Meet the next generation of innovative retinol

These three new retinol launches are some of the most innovative on the market.


You’ve likely heard a lot about retinol, but you might be a bit confused about it, or unsure of the benefits. Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and the reason it’s so well-known is because of it’s incredible powers with reversing the signs of ageing. By increasing cell turnover (which slows as we age) in your skin, the skin renews and decreases wrinkles, pigmentation and fine lines while making the skin brighter and the skin texture smoother. It also gives incredible results with eczema, dark spots and cystic acne.

You should start using it in your late twenties, when signs of ageing start to crop up, but it’s never too late to start. It’s not suitable if you’re pregnant, and you need to build your tolerance over-time, beginning with once or twice a week and gradually increasing. Finally, you should always wear broad-spectrum SPF50+ every day, but especially when you’re using retinol as it’s massively potent and leaves your skin more prone to damage. And that’s pretty much all you need to know.

The difficulties with tolerance, irritation and inflammation are the main reasons people seem to steer clear from retinol, as well as confusion with how to use it.

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Luckily, skincare has never been so studied and improved upon, and we’re living in the Golden Age of retinol, with incredibly innovative launches happening all the time, tackling the issues with retinol and the confusion around it.

These three new retinol launches are some of the most innovative yet.

No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrate, €25

Because of the aforementioned skin irritation issues, No7 had held off on releasing retinol. Nearly 100,000 signed up to find out about their newest launch, the No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrate, which is €36 for 50ml but priced at the introductory offer of €25 for 30ml at the moment.

The Concentrate consists of a 0.3% retinol, within a 1.5% complex designed to limit irritation without affecting the results. I joined a group Zoom launch with Dr Mike Bell, No7 Skincare Scientific Advisor ahead of the launch, and he gave some more insight into irritation and increasing your usage over time.

“You are likely to have signs of tingling and mild stinging,” says Dr Bella. “We all have different capacities for retinol, so if you start to get red patches or hot spots, blemishes, flaking or peeling or a whiteness to the surface of the skin on the skin, because you’re breaking down the barrier, go more slowly when ramping up the usage. It’s your skin’s way of saying things are happening too quickly and your skin is protesting. You don’t need to get to nightly use as quickly as possible. Slow down. If the redness is too uncomfortable. I’d recommend you take a break and allow the redness to disappear and then go back with a lower frequency of usage. The renewal process will happen and ultimately you’ll have a renewed skin barrier, it just takes a bit of time.”

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He suggests using two pumps in combination with a moisturising night cream, and limiting initial use to once or twice a week, on non-consecutive nights and then ramping up to every night after about 4 weeks.

Dermalogica Retinol Clearing Oil, €83

Dermalogica have created an industry first with their Retinol Clearing Oil, €83 for 30ml. Time-released retinol reduces fine lines, hyperpigmentation and wrinkles, in an original, soothing oil format that contains a blend of argan, rosehip seed and jojoba oils to tackle irritation and leave the skin smooth and glowy. Best of all though, is the inclusion of salicylic acid in the formula, meaning signs of ageing aren't just reduced overnight, but breakouts are too.

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream, €80

Murad has also tackled the drawbacks of retinol with the Retinol Youth Renewal range. The serum is the top-selling retinol in the US. It uses three kinds of retinol technology to give great, fast results with time-release technology for less irritation. The Serum, €90, improves line and wrinkles in 2 weeks, there's a retinol Eye Serum, €80 and the Night Cream, €80, has niacinamide and something called picolinamide to strengthen the barrier of the skin. It also comes with a measured dose pump which releases exactly enough cream to cover your face and neck so you can't overuse it. Genius.

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Digital illustration by Sophie Teyssier.

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