• 10 Best Retinol Serums in the Philippines 2021 - Buying Guide Reviewed By Dermatologist 1
  • 10 Best Retinol Serums in the Philippines 2021 - Buying Guide Reviewed By Dermatologist 2
  • 10 Best Retinol Serums in the Philippines 2021 - Buying Guide Reviewed By Dermatologist 3
  • 10 Best Retinol Serums in the Philippines 2021 - Buying Guide Reviewed By Dermatologist 4
  • 10 Best Retinol Serums in the Philippines 2021 - Buying Guide Reviewed By Dermatologist 5

10 Best Retinol Serums in the Philippines 2021 - Buying Guide Reviewed By Dermatologist

When it comes to anti-aging skin care products, retinol almost always comes up. It is considered the gold standard for its ability to reach deeply into your skin and renew skin cell production and push renewed skin to the surface minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. It has also been raved about for its ability to give you youthful and glowing skin!  However, as much as it is praised, retinol is also often misunderstood and feared. 


We're here to put those fears to rest! We have prepared a buying guide to help you understand how retinol works and how to integrate it into your skincare routine. Dermatologist Dr. Maria Elinor Grace "Meg" Sison also shares some of her comments and tips regarding this topic! Later on, we'll also share our top 10 retinol serums as well as a simple tip on how to apply them!

Experts featured in this article

Dr. Meg Sison
  • Last updated: 07-26-2021
  • 2,847 views
Table of Contents

In Collaboration With Dermatologist Dr. Maria Elinor Grace Sison

In Collaboration With Dermatologist Dr. Maria Elinor Grace Sison

Maria Elinor Grace "Meg" Sison, MD, MPM, FPDS, is a board-certified dermatologist who practices in the Philippines and sees both medical and cosmetic dermatological cases on the skin, hair, and nails.


For more skincare tips, you can read her blog, or you can like and follow her on Instagram and Facebook!

What Is Retinol?

What Is Retinol?

Retinol is an over-the-counter chemical, which is a Vitamin A derivative. It actually falls under retinoids, which is the umbrella term for all things retinol. Retinol esters or retinol palmitate, retinol, retinaldehyde or retinal, and retinoic acid are the different forms of retinoids.


They vary in composition and strength, with retinol esters being the most gentle to retinoic acid, which is the most potent. You might also know it as prescription strength Tretinoin, Adapalene, and Tazarotene.

What Is Retinol?

This penetrates deeply into your skin and helps speed up skin cell turnover and stimulates collagen production, which is why it is constantly praised for its anti-aging abilities. It also improves the appearance of fine lines, skin texture, and hyperpigmentation.


Despite being one of the more moderate forms of retinoid, retinol is quite potent, and it can cause redness, irritation, and scaling particularly if you have sensitive skin. Though you can use it, you just have to start with low levels of concentration.

Dr. Meg Sison
Dermatologist
Dr. Meg Sison

Retinol is a type of retinoid that is an umbrella term for structural and functional analogs of vitamin A. Retinoids are classified according to first, second, or third generation. First-generation retinoids include tretinoin, isotretinoin, and alitretinoin. Second-generation retinoids are acitretin and etretinate. Third-generation retinoids include adapalene, tazarotene, and bexarotene.

Retinols (retinol esters) are over-the-counter retinoids commonly found in skin care products like moisturizers and serums. They are the least irritating among all retinoids, but they require three steps before they can be converted to tretinoin and see their benefits on the skin.

How to Choose a Retinol Serum - Buying Guide

Retinol is a skincare ingredient that must not be rushed into particularly if you've never used it before. Start slow and gradually increase application in order to minimize any irritation and adverse reaction. Retinol also has varying levels of percentages. Read our guide below on how to find out the best one for you. 

Check the Percentage of Retinol

Before purchasing retinol, make sure to check its percentage. Retinol has different levels of concentration and its application would depend on whether you are a bonafide user or a newbie to it. It's not as simple as selecting one with the highest potency in hopes of seeing immediate results.


It is meant to be incorporated into your skincare routine gradually otherwise you'd risk irritation. If not indicated, you could check the order of ingredients. It usually goes by decreasing order, with the first one listed containing the largest amount in the product so you'd have a bit of an idea. 

Go Low Strength (0.01 to 0.25%) for Beginners

Go Low Strength (0.01 to 0.25%) for Beginners

The lowest concentration is around 0.01 - 0.25%, and it is ideal for those who want to try incorporating it in their skincare routine and those with sensitive skin – about twice a week, every 3 days. 


