Best Retinol Serums: A Guide to Retinol Serums in Australia

best retinol serum product guide

Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A. It is used in cosmetics and skincare and topically applied to skin because it has the ability to improve the appearance of a number of skin concerns. When used appropriately, retinol can:

  • Smooth and refine skin texture
  • Increase cell turnover and accelerate skin renewal
  • Enhance collagen production and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Brighten skin and increase luminosity
  • Regulate oily skin and reduce breakouts
  • Improve the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation

Retinol has the ability to increase collagen production, stimulate the production of blood vessels in the skin and produce a plumping and exfoliating effect. There are a number of products available containing retinol, especially serums, but it can be difficult to know what combination of ingredients is right for your particular skin concerns.

Retinol can also be a challenging ingredient to incorporate into your skincare routine because if it’s used too quickly or too often it can result in side effects like redness and dryness. This guide should help you understand what’s available right now and how to choose the right retinol serum for you.

What is retinol?

Retinol is a skincare ingredient derived from Vitamin A that is often considered to be one of the best ingredients to help turn back the clock on ageing skin. Retinol provides a number of skin benefits, including smoothing skin texture and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Who should be using a retinol serum?

Retinol can be beneficial for most people, even if they’re not suffering from severe skin issues. It is generally recommended that people begin using retinol from the age of 30 to fight the signs of ageing, and then continue to increase the frequency of their use as they get older. People with severe acne or who often experience breakouts may also need to use retinol products to help unclog enlarged pores and reduce oil production.

Retinol can help to improve skin texture and maintain an even skin tone, so it can be beneficial for people with a number of different skin types. People with very sensitive skin conditions like rosacea may need to stay away from retinol products because they can be too harsh on their skin.

The Best Retinol Serum Australia

The best retinol serum for you will depend on your skin type as well as your individual skin goals, so it's important to consider exactly what goes into each of these products. Some retinol serums work best to improve the appearance of ageing skin, while others can be used to reduce breakouts.

You may also wish to consult a skincare professional before adding retinol creams or serums to your regular regime, because they can have some side effects if used in combination with other medications. 


Aspect Dr Exfol A Plus Serum

The Aspect Dr Exfol A Plus Serum contains retinol in the form of a molecular film fluid, which uses the properties of Vitamin E and other antioxidants to stabilise the delivery of the formula. This serum also contains Lactic Acid, which is a natural exfoliant and helps to correct uneven skin tone.

This product should not be used on highly sensitive skin, but can be used on all other skin types. It should be used by those hoping to improve the appearance of ageing, dehydrated or acne prone skin. It’s also great for removing dead skin cells and improving skin texture.

This product should be introduced into your skincare routine gradually and with caution. Begin by applying every third night 20 - 30 minutes after your normal cleansing routine and adjust as needed.

You should also always use a sunscreen in combination with this product, because it makes skin more sensitive to sunburn. A sunscreen with SPF 50+ is best, such as the Aspect Sun CC Cream SPF50+.

Biopelle Retriderm Vitamin A Serum 0.5% Mild

This Biopelle Retriderm Vitamin A Serum contains 0.5% highly concentrated retinol to provide effective skin rejuvenation and repair the effects of ageing. This formula is ideal for first-time retinol users and can be used for sensitive skin.

This product is perfect for improving the radiance of your skin, as well as creating a more even skin tone and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

This product can be applied daily, but should be used after thoroughly cleansing your skin. It should be applied at night time, but if applying during the day be sure to combine with a high SPF sunscreen.

The Biopelle Retriderm Serum also comes in variants with higher percentages of retinol, so as your skin becomes more accustomed to it you may wish to use these instead.

Dermaceutic Activ Retinol 0.5

This product is formulated with 0.5% concentrated retinol and combined with Vitamins C and E to smooth uneven skin texture, brighten skin and help improve the effects of sun damage. It also contains added ceramides to promote cellular function, lock in moisture and prevent dryness, while panthenol provides an extra source of hydration.

The Dermaceutic Activ Retinol 0.5 can be used on all skin types, including sensitive skin. It is recommended for those who wish to fight the signs of ageing and brighten dull skin.

This product can be used once a day, in the evening before your moisturiser.

Osmosis MD Calm

osmosis md calm

Osmosis MD Calm contains retinol in the form of retinaldehyde, which is a gentle Vitamin A formula that helps to reduce inflammation in the skin. This serum also contains natural antioxidants and calming botanicals to rebuild the skin’s protective barrier and prevent scar tissue build-up.

