Retinol: The Ultimate Anti-Ageing Skincare Ingredient

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Many skin experts call retinol the gold standard of anti-ageing, due to its ability to work deeply within the skin to stimulate collagen production, smooth skin texture and even out skintone.

I totally agree – I’ve regularly used some kind of retinol-based treatment since turning 30, and it’s the most effective thing I’ve found for keeping my lines and pores in check.

Retinol is a retinoid, the category of vitamin A derivatives found in over-the-counter skincare. You might have also heard of pro-retinols – say, retinyl palmitate and retinyl linoleate (I get confused too, bear with me …), but these are weaker forms of the vitamin. Retinol, on the other hand, converts straight into retinoic acid in the skin – and it’s at this stage that vitamin A really gets to work its de-ageing wonders.

You can actually buy products made with retinoic acid, but only in prescription form (think Retin-A) – it’s the most effective form of vitamin A skincare by far, but on the flipside, its potency can inflame and redden many skins.

Retinol is, therefore, the best option for most women (except when pregnant, a time when all skincare should be simplified) – especially as the latest retinol-based anti-ageing buys are gentler to use than ever. Unlike some old-school retinol buys, which tended to be a tad irritating for some skins, these new-gens can be easily used on a daily basis – and can also be applied in the morning before sun exposure (followed by your usual liberal dose of sunscreen, of course).

Read on to find out more about some of the latest and greatest retinol buys …

PS – just be patient, as it might take up to three months to start seeing serious results.

Verso Skincare


This well-edited range of products – in ultra-cool packaging – makes using retinol as easy as could be. It’s based on a new vitamin A derivative known as Retinol 8, a stabilised form that boasts eight times the oomph of regular retinol. This has allowed Verso to use less active ingredient to achieve the same results, which means it’s a particularly great option for sensitive skins – especially the Night Cream, which also contains oat extract for soothing results.

StriVectin-AR Advanced Retinol Eye Treatment


There are several products in StriVectin’s retinol range, but this is a great place to start, seeing as the eye area is usually the first to show signs of ageing – and there aren’t many retinol-powered eye creams out there. Which is crazy, as retinol not only helps smooth out those pesky crow’s feet, but also thicken up skin so that dark circles seem less so. As well as boasting retinol and retinyl palmitate, this particular formulation also contains ingredients that focus further on eliminating the dark pigments that might cause shadows, and that both hydrate and calm the delicate skin here.

La Roche-Posay Redermic [R]



This treatment concentrate was especially formulated for sensitive skins; as well as retinol and retinol linoleate, it features LHA, a hydroxy acid derived from salicylic acid that gently exfoliates skin so as to allow for better absorption of the active anti-ageing ingredients. Clever.

Indeed Laboratories Retinol Reface


This cream packages up retinol in plant-based micro-spheres; as a result, the skin is treated to a slow-release hit of the anti-ageing ingredient. It also contains peptides for an extra skin-plumping boost.

Written by Katrina Lawrence

Katrina Lawrence has specialized in beauty journalism for more than 15 years. After starting her career as the beauty and lifestyle editor of Cleo magazine, she then went on to help launch SHOP Til You Drop magazine, where she held he reins as deputy editor/beauty director for several years. Next came a freelance role, based in both New York and Sydney and writing for titles including madison, Harper’s BAZAAR, Cosmopolitan and Sunday Life. She has also run her own beauty information site, and most recently was editor of premium Australian online beauty magazine. Katrina is one of Australia’s most awarded beauty writers, having won over ten industry awards.
Contact: [email protected]


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