Best Retinol Serums and How to Use Retinol Products Properly

Product details: Retinol Serum

Best Retinol Serums and How to Use Retinol Products Properly

    Are you looking to add Retinol to your skincare routine? It’s not as easy as you might think. Sure, you can go to your nearest drugstore and purchase any product with retinol in the name, but there can be long-term consequences. Keep reading to learn more about tips when trying to decide what retinol product to purchase and how to apply the product. 

    The biggest danger of using Retinol products is that they experience multiple side effects. 

    According to The Skin Spot, Side Effects of Retinol Include: 

    • Redness 

    • Irritation

    • Burning 

    • Itching

    • Dry Skin

    • Flaking and peeling of the skin 

    • Increased sensitivity to the sun 

    • Skin cancer 

    No matter whether you have sensitive skin or not, the most common side effect is redness and irritation. The reason a lot of people experience this type of reaction is that they might not pay attention to the retinol concentration in the skincare product they purchased. In order to avoid this irritation, it’s best to start off using a product with a low retinol concentration and slowly raise the concentration so that skin gets used to the product. Furthermore, it's best to only use retinol products a few days a week instead of every day, especially when you first incorporate this ingredient into your skincare routine. Another reason people experience redness and irritation is that they’re not wearing sunscreen. The use of retinol on the skin makes it more sensitive to the sun, so sunburns are more likely. 


    Retinols help quicken or main the pace of cell division. As we age, the decreased speed of cellular division is what causes our skin to look wrinkly, have more sun sports, and in general be more prone to skin damage. The use of retinol, as I mentioned, helped speed up or maintain the rate of cellular division. According to Hanae Armitage, a medical researcher at Stanford, Retinol also increases the production of hyaluronic acid and other chemicals which help the skin look plump. These benefits are particularly helpful for people looking for skincare products with anti-aging benefits. However, there are also benefits for people with acne-prone skin because the use of retinoids helps block the production of chemicals that increase the likelihood of pimples. 


    I haven’t incorporated a retinol product into my skincare routine, but I am on the hunt and doing research. I know that I want my skincare product with retinol to be part of my nighttime routine. Even though I wear sunscreen every day (read all about my favorite sunscreen here), this way I won’t be worried that my skin might react poorly to the combination of retinol and sun when I go out. In my research, I also found that retinol is most effective in serum because it penetrates the skin barrier more quickly. However, the concentration is higher. For beginners, it’s best to start with a cream. Once you transition to using serums, make sure it has hydrating active ingredients, and remember to apply moisturizer and sunscreen to prevent the side effects. 

    Using these points as guidelines, I curated a list of products that I want to try below: 


    Since this will be my first time ever trying retinol products, I want to try something affordable. I recently found out that L’Oreal actually owns several luxury skincare brands, and for some products, the only difference is the packaging, so I will be sticking to drugstore brands for now. 

    Ponds Rejuveness Advanced Hydrating Night Cream. Buy here for $7.99

    This was one of the few drugstore moisturizers with retinol that I found. Many other brands seem to only provide serums. From the reviews on the Pond website, most users seemed pleased with the results. Only a few complained about the smell and some experienced a reaction. 

    The Ordinary Retinol in Squalane. Buy here for $5.80 

    Honest Beauty Honestly Pure Retinol Serum. Buy here for $28.00 

    For these other two products, the reviews were mainly positive. The only thing bringing down the rating seemed to be that the products caused too much dryness or some experienced rashes, but I think we can attribute this to improper use or that the rest of their skincare routine did not provide enough hydration and protection from the retinol side effects. 

    I really like the Youtube Channels Mixed Makeup and Beauty Within. They provide very informative skincare videos of all sorts and skincare product combinations. Definitely check out the two videos below for even more information.  




    If you have tried the products I listed above, let me know what you think. If you are simply on the hunt for a good product, I hope the information and lists I provided helped you in the research process. Want to learn about even more retinol products? Check out this review by another community member. 

    Thanks for reading! 

    • Rate article:
    • Martina F Martina F :

      Great! thanks for the good advices! I'm thinking to try the ordinary Retinol in Squalane!   

      3 years ago 
    • Julia M Julia M :

      Thank you for this informative post, Rosalia!  I've used Retinol before but had no idea it can cause skin cancer! I just used one bottle, ordered it from iHerb. The results were amazing, I loved it with my acne. Yet, my beautician told me I should not use it too often while I am young.

      3 years ago 
    • Kashish P Kashish P :

      I have wondered how is Honest Beauty as brand, have you used any other products by them?

      3 years ago 
    • Tiara M Tiara M :

      Wow I use a retinol serum everyday and was not aware it could possibly cause skin cancer! However it has helped me with my acne so I am conflicted now as to how often I should use the product. Thank you for including the side effects

      3 years ago 
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