This way, your skin has time to acclimate to the product, and you are doing it in low doses until you can build up a tolerance to the product. It helps if you do a patch test first and consult with your dermatologist to see what percentage would be appropriate for you. 

Go Low Strength (0.01 to 0.25%) for Beginners

It is said that retinol should be used in your 30s, but you can actually start in your mid-20s as it is a great way for the preventive maintenance of your skin. 


This way, a low dose could take care of the overall improvement in your skin’s appearance to prevent fine lines, crow’s feet, and unclog pores, among others. This can also help give you bright and glowing skin!

Dr. Meg Sison
Dermatologist
Dr. Meg Sison

For those who will be using retinol for the first time, start with the lowest concentration and use it twice a week before gradually increasing the frequency of usage. Make sure to apply first on a small area (for example, back of ears or jawline) and observe for any reactions like stinging, burning, peeling, itching, or redness within 24 to 72 hours. You can also apply moisturizer before and after applying retinol to lessen the chances of skin irritation ("retinoid sandwich").

Try Moderate Strength (0.3 to 0.5%) if You Want to Switch Up Your Routine

Try Moderate Strength (0.3 to 0.5%) if You Want to Switch Up Your Routine

Moderate strength retinol could range from 0.3 – 0.5%, and keep in mind that the higher the percentage, the more potent its effects. If you have oily or thicker skin, you could get away with using a higher dose but be sure to observe any reactions first and consult with your derm.


At this stage is where you would want to use retinol about 2-3 times a week, again depending on your skin’s tolerance. This is where you would be able to see a more significant effect in your skin’s appearance, such as improvement of your skin’s condition against signs of aging and damage such as hyperpigmentation and fine lines. 


If your skin has already gotten used to retinol and you want to bump up the potency, then you could go for moderate strength. 

Dr. Meg Sison
Dermatologist
Dr. Meg Sison

Once you are able to tolerate low concentrations of retinol for at least a month, you can try concentrations of 0.3 to 0.5% but make sure to use it twice a week for at least 2 weeks before increasing the application to every night. 


Also, make sure to apply on a small area and observe for the abovementioned reactions before applying the product on the entire face and neck. You can likewise use the retinoid sandwich technique when applying moderate strength retinol.

High Strength (1 to 2%) for Quick Results

High Strength (1 to 2%) for Quick Results

High strength retinol goes from 1 – 2%, which is the highest you could go without needing a prescription. Anything else should be consulted with your dermatologist as it exceeds over-the-counter use and could have dangerous side effects if incorrectly applied. 


This is ideal if you want to deal with advanced signs of aging, such as noticeable wrinkles and dead skin cells for renewed and brighter-looking skin. If you want to reach this stage, you should be a regular retinol user and can tolerate its use about every other day.


High levels of retinol would also provide much quicker results though this doesn’t mean you should skip the long process and head straight to a highly concentrated one.

Dr. Meg Sison
Dermatologist
Dr. Meg Sison

For those who wanted to use higher strength retinol, start at twice a week, just like in the low and moderate strength retinol. You can also opt to use this 2 to three times a week instead of every night to lessen the chances of skin irritation. The retinoid sandwich technique is recommended to prevent skin irritation, redness, or peeling.

Look for Other Ingredients to Go With Retinol

Look for Other Ingredients to Go With Retinol

Retinol by itself is rather drying, which is why it is sometimes used to treat acne. However, there are other ingredients in your serum that could prevent your skin from flaking out too much and give you added benefits!


Hyaluronic acid is one of the ingredients that could be safely paired with retinol. It is a humectant, which draws water to the surface of your skin. This keeps it moisturized and plump so your skin won’t feel too dry. 


Ceramides are also a great moisturizing ingredient to combine with retinol, as it locks moisture into your skin. It also improves visible signs of aging such as fine lines and blocks environmental damage. 

Look for Other Ingredients to Go With Retinol

Peptides are another ingredient beneficial in your serum. It is an amino acid that contains collagen and elastin, which can reduce wrinkles and plump up the skin to make it firmer. 


When coupled with retinol, these ingredients are able to counteract some irritating side effects aside from enhancing anti-aging properties. Conversely, you must avoid using retinol with acids such as AHA and BHA to avoid drying out your skin from over-exfoliation. 

Dr. Meg Sison
Dermatologist
Dr. Meg Sison

Hyaluronic acid is great to be paired with retinol because it functions as a humectant that draws moisture from the atmosphere and provides the skin with much need hydration, especially since retinol can cause skin dryness. 


