Thinking About Trying Retinol? Make These Serums Your First Port of Call

Photo: Mango

There's a lot of talk about retinol in the beauty sphere at present, so we're not surprised that you're thinking about giving it a go—it is what everyone seems to be swearing is the reason for their firmer, tauter and smoother skin right about now.

A derivative of vitamin A, which sits under the retinoids umbrella, is very powerful. In fact, when created carefully, the best retinol serums can boost collagen (which is why so many people attribute it to the reduction of fine lines); they will increase cell turnover, thus making skin smoother and softer; they will clear out clogged pores, making them appear tighter; and they can even fade smatterings of dark spots.

They don't come without precautions, though. Firstly, retinol is pretty hardcore as far as ingredients go, so your skin might need a little longer to get used to it—go steady. Plus, it can make skin pretty sensitive to light, meaning it's a formula best used at night. If yours says suitable for the day, make sure you're following with a heavy layer of SPF—but you were doing that anyway, right?

However, as with any buzzy ingredient, the word is all too often flouted around, brandished across the front of bottles that don't really possess the strength of concentration to really make a difference at all.

And considering retinol can be pretty pricey—although you'll find some more affordable options below—it's important to make sure you get your purchase right the first time. So we've selected five retinol serums that we would recommend.

Be warned that its plumping, smoothing and all-around glow-inducing effects are highly addictive.

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