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There’s a pure retinol formula for every skin goal, with each containing varied strengths. Serums and creams which contain this superhero skincare ingredient are highly efficacious no matter the percentage used, but micro dose retinol and high dose retinol do have different effects on skin.

What Retinol Dose To Use

Determining how much retinol to use will depend on a few factors. Your skin sensitivity levels, how experienced you are with the ingredient and the concerns you have – like anti-ageing, breakouts, or dullness – all play into the right retinol dosage for skin.

It is important to select the right concentration before you start use. Because of its potency, retinol heightens skin sensitivity, often causing side effects – termed ‘retinol uglies’ – in the initial weeks. The wrong dosage may impact the effectiveness of the product or side effects. To see whether 0.1 or 0.3 retinol is right for you, we’ve compiled a simplified breakdown for beginner pure retinol application.

The benefits of pure retinol serum

Retinol serums are high-quality steps in skincare routines. Commonly divided into either night-time or morning formulas, a pure retinol serum accelerates skin renewal, surfacing stronger, younger, and brighter skin. This is great for complexions in a few different ways. Visible effects on skin achieved by both high and low dose retinol include:

  • Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Evened skin tone
  • Diminished acne-prone concerns
  • Brightened complexions
  • Improved skin texture

  • For those wondering ‘what retinol should I start with?’, the depth of these concerns is something to consider. To help reduce the onset of early ageing for example, a micro dose retinol is a gentle and steady option. If you have deep-set wrinkles and lines already apparent, a higher retinol dosage for skin may be the right choice.

    Choosing retinol dosage for skin

    All pure retinol serum, whether low or high dose, should be introduced to skincare routines gradually. When starting a retinol routine, it’s recommended to opt for a low dose retinol to begin. This is because, unlike purely hydrating or exfoliating ingredients, retinol interacts with skin at a cellular level. Skin can become accustomed to increased cellular turnover, but this does take time. Increasing 0.1 retinol to 0.3 retinol and beyond is common – so always consider usage as a gradual journey.

    Which retinol should I use?

    As opposed to prescription retinoids like tretinoin, pure retinol can be purchased and applied easily and quickly. For radiantly renewed skin and long-term results, see which of the range of Kiehl’s plant powered retinol to choose.

    Low dose retinol

    Micro dose or low dose retinol products are those which contain between 0.1% and 0.3%. Optimal for first time use and for those with highly dry or sensitive skin, this retinol dosage for skin still has highly beneficial and visible benefits. Using micro dose retinol also allows you to apply the product daily, shortening the wait time between applications.

    Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum

    A potent, low dose pure retinol serum suitable for continuous daily use. Used to target signs of ageing and improve skin texture by decreasing pore size, the formulas deliver visible retinol benefits in controlled dosages. The inclusion of peptides and ceramides helps to promotes a strong skin barrier. Perfect for beginners and those with sensitive skin, 100% percent of users showed wrinkle reduction with consistent use1.

    Discover Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum.

    Retinol Micro Dose

    High dose retinol

    High dose retinol products are those that contain concentrations between 0.3% and 1.0%. These dosages provide quick results, but their strength means that they’re recommended for those who have experience with pure retinol. The frequency at which a 0.3 retinol can be applied is slower than lighter forms – but once skin adjusts to it, they can usually be applied daily. For those with deeper skin concerns, we suggest this strength of pure retinol serum.

    Retinol Fast Release Wrinkle-Reducing Night Serum

    A powerful, night-time serum designed for wrinkles, fine lines, and visibly youthful skin. Penetrating up to 15 layers of skin, this serum accelerates skin renewal and decreases the appearance of fine lines in just 5 days. Deeper-set wrinkles are reduced in 2 weeks, with correct usage.

    Discover Retinol Fast Release Wrinkle-Reducing Night Serum.

    Retinol Night Serum

    What to pair with pure retinol serum

    Alongside how much retinol to use, what you pair it with matters. Because all concentrations dry skin out, your moisture intake should increase. This can be achieved either by applying a thicker-textured moisturiser than usual, or by layering a pure retinol serum between creams. Also beneficial are nourishing and gentle ingredients like niacinamide or panthenol found in cleansers and serums. These nutrients support skin barrier strength and support comfort across skin. Finally, one of the most important pairings with pure retinol is sunscreen. Sensitivity to UV radiation increases through retinol use, so applying optimal sun protection ensures your complexion is protected against further skin stress.

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