Almost Every Dermatologist Recommends Retinol To Their Patients—Here’s Why

Retinol for skin is the perfect all-rounder.

When it comes to skincare, the market is more saturated than ever. There are, quite literally, hundreds of serums, eye creams, spot treatments and sleep masks to choose from—all of them promising to wind back the clock. And if that wasn’t enough, once you’ve settled on a type of product, consumers are faced with a new question: which active ingredient should I opt for?

If you’re new to the world of actives, retinol for skin is a good place to start. “I don’t know a single dermatologist who doesn’t use a retinol product on their skin,” Heather Rogers, a Seattle-based dermatologist explains to Refinery 29. “We’ve all read the studies and we all use it.”

What Is Retinol?

As Kaye Scott, Co-Director, at The Clinic in Sydney explains, retinol is a form of vitamin A: “It promotes skin renewal and enhances collagen production, which starts to decline in your 30s.” In other words, it reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. “Retinol for skin can also reverse some of the side effects of sun damage,” Scott explains.

What Does Retinol For Skin Do?

As mentioned above, by stimulating the production of new skin cells, retinol for skin is a powerful anti-ageing ingredient. “It also helps to fade dark spots resulting from photo-ageing, hyperpigmentation, hormonal changes and blemish scars,” Scott continues, “and it can be used to treat acne.”

Who Should Use Retinol-Based Products?

Most people can introduce some form of retinol into their skincare regime. Retinol for skin is particularly useful for anyone with acne, acne scarring, dark spots, pigmentation or skin discolouration.

Who Shouldn’t Use Retinol For Skin?

A word of warning: being an active ingredient, some people will need to approach with caution. “Anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding, those on prescription medication and those who have allergies or sensitive skin should consult a doctor first,” warns Scott.

How Often Should You Use Retinol?

At The Clinic, Scott says clients usually start with a cream or serum for face and/or eyes. As far as application is concerned, if you go too hard too fast, retinol can irritate skin. “We recommend introducing it on a 321 basis,” Scott says. That means “every 3rd day for a week, every 2nd day for a week and then every day as part of your night time skin regime.”

What Are The Best Retinol Creams And Serums In Australia?

What retinol should I start with? If you do decide to go down the retinol route, there are a lot of products to choose from. Here, marie claire lists the best retinol creams and best retinol serums in Australia.

Cosmedix Retinol Range

Cosmedix Serum 16

As far as must-haves go Scott recommends the Cosmedix range:

Speaking to, Dr Joseph Hkeik from All Saints Clinics in Sydney also recommends the Cosmedix Serum 16.

OLAY Retinol Range

Olay Regernerist range

The Olay Regenerist Retinol24 collection consists of a face serum, face moisturiser and eye cream, and counts Jesinta Franklin as an early adopter. “Since adding this to my skincare routine, I have noticed a visible difference in eliminating redness and getting my morning glow back,” says the Olay ambassador.

Blending Olay’s proprietary Retinol24 Retinoid Complex, and a bio-available formula combining pure retinol, retinyl propionate, niacinamide (vitamin B3), and amino peptides, the products offer a youthful complexion without the usual irritation women often experience from using retinol. Shop: 

Liquid Gold Midnight Reboot Serum with 14% Glycolic Acid and 1% Granactive Retinoid, $134.95, MYER


If you want to wake up looking glowy, this is the perfect product for you. It combines potent ingredients such as 14 per cent AHA Glycolic acid and 1 per cent granactive retinoid for a transformed, plump and shiny complexion.

Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules , 60 Pieces, $160, Adore Beauty


Perfect for retinol beginners, these little capsules are ultra effective and easy to use, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The formula is encapsulated, meaning that it maintains the efficacy by being kept away from light and air. Also – so easy to travel with!

Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum, $148, Kiehl’s


Kiehl’s is a well-known brand for active skincare for a reason. This formula is simultaneously potent (leaving the skin feeling smoother and looking brighter) while also being gentle on the skin (formulated with peptides and ceremides to protect the skin barrier).

Vitamin Amen, $149, Dr Naomi


This serum uses micro-encapsulated retinol and retinoate alongside plant-derived bakuchiol for a combination designed to target the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s strengthened with biomimetic tri-peptides and niacinamide to sooth simultaneously.

Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum, $149, Adore Beauty


Featuring a 3.5 per cent retinoid complex, with three different retinoids and a booster, this serum packs major bang for your buck. The serum is formulated with squalene and beta glucan to help improve the appearance of the ‘four signs of ageing’. It’s potent and fast acting.

First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Retinol Serum .25% Pure Concentrate ($91 at Sephora)


This formula is gentle enough for first time users, thanks to skin-soothing aloe and colloidal oatmeal.

Brought to you by Olay

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