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These Gentle Retinol Products Deliver Results Without Harshness

All thanks to added skin-soothers and special formulations.

Often misunderstood as an ingredient that could potentially cause skin irritation, these retinol formulations feature technological breakthroughs to ensure that they have a gentle action on skin while retaining retinol’s powerful rejuvenating properties. Whether they contain a synergistic blend of ingredients that complement one another or are made with time-release abilities to have a gradual and prolonged effect on skin, here are the best retinol products to try for visible results sans irritation:

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum, $128
What makes this serum so special is its use of 6.5 per cent blend of retinoid and retinoid-like botanical extracts that provide the same benefits of traditional retinoids and retinols without any harshness or side effects. Additionally, it even has five per cent Hawaiian white honey, bisabolol, ginger, and prickly pear cactus, which work to reduce the appearance of side effects like flaking and redness typically associated with high strength retinol and retinoid products. What else this super serum does: treats wrinkles and fine lines, improves skin clarity and hydrates. Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum, $153
Each capsule is suitable for one-time application and is meant to keep the ingredients in a pristine condition, making it 76 per cent better at reducing the look of fine lines. Besides retinol, this is also formulated with hydrating oils, ceramides and peptides, which help improve elasticity. Cle de Peau Beaute Wrinkle Correcting Concentrate, $230 for 20ml
Formulated to improve the depth and length of visible wrinkles, this targeted anti-wrinkle serum uses pure retinol to stimulate collagen synthesis and maintain skin elasticity. Use directly on areas of concern, particularly around the eyes, glabellar lines and nasolabial folds to improve even deep wrinkles which have formed due to repeated facial expressions. It is also fortified with the brand’s Illuminating Complex which boosts hydration and radiance at the same time. Drunk Elephant A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream, $105 for 30ml
Thanks to a combination of retinol and a blend of peptides, botanical oils and antioxidants, the skin-replenishing benefits of retinol are bolstered in this new formula from Drunk Elephant, which also minimises redness and irritation. Peptides restore skin resilience and improves skin clarity, botanical oils repair the skin barrier layer for better moisture retention while antioxidants shield skin against environmental hazards for a healthier, smoother, plumper and more refined complexion. Plus, it comes with a deluxe-sized B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum to keep skin supple. Pixi Retinol Tonic, $22 for 100ml
Following its best-selling Glow Tonic, which accelerates cellular turnover with glycolic acid, the Retinol Tonic is a toner that gently and gradually renews skin with continued use. Over time, this blend of retinol and jasmine flower reinforces skin’s moisture barrier, improves skin radiance and even softens the appearance of wrinkles. Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum, $115 for 30ml
Featuring encapsulated retinol, vitamin C and vitamin E, this nighttime serum gradually releases retinol into your skin for a gentler effect. Plus, vitamins C and E also provides skin-brightening, antioxidants, moisture-retention and skin-firming benefits for a healthier, younger-looking complexion. First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Retinol Serum .25% Pure Concentrate, $95 for 30ml
Perfect for first-timers or those with sensitive skin types, this gentle formula features the brand’s proprietary Skin Saver Complex to ensure maximum benefits with minimum irritation. Furthermore, it is also fortified with sensitive skin-friendly ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe, colloidal oatmeal, allantoin and ceramides, which soothe, boost hydration and improves moisture retention. Plus, vitamins C and E also condition, brighten and protects the skin. Shiseido Vital-perfection Wrinklelift Cream, $160 for 15g
Designed to be used specifically on visible wrinkles, this wrinkle-correcting cream uses Shiseido’s VP8 technology to deliver pure retinol deep into skin layers to speed up collagen production so fine lines and wrinkles are smoothed. At the same time, it also protects skin against moisture loss and improves skin radiance. Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil, $148 for 35ml
Featuring a retinol ester complex, this overnight face oil reduces the appearance of ageing like fine lines, enlarged pores, rough skin, age spots and dullness for a revitalised complexion. Moreover, it is infused with blue tansy and German chamomile essential oils to help soothe skin and neutralise any signs of irritation. Botanical extracts also further condition and nourish skin for your healthiest skin yet. Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair, $190 for 30ml
Featuring microencapsulated 0.5 percent pure retinol, the skin-renewing ingredient is slowly released into the skin as you get your sleep to work in tandem with your body’s self-renewal cycle. Moreover, vitamin C improves skin discolouration, bioenergised copper amino acid complex improves skin firmness and ceramides strengthens skin’s barrier function. To use, mix one part of the Overnight Retinol Repair with a maximum of three parts of the Buffer Cream enclosed before applying onto cleansed, dry skin. Also avoid mixing with other products when using this to reduce the risk of irritation. StriVectin Advanced Retinol Intensive Night Moisturizer, $170 for 50ml
As one of the authorities in retinol use in skincare, StriVectin has improved the formulations of its retinol products consistently over the years. Thanks to its proprietary NIA-114 technology, this nighttime moisturiser optimises the efficacy of retinol while fortifying skin’s moisture barrier and keeping environmental hazards at bay. It also contains Copper Tripeptides to deliver the benefits of retinol without any irritation for younger-looking skin. Pestle & Mortar Superstar Retinol Night Oil, $174 for 30ml
If you want a product that serves the purpose of a retinol serum but gives your skin the nourishment of a face oil, look no further. With a base of cold pressed grape seed oil, it combines two non-irritating retinol derivatives, so your skin drinks it up sans irritation to reduce pore size, boost elasticity and improve skin luminosity. Tata Harper Retinoic Nutrient Face Oil, $171 for 30ml
Another choice pick for those who prefer an oil format, this one blends rosehip seed oil, with retinoic acid to transform dull and rough skin into a plump and bright complexion. Plus, the brand’s Estate Grown Beauty Complex also features extracts of arnica, borage, alfalfa, elderberry, meadowsweet and calendula to replenish skin with essentials minerals, vitamins and fatty acids for a healthier, more resilient complexion. Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum, about $126 for 30ml
Taking a two-pronged approach to anti-ageing, this powerful serum features a combination of ferulic acid and retinol to firm and reduce the appearance wrinkles while you get your beauty sleep. Super antioxidant ferulic acid neutralises free radicals that have accumulated over the day while retinol stimulates collagen renewal for healthier, brighter and smoother skin. It is also supercharged with niacinamide, which optimises the performance of the other ingredients, minimises irritation and enhances skin glow.