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When it comes to reducing fine lines and maintaining a healthy glow, there’s no ingredient in skincare more lauded than retinol. And yet, the revolutionary youth-enhancing active still remains underutilised or misused even though it’s considered a gold standard ingredient in anti-ageing by dermatologists.

But, there’s no denying that it’s one of the best anti-ageing ingredients that almost anyone can benefit from and if you want to learn more about retinol before incorporating it into your new anti-ageing routine, you’ve come to the right place!

Daily Vanity is here to lay down the 411 on this ingredient that’s often considered as magic in a bottle by many, along with a few do’s and don’ts you should observe before using retinol.

A brief introduction to retinol

introduction to retinol photo source sora shimazaki pexels

Photo source: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels

Part of the vitamin A family, retinol can be found in food and is most often used as a dietary supplement. It is known as one of the most powerful ingredients you can add to your skincare routine, because retinol – alongside other retinoids such as retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate – is essentially a derivative of vitamin A, which is one of the body’s key nutrients for boosting cell turnover.

In skincare, it’s added to topical solutions to promote skin renewal, brighten skin tone, reduce acne, and boost collagen production. Not only that, it also functions like an antioxidant to help address free radical damage, which is the lead contributor to visible signs of ageing.

In other words, it’s the gold standard ingredient in anti-ageing and has been extensively studied and shown to help sweep away dead skin cells, clogged pores, and dull skin to reveal a brighter, smoother, and younger-looking complexion.

Of course, there are always certain side effects as with all skincare ingredients. For retinol, mild irritation, dryness, and sun sensitivity are perfectly normal as your skin adjusts to the active ingredient.

However, intense flaking, redness, and burning are not – and those with especially sensitive skin, or who struggle with conditions like rosacea or eczema, should be wary of retinol or shy away from it all together as you’ll have a much harder time tolerating a retinol-based skincare product.

5 do’s and don’ts everyone should know before using retinol

Do begin using retinol in your mid-20s

Our skin’s natural collagen production actually starts dipping by the time we turn 25 so your mid-twenties are a great time to start using retinol if you want to keep early signs of ageing such as sun spots or crow’s feet at bay.

We don’t think you know this yet but we’ve even found an all-new formula from one of the most well-loved skincare brands that can even be used in your early 20s – keep reading to find out what this new formulation is!

Do apply sunscreen every morning

asian woman blocking sunlight from her face

If you need yet another reason to never leave your house without sunscreen, here’s one to bear in mind: Retinol makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays and sunlight decreases the efficacy of the product, and traditional retinol formulas are usually recommended to be used only at night and users must be diligent about applying a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day because of this reason.

However, the new formula we’re about to introduce shortly has been proven to be safe for use during the day or night which means you no longer have to worry about the inconvenience that usually follows with retinol skincare.

Do integrate retinol slowly and gently

Retinol can be very irritating if used too frequently or if the formulation is too strong for your skin, so balance is critical. Experts typically advise starting out with twice-weekly usage of a low percentage over-the-counter formula for beginners before slowly increasing the frequency to let your skin acclimate.

It’s also recommended to skip your retinol product on the day before you exfoliate – this is because exfoliation is abrasive and irritating, and you do not want to compound the skin irritation by heightening your skin’s sensitivity. If you’re getting certain in-office treatments like lasers, microneedling, or microdermabrasion, you should take a break from your retinol skincare too.

But in the spirit of not overdoing it, you can consider the new Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum, which is formulated to be so gentle yet effective that it can be used daily without the risk of irritation.

Don’t worry about retinol thinning your skin

retinol dos and donts 4 photo source ron lach pexels

Photo source: Ron Lach/Pexels

There are a few myths about retinol products that you may have heard of, including the idea that retinol will thin out your skin over time. Ask any skin doctor and they will simply tell you that it’s simply not true.

In fact, it’s the complete opposite – retinol can help thicken the skin since it boosts your skin’s collagen production, leading to fewer fine lines and wrinkles along with plumper, bouncier skin.

Don’t mix retinol with AHAs, BHAs or benzoyl peroxide

Due to the unstable nature of the retinol molecule, using it with AHAs, BHAs or benzoyl peroxide does not bring any good to your skin. That’s because these ingredients will just cancel each other out when used together.

To reap the full benefits of retinol, avoid mixing your retinol skincare with any other products that contain AHAs, BHAs or benzoyl peroxide.

Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum review: What’s unique about the new formula

Now that you’re ready to take the next step to kick off your journey to smoother, younger-looking skin, here’s the latest skincare formula that can help you achieve your #skingoals.

Here’s why you should include the new Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum into your daily anti-ageing routine.

It’s inspired by the micro-dosing trend to deliver pure retinol to the skin

kiehls retinol skin renewing daily micro dose serum inspired by micro dosing trend

Photo source: @kiehlssg/Instagram

The formulation of Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum is inspired by skincare micro-dosing – for the unaware, it’s the latest trend of using ingredients in precise doses to obtain the best results without irritation.

The serum is powered by pure retinol in a precise, daily-strength dose to promote gentle skin surface turnover, delivering the same efficacy of traditional retinol over time while minimising the discomfort that’s typically associated with traditional retinol.

It’s fortified with ceramides to help build retinol tolerance

kiehls retinol skin renewing daily micro dose serum fortified with ceramides

Photo courtesy of Kiehl’s

Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum is infused with ceramides to help your skin build a tolerance while fortifying its barrier to protect fresh new cells and reduce discomfort.

