Disclaimer: I am by no means a skincare expert, just a skincare enthusiast.
Retinol has recently become the comeback active ingredient in the skincare trend, and as of recent, became my all time favorite product in my regimen.
For those familiar with skincare, you know Retinol isn’t new, but rather an old ingredient proven to help improve skin elasticity. It is the infamous active ingredient known to help anti-aging and decrease fine lines and wrinkles. However, because it is so potent, people are wary of trying it out. Therefore, I tried it out for you. Reviewing two different retinol products, each for a month independently, in order to be assured if it’s effects, before deciding if adding retinol into my skincare routine would be permanent; but remember, results may vary.
But before I get into my experience, let’s talk retinol.
What is Retinol?
If you’re into skincare ingredients like me, chances are you have probably heard of retinol. Dermatologists have deemed it the “wonder product” that helps in anti-aging. Retinol is a form derivative of vitamin A, which can be found in common foods such as eggs and milk, naturally. Known for its ability to help to stimulate collagen, there are a lot more properties to it – such as exfoliating, evening the skin tone, as well as also preventing sun damage in the long run. Because of the appealing effects, I decided to include retinol into my routine. (Side note: If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or allergic, it is advised to not use retinol.)
How should I incorporate Retinol into my skincare routine?
Since I have never used retinol skincare before, I started off with light retinol and slowly incorporated it into my skincare. I tried two products: The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalene and Verso Facial Super Serum. It is recommended to use in your 20s, but if you have stronger acne, it is okay to start young.
My nighttime routine consists of double cleansing, essence, treatment, mask, and moisturizer. Retinol is used during the treatment step of my nighttime routine. I do want to mention that I do have combination skin, oily, sensitive, with hints of rosacea so results may vary depending on your skin type.
Both products have been included in my nighttime routine for my skin to absorb completely without much activity.
For the first month, I tried The Ordinary’s Retinol 0.2% in Squalene as my introduction to retinol. The instructions say to apply a small amount onto my hand and slather over my face. I used it twice a week at night, because it will definitely break your skin if it’s used too often, so please be mindful of that.
My first impression was that the scent wasn’t as strong as I thought it would be, which I love. It is liquid rather than cream texture and a few drops goes a long way. For the first week, my skin did break out and it had irritated my skin. Although it can be discouraging, it is normal to break out when just starting, so I have not given up yet. When the second week came, I felt my skin become a little tighter than usual and the elasticity definitely has improved, and did not irritate my skin as much as it had the first week. My skin does seem to like it and got used to it pretty quickly. In the last week, my break-outs slowly cleared up, and did not irritate my skin.
For the second month, I switched over to the Verso Super Facial Serum and surprisingly a great over the counter product. This product has its own Retinol 8 which is a good proprietary derivative of vitamin A, essentially it is Verso’s own form of Retinol. Unlike the Ordinary’s, this serum is creamy and gives me enough moisture that I need. The instructions didn’t really say how many times I should use in a week, so I used it twice a week same as The Ordinary’s. For the first week, nothing much really happened and it just seemed like more of a moisturizer. When the second week came, I did see my skin become more “chok-chok” which is a korean skincare term I learned to describe the skin texture to be more bouncy – definitely an effect I was trying to achieve when going into the Retinol game. I did, however, have a few more breakouts during my last week, and now am trying to recover from it.
Honestly, it was scary for me to jump into the game since I was already so comfortable with the routine I had. But knowing that I am getting older, I still want my skin to look like I’m young. For those who are scared to join the retinol game, I would definitely recommend to try retinol alternatives such as the Verso Super Facial Serum. It’s strong, yet moisturizing enough to incorporate into your routine. But for those who are looking to use Retinol in your skincare continuously, getting used to The Ordinary’s Retinol 0.2% in Squalene is the best start to your retinol game.