Retinol Serums: Top Picks And How To Apply Correctly

Written by Lopa KFeb 23, 2023
Retinol Serums: Top Picks and How to Apply Correctly

There is a reason why retinol is an absolute favourite among skincare buffs and dermatologists alike and has everyone searching for the best retinol serum in India. This multipurpose ingredient is touted to be the cure-all for several skin issues. However, its popularity as an anti-ageing ingredient has kept younger skincare enthusiasts away since they don’t feel like they need to start an anti-ageing routine so early on. 

But before you skip out on including this gem in your skincare routine, hear us out. Apart from fighting signs of ageing, retinol-infused products can help fight acne, smoothen your texture and take you several steps closer to your skin goals.


Retinol Serums Top Picks: The Basics

FAQs about Retinol Serums: Top Picks and How to Apply Correctly

Dermatologists often recommend retinoids to treat moderate to severe acne, especially when every other form of treatment has failed to work. The ingredient can reach deep into your pores and unclog them to let other acne-fighting products get through. They also help with faster cell turnover cycles of the skin, keeping dead skin cells from clogging the pores and preventing breakouts. Because retinol-infused products are comparatively gentler than prescription-strength retinoids, they are easily tolerable by many skin types. But that’s not all. Retinol can also help tackle acne scars and blemishes. It works on pigmentations and rough texture to give you smooth and even-toned skin while lifting your skin and delaying ageing signs like sagging skin. Well, we have curated a list from where you can pick your best retinol serum in India. 

Retinol Serums: Top Picks and How to Apply Correctly  


1. Lakmé Absolute Youth Infinity Serum

FAQs about Retinol Serums: Top Picks and How to Apply Correctly

Looking for the best retinol serum in India that is formulated with other potent ingredients to enhance the overall action? We love how the velvety Lakmé Absolute Youth Infinity Serum feels on our face and how it helps revitalise and lift the skin. Along with 89% of pure retinol, it also uses vitamin A and collagen boosters to delay ageing and brighten the skin. Thanks to its hydrating formula, you can wake up with youthful and supple skin every morning.


2. Pond's Age Miracle Double Action Serum

FAQs about Retinol Serums: Top Picks and How to Apply Correctly

Most dermats suggest working retinol into your nighttime skincare regimen. Retinol makes the skin sensitive, and exposing sensitive skin to sunlight can cause issues like pigmentation, inflammation and whatnot. That’s why it’s best to include a serum like the Pond's Age Miracle Double Action Serum in your nighttime skincare routine and let it work its magic. Another best retinol serum in India, it is enriched with vitamin B3 and retinol-C technology. This formula diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and lines, evens out your skin tone, and repels dryness. Just massage a little into your skin, and that's it!


3. Lakmé 9 To 5 Vitamin C+ Facial Serum

FAQs about Retinol Serums: Top Picks and How to Apply Correctly

Using retinol and vitamin C together works even better than applying them separately because vitamin C fights free radicals and protects retinol from oxidation. They are a power couple in anti-ageing skincare which you can benefit from by applying retinol at night and vitamin C in the morning.  

The Lakmé 9 To 5 Vitamin C+ Facial Serum contains 98% pure vitamin C from the richest source aka Kakadu plums for healthy, glowing skin and is perfect to combine with retinol. This product hydrates and nourishes your skin, and improves its texture. You just need to apply a few drops on your face and neck, then gently massage in the morning, and cover with a moisturising cream.


4. Simple Vitamin C+E+F Booster Face Serum

FAQs about Retinol Serums: Top Picks and How to Apply Correctly

Another vitamin C serum that you can combine is the Simple Vitamin C+E+F Booster Face Serum as it improves your skin firmness and brightens its complexion. It also prevents collagen degradation and reduces age spots, perfect for enhancing the benefits of retinol. It is also free of harsh chemicals like parabens, alcohol and perfume so there are no chances of it reacting to retinol even if you have sensitive skin. Instead, it uses a non-sticky formula to get better absorbed and bring life to dull skin.  

How to Apply Retinol serum 

With retinol, less is more. Use only a few drops of its serum over your cleansed and dry face, then use your fingers to gently massage in circular motions. Wait for it to get fully absorbed and apply moisturiser after 20 minutes. 

For acne, the key is to be consistent with your routine. Retinol can send your acne-prone skin into a purge, pushing out previously blocked comedones during the cell turnover process. This can temporarily give you more breakouts, so don’t freak out. Once the retinol starts to take effect and your skin starts to respond to it, you will see the acne improve with time.


Things to Keep in Mind while Applying Retinol

FAQs about Retinol Serums: Top Picks and How to Apply Correctly

Deeper absorption of retinol by applying it on damp skin can trigger irritation and sensitivity. 

Secondly, always layer your under-eye area with an eye cream before applying retinol. Since that area is delicate, retinol can lead to irritation.

Avoid facial tools like a gua sha. The logic behind not massaging retinol into your skin with a facial tool is the same as why you shouldn’t apply the active on damp skin. If retinol penetrates too deep into your skin, it can trigger unwarranted reactions.  

The trick to including it for acne skincare is to stick to products with a lower concentration of retinol like 0.2 to 0.3%. This will allow even sensitive skin types to use this magical ingredient without experiencing any adverse side effects like irritation, redness or peeling. This also goes for those who use it for anti-ageing. 

A good tip would be to use your other treatments like vitamin C during the daytime and retinol at night. You can use it during the daytime but retinol can make your skin sensitive while sunlight can decrease its effectiveness. So, never skip sunscreen after applying the serum.  

But never mix retinol with AHAs, BHAs, exfoliants, or scrubs. This facilitates stronger absorption of retinol; even though that might sound great, extra absorption can trigger irritation and redness on the skin. 

But to acclimatise your skin to retinol, apply it twice a week at night (every three days). You can increase the frequency to every other day if you don't experience any redness or flakiness the following day.  

You can also apply your retinol serum between two layers of moisturiser, which is called moisturising retinol sandwich, to avoid skin irritation. 


FAQs about Retinol Serums: Top Picks and How to Apply Correctly

FAQs about Retinol Serums: Top Picks and How to Apply Correctly

Q1. What are the side effects of retinol?  

As a strong ingredient, retinol should not be used on too sensitive or dry skin or paired with such ingredients, as benzoyl peroxide, and AHA/BHA acids. Retinol is also not recommended to apply during pregnancy, but you can always look for alternatives to try

Q2. What is the difference between retinol and retinoid? 

Retinoids are compounds derived from vitamin A. Usually, retinoids are stronger, than retinol, but have more side effects, and you need to take a dermatologist’s advice, and have a prescription to use them. 

Q3. What percentage is prescription strength retinol? 

Products with retinol are available in concentrations as low as 0.01% and are still effective in giving the desired results. Those with sensitive skin or fewer skin problems do not need a highly concentrated formula. When you start using retinol, it is recommended to begin with a lower concentration and different application methods to understand the skin’s tolerance level. 

For sensitive skin, it is better to start with the lowest concentration level available. Those with normal to combination skin can opt for a little higher strength around 0.4% and use it only two to three times a week. 

Those with oily skin and major skin problems can go up to 0.5 – 1% to get rid of deep wrinkles, prominent pores and blackheads. If your skin looks red or feels irritated, reduce the frequency of usage and find the right balance.

Whether you want to combat your acne and smoothen your skin or even reduce premature ageing, retinol can do it all. So, find the best retinol serum in India from our list above and start making the most of it. 

Lopa K

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