While it's true there is no magic bullet when it comes to perfecting skin, one ingredient comes pretty close—retinol. Whether adversity to pain or emptying your bank account has you avoiding needles, lasers, and other in-office treatments, or you need something to enhance said derm procedures, this vitamin A derivative will be your jam. Prescription retin-A and tretinoin and over the counter retinols increase skin cell turnover and stimulate collagen synthesis, with consistent use of a topical retinol or retin-A you can see improvement of fine lines, dark spots, texture, and tone. While an OTC retinol (0.5%-2% concentration) isn't quite as effective or speedy as prescription-strength, it's less likely to cause irritation, redness, and peeling so better for anyone with sensitive or drier skin.

No wonder Retinol has gotten a good deal of attention in the world of skin care, and one of the most well-researched skin-care ingredients! So many benefits!

So what’s Retinol?  It’s the number one dermatologist- recommended cosmetic anti-aging ingredient. It’s another name for Vitamin A, retinol is an extremely effective cell-communicating ingredient, which means it can literally connect to almost any skin cell and tell it to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell. But it’s also an antioxidant, and thus can interrupt the free-radical damage process that causes skin to look and act older. This action helps prevent wrinkling and increases collagen production. Retinol is effective at managing acne and eczema, as well as improving discolourations and wrinkles from sun damage. All of these benefits are why retinol helps your skin look and act younger! In total, retinol can help more than 100 skin issues. It is a true superstar for your skin!

As there are many retinol variations, it is important to make sure that your expectations are aligned with what the product is designed to do. The best retinol cream for you will depend on your skin concerns. When you're searching for the right retinol cream, its important to identify what you expect to achieve . Are you concerned about lines and wrinkles? Have you spent too much time in the sun and suffering from pigmentation? Or, are you concerned about acne?

Retinol creams can be very effective at treating the visible signs of premature aging, such as fine lines, age spots and other types of pigmentation. However, it is usually a combination of ingredients that makes the product effective. Unfortunately, prescription retinol products merely contain retinol. This is why dermatologists usually recommend using a number of products. For example, if you are concerned with uneven skin tone, your dermatologist would usually prescribe both Hydroquinone and Retin A. Keep in mind that using sunscreen daily is a must when using retinol based products. Many eye creams contain retinol, however, I recommend avoiding eye creams with retinol as it is known to thin the skin.

So let me tell you about this Retinol Treatment from Paula’s Choice.

“Recapture youthful looking skin with Paula's Choice CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment, an anti-ageing formula that works to firm the skin and improve several signs of ageing.”


Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment—A powerhouse dose of 1% retinol combined with vitamin C, peptides, antioxidants, and plant-based anti-irritants. The Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment has a creamy lotion texture that is most ideal for normal to dry skin. It’s an intensive high-percentage retinol treatment that a consistent retinol user looking for powerful results will love. It’s best to slowly add this to your routine – no more than a pea-sized amount up to 3 times per week to start – and adjust based on your individual experience. This sheer lotion formula tackles your toughest aging concerns. In fact, 1% retinol is essentially equivalent to a prescription retinoid product that contains 0.02% tretinoin. Tretinoin is the most potent form of retinoid. (Retinoid is the name for all forms of vitamin A.) Fortified with 1% retinol and a blend of beneficial antioxidants, the treatment gets to work on ageing skin, absorbing quickly to instantly refine enlarged pores, smooth out deep wrinkles and fine lines, and eliminate brown spots. Its advanced, lightweight formula improves skin elasticity and helps correct pigmentation from old blemishes, whilst added liquorice and oat extract minimise irritation that some people experience with retinol-infused products. After use, skin will feel refined, radiant and younger looking. 

Again, suitable for all skin types. Non-irritating and 100% fragrance free. No added dyes. Not tested on animals.

Ingredients: Aqua, Dimethicone (silicone slip agent), Glycerin (skin-repairing ingredient), Butylene Glycol (slip agent/penetration enhancer), Isononyl Isononanoate (emollient), Castor Isostearate Succinate (skin conditioning agent), Glyceryl Stearate (emulsifier), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (thickener), Dimethicone Crosspolymer (silicone thickener/texture enhancer), PEG-33 (binding agent), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), Behenyl Alcohol (fatty alcohol thickener), Retinol (cell-communicating ingredient), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Ceramide NS (skin-repairing ingredient), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 (cell-communicating ingredient), Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (cell-communicating ingredient), Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 (cell-communicating ingredient), (skin-repairing ingredient), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Salix Alba (Willow) Root Extract (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols (antioxidants/skin-conditioning agent), Lecithin (cell-communicating ingredient), Allantoin (anti-irritant), Tocopherol Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Hydrolized Soy Protein (antioxidant), Sorbitan Laurate (emulsifier), Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester (anti-irritant), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Hydroxyethylcellulose (thickener), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Tribehenin (emollient), Caprylyl Glycol (skin-conditioning agent), Ethylhexylglycerin (skin conditioning agent), Pentylene Glycol (slip agent), PEG-100 Stearate (thickener), PEG-75 Shea Butter Glycerides (emollient), PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer (film-forming agent), PEG-10 Phytosterol (fatty acid-based thickener), PEG-8 Dimethicone (silicon-based skin-conditioning agent), PEG-14 (thickener), Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate (binding agent), Polymethylsilsesquioxane (silicone-based opacyfying agent), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate (slip agent), Arachidyl Glycoside (emulsifier), Sclerotium Gum (thickener), Arachidyl Alcohol (thickener), Benzoic Acid (preservative), Carbomer (gel based thickener), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).



Those looking for a more potent product designed to preserve young skin and repair more advanced signs of ageing, including: deep wrinkles, fine lines, and brown spots. In addition, Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment will help prevent blemishes and correct red marks from past breakouts.This formula is suitable for all skin types, and is especially ideal for normal to dry skin.

