Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

The Ordinary Retinol Review:

The Ordinary Retinol Review by Dermatologist: Is it Worth it?

The Ordinary Retinol Review by Dermatologist:

The Ordinary Retinol is a popular retinol product that is known for being affordable and effective. It is available in a variety of strengths, so that users can gradually build up their tolerance to retinol.

In this article, we will review The Ordinary Retinol from a dermatologist’s perspective. We will discuss the pros and cons of the product, who it is best for, and how to use it safely and effectively. We will also compare The Ordinary Retinol to other retinol products on the market.

Whether you are new to retinol or you are looking for a new retinol product to try, this article will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

The Ordinary Retinol review by dermatologist

Dermatologists generally have a positive impression of The Ordinary Retinol. They appreciate that it is an affordable and effective retinol product. They also like that it is available in a variety of strengths, so that users can gradually build up their tolerance to retinol.

Some dermatologists may caution that The Ordinary Retinol can be irritating to sensitive skin, and that it may take several weeks or months to see results. However, overall, dermatologists view The Ordinary Retinol as a good option for people who are looking for an affordable and effective way to improve their skin.

Here is a quote from Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist in New York City:

“The Ordinary Retinol is a great option for people who are new to retinol or who are looking for a budget-friendly retinol product. It is important to start with a low strength retinol and to use it gradually to minimize the risk of irritation.”

The main ingredient in The Ordinary retinol products is retinol itself, which is encapsulated in squalane oil for improved stability and absorption. Squalane is a lightweight and non-comedogenic oil that helps moisturize and protect the skin.


  • Affordable
  • Effective
  • Available in a variety of strengths
  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan


  • Can be irritating to sensitive skin
  • May take several weeks or months to see results

Who is The Ordinary Retinol best for?

The Ordinary Retinol is best for people who are looking for an affordable and effective way to improve their skin texture, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and even out their skin tone. It is also a good option for people who are struggling with acne.

Here are some specific groups of people who may benefit from using The Ordinary Retinol:

  • People with aging skin: Retinol can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture, and even out skin tone.
  • People with acne: Retinol can help to unclog pores and reduce the appearance of acne blemishes.
  • People with hyperpigmentation: Retinol can help to fade hyperpigmentation, such as dark spots and sun spots.
  • People with oily skin: Retinol can help to regulate oil production and reduce the appearance of oily skin.

It is important to note that The Ordinary Retinol is not suitable for everyone. It can be irritating to sensitive skin, and it is not recommended for use by pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Benefits and Expectations

Using The Ordinary retinol can lead to a variety of benefits, including improved skin texture, minimized fine lines and wrinkles, reduction in hyperpigmentation, and a more even skin tone. However, individual results may vary, and it is important to have realistic expectations and consistent usage to achieve desired outcomes.

Retinoids come in different strengths. Here are different strengths of Retinoids from mild to strong ones:

  • Retinol esters, like retinol palmitate, need to undergo three conversions to become usable by our skin.
  • Retinol requires two conversions: first into retinaldehyde and then into retinoic acid before our skin can utilize it. As a result, it is not as potent as retinaldehyde.
  • Retinaldehyde needs to be converted into retinoic acid before our skin can benefit from it. This conversion process reduces its potency as a retinoid.
  • Retinoic acid is the strongest type of retinoid that our skin cells can use effectively. It is only available with a prescription, usually in the form of tretinoin (Retin-A).

Difference between Retinol and Granactive Retinoids:

  • Molecular Structure: Retinol is a pure form of vitamin A that is found naturally in the skin and can be derived from animal sources. It has a relatively large molecular structure, which can make it less stable and slower to penetrate the skin. While Granactive retinoids, also known as hydroxypinacolone retinoate (HPR), are a newer generation of retinoids. They are synthetic compounds that have been chemically modified to have a smaller molecular size, allowing for enhanced stability and better skin penetration.
  • Potency and Efficacy: Retinol is considered a moderately potent retinoid. It undergoes conversion into retinaldehyde and then further into retinoic acid in the skin, which is the active form that produces its beneficial effects. However, this conversion process can be inefficient, resulting in a slower onset of action and potentially milder effects. Granactive retinoids are often touted for their high potency and efficacy. They are designed to bypass the conversion steps required by retinol and directly interact with retinoid receptors in the skin. This direct activation can lead to faster and more noticeable results compared to retinol.
  • Skin Tolerance and Irritation: Due to its moderately potent nature, retinol is generally well-tolerated by most individuals. However, it can still cause some degree of skin irritation, especially when first starting a retinol regimen. Granactive retinoids are known for their lower potential to cause skin irritation compared to traditional retinol. Granactive retinoids are gentle on skin as compared to retinols.

