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Put to the test: The new-gen retinol that tackles wrinkles without irritation

Put to the test: The new-gen retinol that tackles wrinkles without irritation
This lightweight, high-dose new retinoid serum deals to the signs of aging without dryness or sensitivity.

Even if you only have a passing interest in skincare, you’ll likely have heard of retinol. 

The skincare wonder ingredient is known as the most powerful skincare ingredient available over the counter, with various age-defying talents, including the ability to minimise fine lines and wrinkles.

The reputation, as you can see, is well-earned. 

But along with the raves, you may also have heard the caveats: retinol can be irritating, it’s difficult to stabilise, some formulas are too low to effect real change and so on. 

If you have sensitive skin, you may have even given it a go, but thrown in the towel after one too many red, flaky patches.

The good news is, with significant experience, research and development into retinol and other retinoids, or forms of vitamin A, Dermalogica has pushed the possibilities for their usability and efficacy forward. 

The latest advances can be found in the simple-to-use new Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum. The lightweight, high-dose, multi-retinoid serum helps reverse the appearance of wrinkles, re-texturise skin, minimise the appearance of pores, and even skin tone. 

According to the brand, in a clinical study, users saw a reduction in their wrinkles, pores, dark spots and texture in just two weeks of use*.

The formula has been carefully fine-tuned so each ingredient works in synergy to improve your skin while avoiding the challenges sometimes associated with retinol. 

Which means it’s an all rounder for those that like a grunty retinol (3.5% to be precise), and also those of us that battle with sensitive skin and have never found the right fit to use regularly.

What’s in it?

What makes this product different from other retinols out there? It’s all about a finely tuned combination of retinoids that work at different speeds paired with skin-nourishing ingredients that counteract any potential challenges.

In Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum, a complex of retinoids are included alongside a boosting ingredient that improves their performance for faster results. The combination delivers a continual release of skin-smoothing actives working at different speeds. Concentrated Squalane and soothing, oat-derived Beta-Glucan are also included and work together to help support skin’s moisture barrier and improve resilience.

Each ingredient’s talents are varied:

  • Retinol: Improves texture and firmness and fades the appearance of dark spots.
  • Encapsulated Retinol Spheres: Carry time-released retinol to improve fine lines and wrinkles, and even skin tone.
  • Granactive Retinoid: A stable retinoid ester that reduces fine lines, wrinkles, pores, and the appearance of dark spots as well as skin smoothness.
  • 10 HAS (Retinol Booster): Works to boost the already potent abilities of retinol.
  • Squalane: Moisturises skin, aids in hydration, and improves moisture barrier.
  • Beta-Glucan: Hydrates and smoothes the skin.

“Retinol the Dermalogica way takes a skin-health-first approach to transforming the look of skin, for real results made easy, with no compromise to the moisture barrier, “ says Caroline Parker, Dermalogica New Zealand’s Head of Education.

The verdict: What we thought

On first impression, the product has less of a runny serum texture and more of a silky gel-creme texture. This means it goes on and stays where you apply it. It spreads easily without dripping or moving into the eye area, which is important with these active ingredients.

Intended to be used nightly after cleansing and before moisturiser, I applied to my skin, starting out tentatively, by using every third night and working up to every second night after several weeks’ use. While I did this as a precaution and something I have done with other retinols, I found no obvious increased sensitivity or irritation and probably could have increased use earlier to nightly than I actually did. 

As a result I achieved glowy, more ‘alive’-looking skin that seemed smoother, with makeup gliding on like a dream each morning.

The texture around my nose was definitely minimised which I loved, and the fine forehead and nose wrinkles, or ‘bunny lines’ seemed improved too. 

The texture and consistency felt hydrating and I didn’t notice any increased dryness in the days following. 

I usually get hormonal acne and congestion around my chin but this was improved over this period of use too. 

Of course each morning I was fastidious about using SPF as retinol-use speeds skin turnover which can leave that fresh and bright new skin more susceptible to burning and damage, so it’s something to remember if you try this, or any other retinol. 

* Clinical results with 30 volunteers on reduction in appearance of wrinkles, pores, dark spots, ad uneven texture in 2 weeks test. 

  • Dermalogica’s Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum, $185, is available from and selected retailers. 




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