Helpful details about the product from the website:

Is Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment suitable for sensitive skin?
Yes, although of course it always depends on how skin reacts. Our fragrance-free formula contains several anti-irritants designed to minimise any discomfort those with sensitive skin may experience from using a stronger retinol treatment; however, if skin is very sensitive it’s best to apply this treatment less often, perhaps twice per week rather than every night.

Is Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment suitable for rosacea-affected skin?
Yes, although of course it always depends on how skin reacts. There’s research showing retinol can help reduce the inflammation that’s an underlying factor in rosacea.

Can I use Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment if I have oily skin and breakouts?
Yes; in fact, the amount of retinol is akin to prescription-strength retinoids which are often prescribed by dermatologists to manage all types of acne. The silky-smooth finish won’t make oily skin look or feel greasy.



This nighttime treatment is best applied after cleansing and toning. If you use an AHA or BHA exfoliant, apply that first, then follow with Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment, followed by your serum and nighttime moisturiser.
If you are planning to use Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment with a prescription retinoid, apply the prescription retinoid after cleansing, toning, and exfoliating. Follow with Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment and the rest of your skincare routine. Note that combining this product with a prescription retinoid increases the risk of side effects such as dryness, flaking, and sensitivity.

If you are just starting to use a retinol treatment, start slowly. Instead of daily application, apply your retinol product every other day and/or mix it with your usual moisturiser or facial oil to buffer the irritation (redness, flaking, etc.). This lets your skin gradually acclimate to the more potent level of retinol. Make sure the rest of your skincare routine is soothing and irritant-free. Use a gentle cleanser, soothing toner, and well-formulated moisturisers/serums to help your skin better tolerate retinol treatments.


Apply a pea-sized amount after cleansing and toning, and then follow with your serum and/or nighttime moisturiser. When first using the Clinical 1% Retinol, start with no more than three evenings per week, then gradually increase frequency to every other night and, finally, every evening as tolerated (measure how your skin responds). Avoid the lips, direct contact with the eye, and corners of the eyes. You may apply up to the orbital bone of the eye area.

May be applied at the same time as your AHA or BHA exfoliant, but pay attention to how your skin responds. If you notice signs of sensitivity, apply your AHA or BHA exfoliant in the morning and this treatment at night or reduce frequency of application of Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment.

Note: Some people may experience a delayed sensitised reaction to 1% retinol. Do not assume that if no reaction is seen after a few applications that you can apply this treatment more frequently. Pay close attention to how your skin responds and adjust usage accordingly.
If sensitisation occurs (redness, flaking, tenderness, or drying of skin), reduce frequency of use or mix one pump of the Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment with your favourite serum or PM moisturiser. If sensitsation persists, discontinue use. Protect skin daily with sunscreen rated SPF 25 or greater, or layer sunscreens (moisturiser, foundation with sunscreen, and pressed powder with sunscreen) if they are all rated SPF 15 or greater (and greater is better). 

Do not apply this treatment on the same day as facial waxing or sugaring. Doing so may increase the risk of an irritant response.

Remember: Only a pea-sized amount is needed for the entire face and neck. Using more than this per application will not provide better or faster results.


  • Can be worn under or over your PM moisturiser.
  • May be combined with any prescription retinoid product. Discontinue or reduce frequency of use if irritation develops or persists.
  • Despite the many benefits retinol has, there is no single “best” anti-ageing ingredient for skin. The retinol in this product is combined with other anti-ageing ingredients for optimal results. The antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients in this formula were chosen for their well-researched track records and history of being able to improve multiple signs of ageing. They’ve also included potent anti-irritants to ensure compatibility with sensitive skin.
  • Remember, not everyone’s skin will be able to tolerate a high percentage of retinol, especially if you’re already using a prescription retinoid or other skincare products that contain retinol.
  • Buy retinol products only if they are packaged in opaque containers meant to minimise or block air exposure (no jars!) because all forms of vitamin A break down and deteriorate when repeatedly exposed to air or light.
  • For prescription retinoid you must see a doctor.
  • Not everyone's skin can tolerate retinol. It may cause irritation, such as redness and flaking, especially for those new to using it.
  • If irritation occurs, symptoms should subside within a few days as your skin adjusts to regular use. If the symptoms do not subside or worsen, stop using it!
  • If you are just starting to use retinol, don't apply it daily. Rather, apply every other day and/or mix it with your usual moisturiser before applying. That lets your skin gradually acclimate to it.
  • Use well-formulated moisturisers or serums and a gentle cleanser and toner to help your skin better tolerate retinol.
  • Research shows that using a retinol product in conjunction with an AHA exfoliant significantly improves its effectiveness in treating sun-damaged skin.
  • Exposure to sunlight can make retinol unstable, so it's best to apply it at night.
  • If you apply retinol during the day, be sure to apply sunscreen or foundation with sunscreen afterward and avoid sun exposure as much as possible.

Retinol is so important in my routine. I can let go of my actives but can't with retinol definitely. But like what I have mentioned here gazillion of times, in conjunction with my other exfoliate like AHA for example, it gives you amazing results. My skin texture and tone has been brilliant, acne scars lightened, gives me radiance and creates a smooth canvas! My dermatologist advised me and also learned from skincare experts that if you're over the age of 30 and you're not using Retinol, you should definitely start peppering that into your regimen. They recommended that if you're in your 30s (3x a week), 40s (4x a week) and 50s (5x a week). So in short, what really retinol does, it turns our skin cell faster. As we age, that process slows down and so we wanna speed that up. That's how retinol works on surface skin cells. KAPISH? Phew! That's a long one. I hope you learned something guys! Till next time!


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