Donkey’s milk, snail slime, bee venom…whatever it is I have no qualms about trying it. But retinol is one of the few ingredients that I’m tentative on. Retinol is a form of vitamin A, it helps with anti-aging, lightens discoloration and reduces acne/pores. However, it is intensive and can cause irritations or redness. Depending on the concentration and formulation, it doesn’t play well with other active ingredients such as glycolic acid or enzymes. When first using a retinol product, you should start by using every other day at night (along with a good SPF during the day), then build up to nightly use.
Two years ago, I got a travel size of Peter Thomas Roth Retinol PM so I started trying it. However, after a few days of use I noticed tiny red dots on the dropper. I couldn’t figure out what it was so I emailed Peter Thomas Roth customer service. Usually when I get a bad product, the company will mail me a replacement or refund and don’t care what I do with the bad product. PTR not only gave me a giftcard to buy a new bottle of Retinol PM, but they also gave me shipping fee to send the item back so they can figure out what’s wrong with it. To me, this shows that they not only care about customer satisfaction but they also take the quality of their products seriously.
The new bottle of PTR Retinol PM have no problem, and after putting it on the back burner for a year, I finally started using it again. According the description, Retinol PM is a potent retinol serum that delivers skin-renewing benefits via combination of encapsulated retinol, and vitamins C and E. It encourages the skin’s renewal process with prime efficacy, helps improve skintone and texture, assists in collagen production, and reduces lines and wrinkles to create a vibrantly youthful and healthy complexion. It also contains squalene for a dose of moisture to minimizes redness and irritation, and mitigates the retinol’s drying effects.
Application: The serum is liquidy like water, but not wet/cold. It feels….dry? There’s no sensation at all on the face so it’s a little difficult to tell but it does absorb well. It doesn’t dry me out or moisturize. I used 3 drops on each cheek, 2 drops on the forehead daily. I’ve used it under oil and gel cream moisturizers with no problem.
Redness/irritation: My skin did not feel irritated the first week, but it started feeling a bit sensitive the second week due to a combination of dryness and overexfoliation? My face didn’t seem any redder than before using it.
Effects: I only started seeing a little effect after a week of use. On week two, it made my pores a little smaller (prettier with more refined texture?). My pores look a little smaller or blurred, as if I have primer on even on days that I skipped using it. On week three of using this, the dark spot on my cheek seems to have lightened up juuuust a little bit. However, the Retinol PM had no effect on my acne or flesh colored bumps throughout the almost three weeks.
Throughout the three weeks, the skincare regimen that complements Retinol PM were:
- PTR Anti-aging cleanser
- Omorovicza Queen of Hungary or Dior Toning Lotion with Velvet Peony
- PTR Retinol PM
- Clinique Moisture Surge or Boscia Tsubaki Oil at night
- AmorePacific Natural Protector SPF30 during the day
When I switched my toner to a Clarins one for oily/combination skin, my cheeks dried out and started getting flaky. I would also recommend skipping retinol on days you exfoliate or uses an exfoliating mask such as Fresh Vitamin Mask, GlamGlow or Tatcha Enzyme Powder. When I used retinol after exfoliation, my skin got a little sensitive and bumpy. I have combination skin so I like gel cream moisturizers, Clinique Moisture Surge seems to work the best with the Retinol PM out of the 4 or 5 I’ve tried.
While it did have a positive effect on my pores and pigmentation after two weeks of consistent use, it needs to be used with care to prevent irritation/dryness. If you want retinol to help with pores and pigmentation, Peter Thomas Roth Retinol PM or Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil are great (the results are the same for me). If you want retinol more for anti-aging, then I would recommend Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid+Retinol line. I’ve also tried The Glow by Dr. Brandt but the feel and effect are not as nice. If you are tentative about retinol, Peter Thomas Roth or Sunday Riley are great starters as long as you are patient since you may not see effect until after a week or two. So, do you like retinol? And what retinol products do you use?