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8 Gentle Retinol Creams That Are Perfect for Beginners

8 Gentle Retinol Creams That Are Perfect for Beginners
Start your retinol journey the right way.

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When approaching your mid-20s, skin aging slowly becomes a major concern, and the best ingredient to address it will always be retinol. Retinol is an over-the-counter formulation of retinoid, a vitamin A derivative that diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by encouraging collagen renewal in the skin. If you are also dealing with acne, age spots, and rough texture, retinol is just as powerful in dealing with these concerns, thanks to its ability to speed up the skin cell turnover. Interested? Read on to learn more about retinol and the best products to add to your routine!

How to Use Retinol

As great as its benefits are, retinol is still a potent ingredient that can cause irritation if it is not used properly. If you're looking for a retinol cream for beginners, look for a retinol product with not more than 0.25% to 1%. Start using it for once to twice a week, and slowly transition into using it more frequently once you see your skin adapt to it. If your face develops sensitivity when using the product, it’s best to partner it with the “sandwich method” (or when you apply moisturizer, retinol, and then moisturizer again) to reduce signs of irritation.

8 Gentle Retinol Creams for Beginners

1. Good Molecules Gentle Retinol Cream

If you're on TikTok, you've probably seen this retinol cream making rounds on your For You page. It has a retinol concentration 1%, making it a suitable choice for beginners and anyone with sensitive skin. It's also accompanied with bakuchiol, a plant-derived ingredient with similar benefits to retinol that boosts the performance of the product.

retinol cream for beginners Good Molecules Gentle Retinol Cream

Gentle Retinol Cream, P500, GOOD MOLECULES, Lazada

2. +Ful Retinol 1% Serum

Want to try a proudly Filipino pick? Look no further than this serum from +Ful. Like the product above, this also contains 1% retinol but with ingredients such as licorice extract, oat kernel extract, and lactobacillus ferment to to keep your skin feeling comfortable after every application. All that for a budget-friendly price tag!


retinol cream for beginners +Ful Retinol 1% Serum
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Retinol 1% Serum, P349, +FULShopee

3. CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum 

Another popular retinol serum to consider is this one from Cerave. Next to having retinol, this formula is blended with ceramides to restore your skin’s protective barrier, and niacinamide to help calm the skin while also diminishing acne marks. The consistency of its formula is so lightweight, so it's great for people with oily skin!

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum
PHOTO BY cerave

Resurfacing Retinol Serum, P1870, CERAVE, Look

4. The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane 

If you have dry, textured skin, this retinol serum has a nourishing oil formula that will keep your skin feeling supple and smooth. With continued use, it will help improve the appearance of lines, dark spots, and texture. You'll also wake up to more radiant skin daily, thanks to the high concentration of squalane.

retinol cream for beginners The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

Retinol 0.5% in Squalane, P729, THE ORDINARY, Look

5. First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Retinol Serum

Containing 0.25% retinol, this product from First Aid Beauty is infused with their special Skin Saver Complex which is composed of hyaluronic acid, vitamins C & E, aloe, colloidal oatmeal, allantoin, and ceramides to further comfort the skin from the discomfort that retinol may cause.

retinol cream for beginners First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Retinol Serum

Skin Lab Retinol Serum, P3808, FIRST AID BEAUTY, Sephora

6. Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Moisturizer

If you like to keep your night time skincare routine simple, this moisturizer already has both retinol and niacinamide for an easy yet effective application. It absorbs quickly to provide a non-greasy finish, targeting the deep layers of your skin to let the ingredients do their magic. Who says you had to use a ton of products to get a rejuvenated complexion?

retinol cream for beginners Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Moisturizer

Regenerist Retinol 24 Moisturizer, P1599, OLAY, Watsons

7. Kiehl's Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum

Made specifically for sensitive skin, this potent serum with a micro-dose formulations delivers maximum retinol benefits minus the discomfort. This is partly thanks to it containing ceramides and peptides, which enhance the retinol’s performance while also boosting the skin’s tolerance against irritation and other signs of aging.

retinol cream for beginners Kiehl's Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum

Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum, P3500, KIEHL'S, Lazada

8. The Inkey List Retinol

For non-sensitive skin that can take quite a punch, this affordable cream from The Inkey List is worth a try. It contains a retinol percentage of 1%, which can show quicker results compared to gentler formulations. But just to be sure, don’t forget to use it with the sandwich method to ensure minimum discomfort during your first few weeks.

retinol cream for beginners The Inkey List Retinol

Retinol, P750, THE INKEY LISTBeauty Bar

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