• 10 Best Retinol Serums in the Philippines 2022 | Buying Guide Reviewed by Dermatologist 1
  • 10 Best Retinol Serums in the Philippines 2022 | Buying Guide Reviewed by Dermatologist 2
  • 10 Best Retinol Serums in the Philippines 2022 | Buying Guide Reviewed by Dermatologist 3
  • 10 Best Retinol Serums in the Philippines 2022 | Buying Guide Reviewed by Dermatologist 4
  • 10 Best Retinol Serums in the Philippines 2022 | Buying Guide Reviewed by Dermatologist 5

10 Best Retinol Serums in the Philippines 2022 | 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 picks for the best retinol serums in the Philippines!

This article's contributors

Dr. Meg Sison
Editorial Team
  • Last updated: 09-13-2022
Table of Contents

What Are the Benefits of Retinol?

What Are the Benefits of Retinol?

Retinol is an over-the-counter chemical that 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. 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.

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

Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Check the percentage of retinol.
  2. Look for other ingredients to go with retinol.
  3. Go for retinol in a dark bottle.

For more detailed information, read through our buying guide below.

Check the Percentage of Retinol

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. 

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 into 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. 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. 

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, and it also gives quicker results. 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.

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. 
  • 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 complimentary 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.

Go for Retinol in a Dark Bottle

Go for Retinol in a Dark Bottle

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. 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. 

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.

Compare the Best Retinol Serums

To give you a rundown, here are our top 5 picks for the best retinol serums you can buy online:


  1. Best overall: Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum
  2. Best for sensitive skin:  First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Retinol Serum .25% Pure Concentrate
  3. Best for oily skin: The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane
  4. Best potent serum: The Inkey List Retinol Serum
  5. Best for acne-prone skin: CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum
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
Luxe Organix Age Reverse Serum 1

Luxe Organix

7
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair® Serum 1

Neutrogena

8
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum 1

Olay

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

Dr. Dennis Gross

10
Ponds Age Miracle Double 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

Age Reverse Serum

Rapid Wrinkle Repair® Serum

Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum

Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum

Age Miracle Double 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

A Budget-Friendly Starter Find

Rapidly Improves Skin's Appearance

An Affordable Pick-Me-Up for Your Skin

Enriched With Ferulic Acid to Reduce Fine Lines

Say Goodbye to Dull Complexion

Price Starts at₱5,050₱3,808₱552₱870₱1,398₱499₱1,595₱1,399₱5,030₱752
PercentageNot Specified0.25%0.5%1%0.3%2.5%Not SpecifiedNot SpecifiedNot SpecifiedNot Specified
Notable IngredientsSweetie Flower Extract, Hyaluronic AcidPeptides, Vitamin C, E, Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides, Oatmeal, AllantoinSqualaneSqualaneCeramides, Niacinamide, Licorice Root ExtractHydrolyzed Collagen, Hyaluronic AcidGlucose Complex, Hyaluronic AcidNiacinamide, Amino PeptidesFerulic Acid, Niacinamide4d Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Prebiotic
PackagingPump BottlePump BottleDropper BottleTubePump BottleDropper BottlePump BottleDropper BottlePump BottlePump Bottle
Net Weight30 ml30 ml30 ml30 ml30 ml30 ml29 ml30 ml30 ml30 ml
Link

10 Best Retinol Serums to Buy Online

The products we introduce below were carefully curated by the mybest team, from the best-sellers of E-commerce sites like Lazada, and using the points mentioned in our detailed and thoroughly researched buying guide.


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

PercentageNot Specified
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 ₱1,398

Percentage0.3%
Notable IngredientsCeramides, Niacinamide, Licorice Root Extract
PackagingPump Bottle
Net Weight30 ml
6

Luxe OrganixAge Reverse Serum

From ₱499

Percentage2.5%
Notable IngredientsHydrolyzed Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid
PackagingDropper Bottle
Net Weight30 ml
7

NeutrogenaRapid Wrinkle Repair® Serum

From ₱1,595

PercentageNot Specified
Notable IngredientsGlucose Complex, Hyaluronic Acid
PackagingPump Bottle
Net Weight29 ml
8
PercentageNot Specified
Notable IngredientsNiacinamide, Amino Peptides
PackagingDropper Bottle
Net Weight30 ml
9

Dr. Dennis GrossFerulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum

From ₱5,030

PercentageNot Specified
Notable IngredientsFerulic Acid, Niacinamide
PackagingPump Bottle
Net Weight30 ml
10
PercentageNot Specified
Notable Ingredients4d Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Prebiotic
PackagingPump Bottle
Net Weight30 ml

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?

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?

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 into your skincare routine. They will be able to guide you on what type of retinol products is best for you.

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

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!

Author: J. Cuizon

How We Chose and Ranked Our Product Recommendations

Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.

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