Main content

Retinol Guide for Beginners

Retinol 101

All you need to know about this powerful ingredient

Retinol Guide for Beginners

What is Retinol?

Although retinol has become a highly mainstream addition into the skincare routines of most, have you ever wondered what exactly retinol is? Let's break retinol down together. Retinol is a type of retinoid, derived synthetically from vitamin A. Retinol is typically found in many high-volume foods, such as carrots and eggs. Our bodies naturally produce retinol, but those levels of production decrease over time. Retinoids are known for increasing collagen production, boosting radiance, and accelerating skin cell production: all of which work hand in hand with preventing visible aging on skin. So, what is retinol? A daily skincare must-have for every single unique skin type.

What is Pure Retinol?

Pure Retinol is the most potent form of retinol available of over-the-counter. It converts in skin to retinoic acid for effective treatment of skin and visible age signs. Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum is a patent pending technology that has been precisely calibrated with an active Pure Retinol dose (0.1%), combined with Peptide and Ceramides for controlled cell renewal, thereby delivering the efficacy of Pure Retinol while minimizing discomforting effects (redness, dryness, peeling).

What Does Retinol do for Skin?

Now, onto the reason we're really all here: what does retinol actually do to improve our skin's condition? Retinol provides skin with a number of benefits. Due to it's nature of increasing collagen growth, retinol works as an anti-aging skincare ingredient, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on skin's surface with consistent use. With Retinol, skin appears radiant, younger and much plumper than prior. Consistent use of retinol can also treat dark spots on skin and skin discoloration. Skin discoloration can be tricky to deal with, especially when on the face. Rest assured that retinol is a safe and effective ingredient when dealing with such issues. Moreover, retinol's sole purpose does not lie with anti-aging: those with acne and blemished skin can rest assured that retinol will be able to help. Retinol has the ability to clear out acne and blemishes by deep diving into pores and unclogging everything in sight.

How to use Retinol?

Once you have your new retinol skincare products, how exactly should you go about implementing them into your daily skincare regimen? Don't fret - Kiehl's has got you covered. The first step in any skincare routine is a clean base: ensure you are cleansing your skin fully of any sebum, dirt or makeup residue before beginning with any skincare. Retinol should be applied once the face is fully cleansed with a face cleanser or wash, appropriate for your skin type. Apply a pea size amount of retinol cream or serum onto face starting from the chin and working your way up. For specific use, apply retinol skincare product to problem area. For optimal results, Retinol skincare products should be used daily. In order to see true results on skin, retinol skincare product use should be consistent for over 2-3 months. Pro tip: Complete your routine with our efficacious moisturizing cream and our facial sunscreen with SPF 50 for a powerhouse anti-aging trio.

How to Increase Tolerance To Retinol

Without comprising the results!


Discover Kiehl’s newest innovation: Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum.

Inspired by the science of “micro-dosing,” the use of precise ratios of potent ingredients, our efficacious serum, with Pure Retinol (0.1%), steadily promotes skin surface turnover to overtime deliver the same efficacy of traditional Retinol while minimizing the discomforting effects. 

With each daily-strength dose, fresh new skin is brought to the surface to renew the look and feel of skin.

Combined with Peptide to further support and sustain the repair benefits of Retinol, and

Ceramides to help build Retinol tolerance and fortify skin’s barrier to protect fresh new cells, minimizing discomfort.

It is so gentle it can be applied day after day even around eye delicate area, on neck, décolleté, and back of hands for a more youthful-looking appearance!




Our formulation with a daily-strength dose of Pure Retinol fits easily into skincare routines to deliver visible anti-aging results with minimum discomfort.

* 90% of users agree** skin feels comfortable throughout use, even first-time users!

Discover dramatic results:

100% Showed Reduced Wrinkles**

92% Agree Skin Tone Looks More Even***

90% Showed Improved Firmness**

88% Agree Pores Looks Minimized ***

*Minimizes visible redness, dryness and peeling.

**Results based on expert grading in a clinical test for subjects showing improvement after 12 weeks of use.

***Based on a consumer test after 12 weeks of use.

How to Find the Right Retinol?

By Dr. Meghan O’ Brien

Retinol Facts Vs. Fiction

Myths debunked

Whether you’re a first-time Retinol user or you’ve been taking advantage of this skincare ingredient’s anti-aging benefits for a while, it’s time to know your facts about Retinol. Discover the truths and myths about Retinol to learn how to minimize Retinol side effects and upgrade your anti-aging skincare routine!

Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device