3 ways to Improve your retinol

If you are not new to my blog and YouTube channel you already know that I raved about the glory of retinol (here). 


Retinol is daily used by our skin cell to power the retinoic acid (=tretinoin) pathway. Read my blog post to know more (here). Hence, retinol is a natural ingredient and has many skin benefits such as healthy-looking skin, thickening of the epidermis, increase cell proliferation, reverse photo damages, increase collagen synthesis… 

Retinol is often described in the beauty community as less potent as tretinoin because it requires a two-step conversion… This is not entirely accurate. Retinol effects depend on its concentration at 1% it is very similar to tretinoin 0.025% but with fewer irritations. Of course, in certain cases, tretinoin is more indicated but requires to be used only under the supervision of a dermatologist. 

Still, there are different ways to make your retinol even more potent, if you need to. The following methods are only for those of you who already tolerate well 1% retinol. They are indicated for thick skin, photo-damaged, stubborn melasma and hyperpigmentation or as a treatment for 3 months per year to « boost » your skin. 

The retinol I tend to recommend the most is the Paula’s Choice Clinical Traitement 1% Retinol. It is well formulated and comes in an airless container. If you are on a tight budget I recommend The Ordinary 1% retinol in squalane but do not keep it for too long in your cabinet. 

1 Retinol and retinoids 

The first method is to simply combined 1% retinol with granactive and bakuchiol. Granactive (hydroxypinacolone retinoate) is an ester of retinoic acid that has promising studies. Bakuchiol is derived from a plant that has a retinol effect on the skin… But both of them are lacking proper scientific data especially comparing collagen synthesis. Hence, I prefer a product that combines the two like Flawless Nightly serum. I have a review about this baby (here).   

This method is for those of you who want more from your retinol but without too many irritations. Use the nightly serum in the AM and your retinol in the PM, both before moisturizer.

2 Retinol and vitamin C 

This is what I typically do in my own routine. I have made a post on vitamin C and its derivatives (here). Vitamin C is a promising antioxidant and a skin brightener. If you suffer from hyperpigmentation this method will help. I recommend using L-ascorbic acid (By Wishtrend 21.5%). Use the Vitamin C just after prepping your skin in the AM wait for 2-3 minutes and continue with your skincare routine. Use your retinol in the PM. 

3 Retinol and AHA. 

This method is the most powerful so be aware of skin irritations. It is always better to start slowly and build your way up. If you have lots of photodamaged I would go for this one. A blend of azelaic acid and glycolic acid are simply amazing (watch my video to know more) or alternatively use glycolic acid at 5%. 

Introduce the AHA slowly: twice a week, then 3 times per week maybe more. Use the AHA in the AM and the retinol in the PM. Do not mix them at the same time.  

Don’t forget to wear an SPF50+ every single day. It is even more important with retinoids. Because all those methods are potent, you have to support your skin barrier with moisturizer, so go crazy with it. 

I explain more in detail in my video. 

Thank you for your time. 


Products recommendations


🥕 Retinoids

  • Dr Sam’s Flawless Nightly serum ⎪https://drsambunting.com/products/flawless-nightly-serum

🍊💧Vitamin C


🧴💧Moisturizer I love  

☀️ Sunscreens that I love 

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