Ceramides function as emollients that fill in the spaces of our skin cells and make our skin smoother. Peptides aid in collagen synthesis in a different mechanism than retinol, and both are complementary if you want to reap their antiaging benefits


Chemical exfoliants like AHAs and BHAs can increase cellular turnover like retinol, so they should not be used at the same time to avoid skin irritation.

Take Note of the Packaging

Take Note of the Packaging

Serums are often housed in pumps and droppers, which aren’t just for aesthetic purposes. It also has something to do with the product’s efficacy and shelf life.


Retinol is rather unstable; this means that when you take it out to use it, it oxidizes a little. When shopping for serums, opt for a dark-colored bottle, this is to protect it from exposure to sunlight as it could spoil easily and render it useless. 

Take Note of the Packaging

Pump bottles are great as it protects the product from being oxidized seeing as you can just pump what you need. It is also great when you want to use your hands to apply the product.


On the other hand, droppers allow more control over the amount of product used. You can use as little or as much as you want. The downside is, you expose the entirety of the product. 

Dr. Meg Sison
Dermatologist
Dr. Meg Sison

Look for retinol serums packaged in dark bottles or pumps as they prevent the retinol from becoming unstable. Make sure that the dropper does not touch your face and neck when applying the retinol serum to prevent contamination by microorganisms. Your hands should also be clean before applying the product to your face and neck.

10 Best Retinol Serums to Buy Online

Now that you know what to look for in retinol serums, you're probably excited to put them to the test. We present to you our top 10 best retinol serums. Whether you are curious to try it out or an experienced user, we've got something for you!


Disclaimer: These products are recommendations made by our team at mybest Philippines. Our expert, Dr. Maria Elinor Grace Sison, MD, MPM, FPDS, is not affiliated with, nor is she endorsing any of the brands we mention below.

**Prices may vary depending on the website and their campaign period**

1

MuradRetinol Youth Renewal Serum

From ₱5,050

Percentage-
Notable IngredientsSweetie Flower Extract, Hyaluronic Acid
PackagingPump Bottle
Net Weight30 ml
2

First Aid BeautySkin Lab Retinol Serum .25% Pure Concentrate

From ₱3,808

Percentage0.25%
Notable IngredientsPeptides, Vitamin C, E, Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides, Oatmeal, Allantoin
PackagingPump Bottle
Net Weight30 ml
3

The OrdinaryRetinol 0.5% in Squalane

From ₱552

Percentage0.5%
Notable IngredientsSqualane
PackagingDropper Bottle
Net Weight30 ml
4

The Inkey ListRetinol Serum

From ₱870

Percentage1%
Notable IngredientsSqualane
PackagingTube
Net Weight30 ml
5

CeraVeResurfacing Retinol Serum

From ₱1,260

Percentage0.3%
Notable IngredientsCeramides, Niacinamide, Licorice Root Extract
PackagingPump Bottle
Net Weight30 ml
6
Percentage-
Notable IngredientsNiacinamide, Amino Peptides
PackagingDropper Bottle
Net Weight30 ml
7

Luxe OrganixAge Reverse Serum

From ₱499

Percentage2.5%
Notable IngredientsHydrolyzed Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid
PackagingDropper Bottle
Net Weight30 ml
8

NeutrogenaRapid Wrinkle Repair® Serum

From ₱1,595

Percentage-
Notable IngredientsGlucose Complex, Hyaluronic Acid
PackagingPump Bottle
Net Weight29 ml
9

Dr. Dennis GrossFerulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum

From ₱5,030

Percentage-
Notable IngredientsFerulic Acid, Niacinamide
PackagingPump Bottle
Net Weight30 ml
10
Percentage-
Notable Ingredients4d Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Prebiotic
PackagingPump Bottle
Net Weight30 ml