In addition to pure retinol and ceramides, it is also powered by peptides to further support and sustain the reparative benefits of retinol. With each use, fresh new skin is brought to the surface to renew the look and feel of your skin.

The face serum is gentle enough to be used even on the eye area

kiehls retinol skin renewing daily micro dose serum gentle for eye area

Photo courtesy of Kiehl’s

Yes, you read that right. While the delicate eye area has to be avoided when it comes to using traditional retinol formulas, the Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum by Kiehl’s is formulated to be so gentle that it can be applied even around the eyes to address early signs of ageing like crow’s feet.

To do so, you can apply your eye cream of choice after the toning step and follow up with the Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum and your preferred moisturiser. What’s more, you can use the face serum on the neck, décolleté, and even the back of your hands as well for a more youthful-looking appearance.

It’s suitable for everyone and all skin types, including sensitive skin or those using retinol for the first time

kiehls retinol skin renewing daily micro dose serum suitable for sensitive skin

Photo source: @kiehlssg/Instagram

Thanks to its daily-strength dose, the Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum is highly recommended for skincare users who are just starting out on retinol products for the first time as well as those with sensitive skin who may have experienced significant skin discomfort when trying other retinol formulations previously.

When using a retinol product for the first time, some may experience mild skin discomfort in the first one to two weeks of usage. This occurrence is known as retinization, and it’s a completely normal phenomenon that is to be expected when your skin is exposed to retinol for the very first time.

That’s because retinization is an adjustment period when your skin adapts to the retinol skincare you use. So, if you encounter any mild irritation or discomfort during the first seven to 14 days of usage, continue using the product anyway to let your skin adjust and build up its tolerance towards retinol.

Only stop completely if you experience intense flaking, reddening of the skin or a burning sensation.

The face serum can be used together with other vitamin C serums by Kiehl’s

kiehls retinol skin renewing daily micro dose serum use with kiehls vitamin c serums

Photo source: @kiehlssg/Instagram

Due to its gentle formulation, there’s no need to alternate your use of vitamin C products with the Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum – as long as your vitamin C skincare is from Kiehl’s as well.

This way, you can pair your vitamin C serums together with the Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum and not have to worry about issues like irritation and sensitivity. It’s best to apply your vitamin C skincare first before following up with the retinol product, as vitamin C has a lower pH than retinol.

Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum review: Before and after results

kiehl's retinol skin-renewing daily micro-dose serum before after review

We’ve told you all about the new Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum and what to expect from the new formula, but of course, your beauty bestie (a.k.a. Daily Vanity) won’t leave you without putting the product to the test for you.

That’s why I trialled the Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum for two weeks to tell you what it was like using the serum. For context, I’m already a user of retinol skincare for a couple of years now.

But as with all traditional retinol products, I could only use mine at night and I found the optimum usage frequency of three times a week – this avoids sending my combination skin into a bout of discomfort.

With the new Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum, however, I was sceptical at first that a retinol product can be used daily. Wouldn’t that just make my skin sensitive, I thought. But for the sake of the review, I pressed on and used it once a day to see if it really lives up to its promises.

kiehls retinol skin renewing daily micro dose serum before after results texture closeup

Photo source: @kiehls/Instagram

To my pleasant surprise, my skin did not react negatively at all. In fact, it looked a lot healthier and somewhat more hydrated after just two weeks of usage! My cheeks no longer look as dry, and my overall skin felt plumper after trialling the serum for 14 days.

Additionally, I appreciate how easy it was to layer the serum with other skincare products in my routine. As I sleep in an air-conditioned room every night, my skin tends to get dry especially in the U-zone and I incorporate a hydrating serum in my skincare routine.

I was initially concerned that using the Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum on top of my hydrating serum would overwhelm my skin and trigger a breakout but all my worries were unfounded as the Kiehl’s face serum was just so lightweight and easy to spread.

Applying the Super Multi-Corrective Anti-Aging Face and Neck Cream by Kiehl’s after the retinol-based face serum was a breeze too because the serum’s lightweight formula was absorbed within seconds. So, there’s no need to worry about your skincare piling or clumping up into tiny pieces even if you have to layer multiple products in your anti-ageing routine.

I also like that I have the flexibility of using the gentle formulation either during the day or night. With continuous use, I have a good feeling that it can even help soften my laugh lines as well as the lines on my neck.

Include these Kiehl’s products for a complete anti-ageing routine

kiehls retinol skin renewing daily micro dose serum use for complete anti ageing routine

Photo courtesy of Kiehl’s

To maximise the benefits of Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum, you can consider using it together with the following Kiehl’s products for a more complete routine.

For this routine, start by using the Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution on cleansed and toned skin. Follow up with the Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum, and your Kiehl’s moisturiser of choice. During the day, finish your routine with the Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 PA++++.

Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum: Where to buy + price

kiehls retinol skin renewing daily micro dose serum price where to buy

Photo source: @kiehls/Instagram

The new Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum retails for S$130 (50ml) and is available at all Kiehl’s outlets islandwide as well as online at the Kiehl’s official e-store.

For a personalised skincare consultation before you make your purchase, you can speak to any of Kiehl’s beauty advisors in stores or via WhatsApp and they’ll be more than happy to assist.

Alternatively, you can also understand your skin concerns virtually via the Instant Skin Reader by Kiehl’s. All you need to do is take a selfie and answer a few questions to reveal a personalised skin analysis and skincare routine.

Get samples of the new Kiehl's Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-dose Serum to try it for yourself!

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This article is brought to you by Kiehl’s.