This product is perfect for those who are suffering from rosacea, because it has been specifically formulated to soothe and calm sensitive skin. It can also be used as an anti-ageing serum.

Osmosis MD Calm should be applied every third night at first, especially if it is your first retinol serum. You can gradually increase the frequency of use and eventually begin applying it every morning and night.

You should always wear sunscreen during the day when using a retinol product. Maximum SPF protection is best, such as the SkinCeuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF50.

Aspect Retinol Brulee

aspect retinol brulee

The Aspect Retinol Brulee contains retinol in the form of Retinyl Palmitate Complex and Retinol Molecular Film. These ingredients help to exfoliate and brighten your skin whilst also allowing for a deeper delivery of nutrients. 

The Aspect Retinol Brulee also contains Lanablue, which is a blue green algae that has a stabilising retinoid effect.

This product contains an enriching combination of antioxidants and can be used on any skin type except for sensitive skin. It is perfect for those who wish to smooth an uneven skin texture, clarify the appearance of pigmentation or reduce fine lines and wrinkles.


What does retinol do?

Retinol is an effective skincare ingredient because it stimulates collagen and elastin production and increases cell turnover. When used correctly, retinol has the ability to improve skin texture and tone, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and firm and brighten skin. Retinol is effective because it converts to retinoic acid and absorbs into the skin very quickly.

Can I use retinol in the daytime?

Retinol can be applied during the day, but it is usually best to save it for your night time routine because it can make skin more sensitive to sunlight. Being in the sun during the day can also reduce the retinol’s effectiveness.

Is it safe to use retinol everyday?

It is safe to use retinol every day and it can be a great addition to your daily skincare routine, but when you’re first beginning to incorporate it it’s best to start with a lower frequency. Your first retinol product should be applied once or twice a week at most and then increased from there.

You should monitor your skin’s reaction to make sure the retinol isn’t drying it out or causing any inflammation. If this occurs, reduce the frequency of use. You may also want to use your retinol products less during the winter months when your skin dries out more easily.

What should I not use with a retinol serum?

There are a few skincare ingredients that are best not combined with retinol use. These are:

  • AHA/BHA acids - These can dry out and irritate your skin when used with retinol.
  • Benzoyl peroxide - Using this product can render retinol less effective.
  • Vitamin C - Because Vitamin C protects your skin from environmental aggressors during the daytime, it’s best used at opposite times of the day to retinol.

You should also stop using retinol products 7 - 10 days before getting your face waxed, because this can damage your skin.

Who can’t use retinol serums?

People with very sensitive or easily irritated skin may not be able to tolerate retinol products. Those with skin conditions like rosacea will need to be very selective about which retinoids they use, as anything that is too strong could damage their skin.

Anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding should also not be using retinol products.

How long does it take to see results from retinol serums?

It can take anywhere from two to six months for you to see the results of regular retinol use, especially if you’re using it to try and remove wrinkles. You will see some short term results, such as a thorough exfoliating effect; but deeper rejuvenation will take longer depending on the potency of your formula.

Does retinol expire?

Yes it does. You should check the expiration date on the product that you’re using and discontinue use after this date has passed.

Retinol can be a great addition to your skincare routine if you’re looking for a product with powerful rejuvenation benefits. Retinol has the ability to smooth and refine your skin, unclog pores and regulate oil production and improve the appearance of ageing skin.

Whenever you use retinol, it’s essential to apply maximum protection sunscreen throughout the day to avoid any skin damage. Shop for SPF50+ sunscreens here.

It’s important to check the ingredients on a retinol serum before purchasing to ensure that the specific skin benefits suit you. If you choose the right serum for you, retinol can have a glowing effect and help give you healthy skin. Shop the range of Vitamin A and retinol products here.

Retinol use should be discontinued if any irritation or discomfort occurs. 

We'd love to help!

Do you have a skin concern you'd like assessed by our Skin Therapists? Book online or call 1300 863 824 to schedule a consultation with one of our Skin Therapists to receive advice tailored to your skin concerns.

Read more

Best Hyaluronic Acid Serums: A Guide to Hyaluronic Acid Serums in Australia

Best Hyaluronic Acid Serums: A Guide to Hyaluronic Acid Serums in Australia

Best Hydrating Serums in Australia: A Guide to Hydration

Best Hydrating Serums in Australia: A Guide to Hydration

Best Acne Scar Serums: A Guide to Treating Acne Scarring

Best Acne Scar Serums: A Guide to Treating Acne Scarring