What is retinol?
Retinol is a topical derivative of vitamin A that exfoliates the skin, regenerates cell production, and boosts collagen over a matter of hours. Boasting both anti-ageing and acne-reducing superpowers, this multi-tasking saviour will also help your skin to better absorb any other products you apply afterwards (meaning more bang for your buck with follow-up serums, night creams or overnight masks). Nice one, retinol.
Why should I use it?
If tackling acne and scarring is high on your skincare agenda, retinol speeds up cell turnover in order to help heal the skin, while exfoliating the outer layers, preventing pores from clogging and reducing breakouts. Anti-ageing more of an issue? Retinol helps with that, too – it stimulates collagen and blood vessel production, helping to reduce fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation spots.
How do I use it?
As sunlight is to retinol what kryptonite is to Superman, retinol should only be used during your night-time routine, a couple of times a week (increasing to every other day, if needed, once acclimatised). Start by applying a pea-size amount all over the face, followed by a nourishing moisturiser. Lastly, remember to use an SPF come morning as retinol can harshen the impact of UV on your skin. The effects of retinol build over time and take roughly three months to work, so keep the faith if you don’t notice results straight away.
While the powers of retinol are undeniable, if you’ve got a sensitive skin type, keep an eye out for any irritation. While some dryness and/or redness is normal initially, if this persists and causes discomfort then it might not be for you. Plus, be careful when layering up skincare – never use a retinol in combination with other exfoliants like glycolic acid.
The Ordinary's 1% retinol in Squalane is a water-free solution which contains 1% pure Retinol, an ingredient that can reduce the appearances of fine lines, of photo damage and of general skin aging. While Retinol has been studied extensively, it is irritating to the skin and newer technologies exist that mimic the visible effects of Retinol without causing skin irritation. For this reason, we generally recommend using Granactive Retinoid 2% or Granactive Retinoid 5% instead of this formula.
The Ordinary’s portfolio of retinoids includes the following formulations:
- Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane (Moderate Strength, No Irritation)
- Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane (High Strength, No to Low Irritation)
- Retinol 0.2% in Squalane (Low Strength, Moderate Irritation)
- Retinol 0.5% in Squalane (Moderate Strength, High Irritation)
- Retinol 1% in Squalane (High Strength, Very High Irritation)
Caution: Retinol can cause significant irritation, redness and peeling, especially around the eyes and mouth, in the early stages of treatment while skin builds tolerance. If you have not used high-strength retinol formulas in the past, we strongly recommend that you start your retinol regimen with our Retinol 0.2% in Squalane and adjust to higher strengths of Retinol 0.5% in Squalane and Retinol 1% in Squalane as your skin builds tolerance. You will achieve the same end results without the unpleasant redness and peeling along the way.
Note: Water can affect the stability of retinol. Additionally, plant oils in retinol formulations can trigger lipid peroxidation and can impair retinol integrity. This formula does not contain water, silicones, plant oils or alcohol.
Caution: Retinoids can make the skin more sensitive to UV radiation. Sun protection is particularly important when using retinoids. This product must not be used in conjunction with other retinoids including retinol or retinoic acid. This product is not a treatment for acne. Acne-prone skin may experience a temporary increase in acne during the first few weeks of using any form of retinoid including those used in this formulation.
Note: When pregnant or breastfeeding, it is recommended to avoid any skincare products containing retinoids such as formulations with Granactive Retinoid or Retinol.
Apply a small amount to face in the PM as part of your skincare regimen, after water serums but before heavier treatments. Do not use with other retinoid treatments. Avoid unprotected solar exposure. Store in a cool, dry place.
Squalane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Retinol, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, BHT.
Our formulations are updated from time to time as part of our commitment to innovation. As such, the ingredient list shown here may vary from the box of the product depending on time and region of purchase.