What Is The Deal With Retinol Cream?

Retinol serums are all the rage recently – but how do they work?

You’ve probably heard of retinol serums once or twice: they’re one of the latest anti-aging trends that have hit the skincare market, and they do talk up a big game. Maybe it’s because it seems a little too good to be true: a cream that you can just apply daily that helps keep the inexorable march of time away from your face? What kind of magic is this?

Fortunately, retinol creams are science, not magic: these skin care products have all received glowing reviews due to how well they get rid of wrinkles, tighten skin, and rejuvenate your appearance. So here’s our quick guide to the best retinol creams in Australia – and some pointers on how to use them effectively.

RELATED: Got red, sensitive skin? Here’s how to fix it

What Is Retinol Anyway?

But first, what exactly is inside a bottle of retinol cream? Retinol is a distilled form of Vitamin A – the good stuff that you usually find in dark leafy vegetables. You do get a good enough amount of Vitamin A from eating said vegetables, but they take some time to circulate through your bloodstream, so in terms of skincare, retinol creams are the way to go.

A lady doing a facial treatment
(Credit: Getty)

Retinol cream can function as a:

  • Moisturiser for dry skin
  • Reduce oil production
  • Whiten and lighten dark spots
  • Promote blood circulation
  • Can tighten pore
  • Face cream for acne problems

It’s basically a rejuvenation formula for your face, with all these benefits helping you look younger, fairer, and more refreshed with regular use.

Before You Buy

But before we get to the products, here are some things that you should absolutely keep in mind before using any kind of retinol product:


It’s not recommended for people in their 20s to be using retinol because it’s a very powerful ingredient. Applying retinol cream too early can cause your skin to actually break down due to being overstimulated. It’s best to wait till you’re in your early 30s to start using it.

Skin type

Retinol is strong stuff – and not everyone’s skin will react to it the same. Make sure that the product or formula you’ve bought corresponds to your matching skin type, or you can experience some unpleasant side effects.

Lady putting cream under eye
(Credit: Getty)

Prescription vs. OTC

Retinol serums come in prescription and over-the-counter varieties, and it might be confusing as to which one you should pick. Ideally, you should only be using OTC retinol the younger you are because they’re less strong and your skin doesn’t need as much.

Skincare routine

Finally, you’ll also need to take your skin care routine into consideration when applying retinol. Since it often comes in many varieties – hand cream, body lotion, night cream, and so on – you’ll need to establish a consistent skin care routine, since that gives you the best results.

And of course, always remember to consult a doctor before applying any sort of cream to your skin! They’ll have a good idea of what particular serum is most compatible with you, and can help you avoid the worst of the potential side effects if it ever happens.

Retinol Cream Australia: The 5 Top Picks

5. Olay 

Formulated without additional fillers, dyes, phthalates, sulphates or fragrances, this essential new collection delivers a plump and dewy complexion to be envious of. It does this through Olay’s proprietary Retinol 24 Retinoid Complex, and a Bio-available formula combining Pure Retinol, Retinyl Propionate, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), and Amino Peptides.

This Retinoid Complex is a highly stabilised form of Retinol that is more concentrated and less irritating. The Bio- available formula ensures 24-hour potency that penetrates up to 10 layers deep into skin*, to promise:

  • Round-the-clock 24 hours hydration

  • Renewal of skin cells for plumper, radiant-looking skin

  • Visible improvements in fine lines and wrinkles

  • Improved skin smoothness, skin tone and firmness

  • Diminished pores and dark spots

The range is available at all leading pharmacies and groceries nationwide including Priceline, Woolworths, Coles and Chemist Warehouse from May 2020.

(Credit: Olay)

4. CosMedix Serum 16

Don’t be alarmed by the intense-sounding name – this serum is actually quite gentle on the skin in addition to being great for moisturising. If you’re just starting to dip your toes into the world of retinol treatments or have sensitive skin, this is definitely the product for you.

Buy it here.

3. The No Brainer Set By The Ordinary

A product that’s affordable and does exactly what it says on the tin? Sign me up! This skincare set by The Ordinary is one of the more accessible retinol products in the market and is made with eco-friendly products. It’s also suitable for most skin types.

Buy it here.

2. Age Defense Retinol Complex .25 by SkinMedica

If your routine goes heavy into night applications (after all, it’s not called “beauty sleep” for nothing), then the Age Defense Retinol Complex can be your new bedtime routine. This night lotion is compatible with most skin types and can be bought over the counter!

Buy it here.

1. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream

(Credit: Supplied)

Widely considered as the best anti-aging cream on the market today, Neutrogena’s products have been clinically tested for both safety and effectiveness in anti-aging. They’re highly trusted by celebrities and ordinary folk alike and have a wide array of products from hand creams to lotions.

Buy it here.

You can always check the varieties and prices of these products through the Priceline Pharmacy website or Chemist Warehouse – who knows, you might even chance upon a special offer or sale if you do!


But can these products stop your skin from aging? Sadly, no – all of us are subject to aging eventually. But do these products help with the symptoms of aging? Absolutely! With regular (and careful) use, you can keep yourself looking fresh and fabulous amidst all the demands that daily life put on you.

RELATED: The secret to Emily Ratajkowski’s glowing skin

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