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How to choose the right retinal serum for you

Not sure which retinal serum is right for you? It’s all down to addressing your most pressing skin bugbears.

Choosing the right retinal serum


Retinal has the potential to bring a number of different benefits to the skin. Think of it as an overachieving student, not just excelling in one area, but at numerous different subjects. Retinal is part of a family of ingredients called retinoids, all of which are forms of vitamin A. Retinoids were initially used for the treatment of breakouts, before experts noticed smoother, younger-looking skin as another welcome side-effect.


Which retinoid serum you choose will depend on your skin type and concerns.


If your skin gripes are fine lines and breakouts…


From around the age of 25, those first few fine lines can start to appear. And if hormonal fluctuations are still a regular fixture on your complexion then you’re unlikely to want to abandon your blemish-busting ingredients in favour of something that solely targets the appearance of ageing. Enter retinal: the does-it-all ingredient ready to tackle both concerns at once, bringing with it more good skin days. It is not only the closest cosmetic-grade relative of retinoic acid (gold-standard, prescription strength retinoid) in the retinoid family tree but boasts antibacterial properties too, making it a great choice for oily and blemish-prone skin.


In Overnight Clarity, our retinal and niacinamide serum, retinal is supported by (you guessed it) niacinamide. Niacinamide helps to break the cycle of blemishes, balancing excess oil so pores are less likely to become blocked. There’s also glycine-bonded azelaic acid in the formulation, playing the role of cleaner by helping to reduce the appearance of old blemish marks. Natural prebiotic chlorella vulgaris is the final piece of the puzzle, feeding the friendly bacteria on the skin to help them thrive over the bad.


If your skin gripes are wrinkles and loss of firmness…


Feel like your skin has lost its oomph? You’re not imagining things. Our skin quality and structure changes as we travel down the path of life, with depleted supplies of things like collagen, lipids and hyaluronic acid to work with. Retinal works brilliantly to help visibly firm, smooth and brighten skin, bringing back lost bounce and joy. In essence, it encourages it to behave like its younger self.


In Overnight Sensation, our retinal+ serum, retinal works hand in hand with granactive retinoid, another type of retinoid. Granactive retinoid is a trademarked form of a smart ingredient called hydroxypinacolone retinoate (try saying that three times fast!). This is an ester of retinoic acid, and unlike other retinoids doesn’t require any conversion steps to become retinoic acid. Think of it as the VIP of the skincare world, skipping the queue to get straight in. Both the retinal and granactive retinoid encourage cell turnover to give skin a renewed, fresher appearance, with fine lines visibly reduced.


If you’re worried about the dryness commonly associated with using retinoids, don’t be. Both retinal and granactive retinoid offer results without the drama. In fact, you’ll likely notice skin feels more moisturised with continued use, thanks to the other supporting, nourishing ingredients in the formulation.