What makes it different from the others is the Rhyto-Retinol blend and amalgamation of efficacious ingredients such as retinol, bakuchiol, rambutan, and ferulic acid. Working synergistically, these ingredients help build skin proteins, fade dark spots, increase radiance, and prevent UV-induced free radical damage.

While it also sees powerful hydrators squalene and hyaluronic acid, this Dr Dennis Gross Retinol can be a tad drying. Itʼs imperative to keep your skin well moisturised to reap the full benefits of this serum. We suggest massaging 8-10 drops into clean, dry skin before slapping on your moisturisers.

Available at Sephora


Combining vegan retinol, virgin marula oil and ceramides, this skin-smoothing treatment comes with sundry benefits. It can refine skinʼs texture and minimise the appearance of lines, hyperpigmentation, blemishes and sun damage while locking in moisture and restoring a healthy glow.

While the gentle dose of retinol clarifies and refines the skin, the ceramides repair the skin barrier and improve elasticity. On the other hand, antioxidant- and omega-rich virgin marula oil replenishes essential moisture and reduces the appearance of redness, bringing skin back to its healthiest, most youthful state.

Designed for both new and experienced retinol users, A-Gloei is suitable for morning and night. Drunk Elephant encourages the latter to pair it with its C-Firma for greater brightening and firming benefits. However, we would advise against it for those with highly sensitive skin and new users.

Available at Sephora

(Images: respective brands; main and featured image: Christin Hume/ Unsplash)

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