Here Are Our Most Recommended Retinols For Beginners

Since the inception of our podcast, Beauty IQ Uncensored (shameless plug, you should go listen to it), one of the most popular questions I get asked is "which retinol should I buy?"

My answer differs on where that person is on their skincare journey. If they've been using cosmeceutical grade serums for 5 years and have regular chemical peels, I'm likely going to recommend quite a strong formula. But for those just embarking on their first foray into the skincare world, I prefer to recommend a beginner's dose just to be safe.

What Is Retinol?

A derivative of Vitamin A, "retinol" comes in a few different forms, ranging from Retinyl Palmitate (the weakest version of topical application) to Retin-A, the strongest form that’s usually only available via prescription. Other ingredients you might see on a label are retinoic acid, retinoid, retinaldehyde, beta carotene (a precursor of vitamin A), or a natural derivative, rosehip oil.

This ingredient works to improve the appearance of the skin by increasing cell turnover and stimulating collagen production. This can result in a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, an improvement in pigmentation and uneven skin tone, and a reduction in congestion and acne-related concerns including scarring.

You can learn more about Vitamin A on Episode 2 of Beauty IQ Uncensored with Daniel Isaacs:

How Do You Use Retinol In Your Skincare Routine?

It's crucial to slowly introduce this ingredient in your routine, as it can cause irritation (which many confuse for an allergic response). Using your retinol-based product once a week for the first few weeks, and building up your usage to increase your skin's tolerance is important.

Your Vitamin A product should be used in your PM routine (use the layering rule of lightest to heaviest to work out where it fits in), and always wear an SPF50 sunscreen during the day, as this ingredient can increase the skin's sensitivity to sun exposure.

I recommend starting on a low strength formula, and advancing to stronger formulas as you go. On that note, our customer service team answer this question all the time too - which retinols do we recommend for beginner's?

Rich in proven fine-line fighters and cell-turnover stimulators, this serum helps minimise the signs of ageing. The formula helps to bring new cells up to the surface and protects skin from environmental damage with antioxidants. With Vitamin E and Peptides in the formulation as well, this serum will leave your skin visibly smoother and firmer. It's vegan friendly, and suitable for all skin types.

An ideal first step to introducing vitamin A into your skincare routine, this antioxidant serum renews skin, exfoliates and hydrates to prevent the signs of ageing. It's a great option for skin showing lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone and acne prone skin types. Achieve smoother, softer skin by supporting the natural renewal process of the skin - you should notice results within 3 months.

This serum, which also features Vitamin E, delivers retinol gradually throughout the night preventing irritation while ensuring maximum efficacy. The formula is designed to fight the visible signs of ageing, decongest pores and balance sebum production, and promote a clearer complexion. It complements your skin's regenerative cycle in a fast-absorbing texture, leaving your skin feeling soft and supple.

This powerful, yet gentle serum contains three types of Retinol: a fast-acting Retinoid to encourage cell turnover, a time-released Retinol to gradually deliver retinol and ceramides to prevent dry skin and reduce possible irritation, and a Retinol booster to increase efficacy. It helps to tackle fine lines and wrinkles, improve texture and tone, and promote radiance and firmness. It has a lightweight gel-cream texture which melts nicely into the skin.