Compare the Best Retinol Serums

Image
1
Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum 1

Murad

2
First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Retinol Serum .25% Pure Concentrate 1

First Aid Beauty

3
The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane 1

The Ordinary

4
The Inkey List Retinol Serum 1

The Inkey List

5
CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum 1

CeraVe

6
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum 1

Olay

7
Luxe Organix Age Reverse Serum 1

Luxe Organix

8
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair® Serum 1

Neutrogena

9
Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum 1

Dr. Dennis Gross

10
Ponds Age Miracle Youthful Glow Double Action Serum 1

Ponds

Name

Retinol Youth Renewal Serum

Skin Lab Retinol Serum .25% Pure Concentrate

Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

Retinol Serum

Resurfacing Retinol Serum

Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum

Age Reverse Serum

Rapid Wrinkle Repair® Serum

Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum

Age Miracle Youthful Glow Double Action Serum

Features

A Retinol Serum That's Safe for Sensitive Skin

Skin Saver Complex to Minimize Irritation

Boost Anti-Aging Effects With Squalane

Reduces Signs of Aging With Less Irritation

Gently Gets Rid of Acne Marks

An Affordable Pick-Me-Up for Your Skin

A Budget-Friendly Starter Find

Rapidly Improves Skin's Appearance

Enriched With Ferulic Acid to Reduce Fine Lines

Say Goodbye to Dull Complexion

Price Starts at₱5,050₱3,808₱552₱870₱1,260₱1,399₱499₱1,595₱5,030₱649
Percentage-0.25%0.5%1%0.3%-2.5%---
Notable IngredientsSweetie Flower Extract, Hyaluronic AcidPeptides, Vitamin C, E, Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides, Oatmeal, AllantoinSqualaneSqualaneCeramides, Niacinamide, Licorice Root ExtractNiacinamide, Amino PeptidesHydrolyzed Collagen, Hyaluronic AcidGlucose Complex, Hyaluronic AcidFerulic Acid, Niacinamide4d Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Prebiotic
PackagingPump BottlePump BottleDropper BottleTubePump BottleDropper BottleDropper BottlePump BottlePump BottlePump Bottle
Net Weight30 ml30 ml30 ml30 ml30 ml30 ml30 ml29 ml30 ml30 ml
Link

How to Apply Retinol Serum

Follow this video by Dermstore to find out how to apply retinol to achieve the best results! Remember to take your time with using retinol, it is important you build up your tolerance first to the product. What's important is consistency. 


Steps:

  1. Apply a pea-sized amount and start from the chin and use gentle upward and outward motions. 
  2. If you have sensitive skin, you can apply moisturizer first to buffer the effect. This won't render it useless but instead, decrease its potency so it's not as harsh on your skin. This also works for beginners too if you're quite hesitant to use retinol!
  3. Apply at night as sunlight decreases its efficacy. Make sure to use sunscreen everyday. This is because your skin will be much more sensitive to the sun because of the turnover of skin. 
Dr. Meg Sison
Dermatologist
Dr. Meg Sison

Apply a pea-sized amount of the product at night on the face and neck. You can use the retinoid sandwich technique, where you apply moisturizer before and after applying retinol.

Frequently Asked Questions Answered By Dr. Meg Sison

Frequently Asked Questions Answered By Dr. Meg Sison

To jumpstart your journey to younger-looking skin, here are some of Dr. Meg SIson's answers to the most asked questions on the web!

How Often Should You Use Retinol Serum?

How Often Should You Use Retinol Serum?

Start at the lowest concentrations (twice a week at night for at least 1 month), especially if it's your first time, and gradually increase the frequency of application once you are able to tolerate it. 


Take note that we do not need higher concentrations because they can result in skin irritation, leading to discontinuing the retinol altogether. Make sure to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day.

Who Should Use Retinol Serum?

Who Should Use Retinol Serum?

Retinol serums can be used by individuals as early as their mid-20s to start reaping the benefits. However, retinol is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women.


Always consult a board-certified dermatologist if you want to incorporate retinol in your skincare routine. They will be able to guide you on what type of retinol is the best for you.

When Should You Use Retinol Serum?

When Should You Use Retinol Serum?

Retinol serums are recommended for nighttime use because they can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays if used during the day. In addition, sunlight can also degrade retinol which can make it less effective.

All You Need for Glowing Skin

All You Need for Glowing Skin

Retinol isn't the only skincare ingredient to maintain youthful-looking and glowing skin. If you're not a fan of retinol or want a much gentler alternative, here are other skincare products you could use!

Summary

Retinol is hailed as the gold standard for anti-aging and with good reason! It is capable of penetrating into your skin to promote new skin cells while minimizing signs of aging such as wrinkles making you look brighter and younger. It may sound intimidating if you have never tried it before, but being well-informed lets you use it safely!


Author: J. Cuizon


Like and follow our Instagram and Facebook page for updates! 

Related Articles

Popular Articles

  • 10 Best Whitening Soaps in the Philippines 2021 (Belo, SkinWhite, and More)
    10 Best Whitening Soaps in the Philippines 2021 (Belo, SkinWhite, and More)
    Whitening products are perennially present in the bathrooms of many Filipino homes. You'll see skin whitening products everywhere from TV commercials to the grocery's skincare aisle. As such, skincare aficionados like you must've come across various kinds of whitening soap. Due to the massive volume of whitening soap in the market, it could be hard to determine the one that suits you best. In this article, you'll find a list of the best whitening soaps from different brands, a buying guide to where you will learn about the qualities to look for in whitening soap, plus some tips on how to keep your skin bright and healthy!
    Cosmetics and skincare
    29,535 views
  • 10 Best Sunscreens for Face in the Philippines 2021 - Buying Guide Reviewed By Dermatologist
    10 Best Sunscreens for Face in the Philippines 2021 - Buying Guide Reviewed By Dermatologist
    Sunscreen has been claimed to be the best anti-aging measure you will do to your skin. No matter how expensive your serums are and how much moisturizer you apply, it will all go to waste if you don't incorporate sunscreen into your skincare routine. Choosing the right sunscreen that will agree with your skin is quite stressful. We've made choosing easier for you! We asked the guidance of dermatologist Dr. Jarische Lao-Ang regarding the important points to consider when choosing sunscreen for your face. We've also scoured the web and made a list so you can find your sunscreen match without the extra hassle! We included brands like Biore and Anessa, so make sure to compare and find the one that's best for you.
    Cosmetics and skincare
    21,265 views
  • 10 Best Bar Soaps in the Philippines 2021 - Buying Guide Reviewed By Dermatologist
    10 Best Bar Soaps in the Philippines 2021 - Buying Guide Reviewed By Dermatologist
    There has been an increase in liquid and powder-type facial cleansers on the market. Nonetheless, we shouldn’t forget about bar soaps. Many people are starting to convert from solid soaps. However, there are significant benefits of using bar soaps, and there are so many reasons why it should still be a staple bathroom and shower partner.To state some, you can use bar soaps on your body and face; bar soaps are as versatile as any soap out there. In this article, we’re going to introduce to you our top 10 recommended bar soaps to buy online. With that, we’re also going to explain some factors to consider when you’re choosing a solid soap - we even asked for comments and tips from dermatologist Dr. Maria Elinor Grace (Meg) Sison!
    Cosmetics and skincare
    34,262 views
  • 10 Best Whitening Lotions in the Philippines 2021 - Buying Guide Reviewed By Dermatologist
    10 Best Whitening Lotions in the Philippines 2021 - Buying Guide Reviewed By Dermatologist
    Skin-whitening is one of the obsessions of Filipinos and Asian culture in general. You'll see the word "whitening" in every skin product aisle. Due to reasons like sun damage, stress, pollution, or an unhealthy diet, these things can cause discoloration or damage to the skin. A practical solution to keep the skin even and healthy is to use whitening lotions.In this article, with the guidance of dermatologist Dr. Krizia Ty, we discuss the things you need to look for when buying a whitening product, specifically whitening lotion used for the body. This will be featured in our buying guide section. Before that,  we have a list of the best whitening lotions from different brands that we recommend. Keep on reading to find out more!
    Cosmetics and skincare
    30,864 views
  • 10 Best Lip Tints in the Philippines 2021 (Benefit, Glamboss, and More)
    10 Best Lip Tints in the Philippines 2021 (Benefit, Glamboss, and More)
    Lip tints give you a flush of color that looks light and natural on your lips, and they don't feel heavy. They are also long-lasting, so you don't have to retouch no matter how long your meetings run. Just one swipe of a lip tint is enough to give you a put-together look. You can choose from different types and finishes like peel-off, liquid, stick, and matte lip tints!For the best ones in the market, check out our list of recommendations below and read our buying guide to find out everything you need to know about lip tints! We included brands like Ever Bilena, Tony Moly, Benefit, and The Glamour House—and you can buy all of these from online stores like Lazada, Watsons, and more!
    Cosmetics and skincare
    5,273 views
  • 10 Best Eyeshadow Sticks in the Philippines 2021 (Laura Mercier, Happy Skin, and More)
    10 Best Eyeshadow Sticks in the Philippines 2021 (Laura Mercier, Happy Skin, and More)
    It is no secret that creating perfect and intricate eye makeup takes time and effort, which is why many of us tend to shy away from doing them. But good thing there are eyeshadow sticks that offer an easy way to add a dash of color and shimmer to our lids with minimal effort!You can simply swipe them on your lids and blend them using your finger! Aside from that, they are also versatile and made for extended wear. Now, if you're ready to add this innovative makeup product to your kikay kit, continue reading for some recommendations and buying tips below!
    Cosmetics and skincare
    117 views
  • Popular Item Lists

    Search by Category