Types of The Ordinary Retinol

The Ordinary skin care brand understands that not everybody’s skin is same. They know that every skin needs different strengths of Retinol. Hence The Ordinary has six different forms of Retinol.

They have:

  • The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in squalane
  • The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in squalane
  • The Ordinary Retinol 1% in squalane
  • The Ordinary Granactive retinoid 2% emulsion 
  • The Ordinary Granactive retinoid 2% in squalane
  • The Ordinary Granactive retinoid 5% in squalane

1. The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane Review

The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane is the mildest concentration available. It is suitable for beginners and individuals with sensitive skin who are new to retinol. This gentle formula helps improve skin texture, fine lines, and overall skin appearance.


  • Suitable for retinol beginners and sensitive skin types
  • Helps improve skin texture and fine lines
  • Contains squalane for added hydration


  • May take longer to see noticeable results compared to higher concentrations
  • May not be as effective for more advanced signs of aging or severe skin concerns

2. The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane Review

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane is a moderate-strength retinol formulation suitable for those with some experience using retinol or who have normal to tolerant skin. It helps address signs of aging, uneven skin tone, and texture.

the ordinary retinol 0.5% in squalane before and after


  • Suitable for individuals with some experience using retinol
  • Helps address signs of aging, uneven skin tone, and texture
  • Contains squalane for added hydration


  • May cause mild irritation or sensitivity, particularly for retinol beginners
  • Gradual introduction is still recommended for those with sensitive skin

3. The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane Review

The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane is the highest concentration offered by The Ordinary. Retinol 1% in Squalane—a water-free solution that tackles fine lines, improves skin texture, and evens out tone.

the ordinary retinol review dermatologist

With the added benefits of moisturizing squalane, it keeps your skin hydrated while combating dryness often associated with retinol use. Start with lower concentrations and work your way up, or try the gentle Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion if you have sensitive skin. Experience the transformative effects of retinol for a youthful glow.

Ingredients: Squalane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Retinol, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, BHT.


  • Targets advanced signs of aging and skin concerns
  • Helps improve skin texture, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation
  • Contains squalane for added hydration


  • More likely to cause irritation or sensitivity, especially for retinol beginners or those with sensitive skin
  • Requires careful and gradual introduction to avoid adverse reactions

4. The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion Review

This product combines Granactive retinoid with an emulsion formula for enhanced absorption and delivery.


The emulsion texture provides a lightweight feel, making it suitable for various skin types. It offers a 2% concentration of Granactive retinoid, which can help improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and promote a smoother complexion.


As with any retinoid, some individuals may experience mild skin irritation or dryness during the initial stages of use.

5. The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane:

This formulation combines Granactive retinoid with squalane, a lightweight and non-comedogenic moisturizing oil.


Squalane helps provide hydration and nourishment to the skin, making this product suitable for individuals with dry or dehydrated skin. The 2% concentration of Granactive retinoid offers anti-aging benefits and can improve skin tone and texture.


Squalane may not be suitable for individuals with oily or acne-prone skin, as it can potentially cause clogged pores or breakouts.

6. The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane:

This variant contains a higher concentration of Granactive retinoid (5%) combined with squalane.

  • Pros: The 5% concentration of Granactive retinoid provides a stronger retinoid action, making it potentially more effective in addressing signs of aging and improving skin texture.
  • Cons: The higher concentration may increase the risk of skin irritation, particularly for those with sensitive or reactive skin. It is generally recommended to start with lower concentrations and gradually work up to higher strengths.

Usage Guidelines and Tips

  • Patch Test and Gradual Introduction :Before incorporating any retinol product into your routine, it is essential to perform a patch test on a small area of your skin to check for potential adverse reactions. Once cleared, start by using the retinol product once or twice a week, gradually increasing the frequency over time.
  • Frequency of Use The frequency of retinol use depends on the concentration and your skin’s tolerance. Initially, start with once or twice a week, and then gradually increase to every other day or daily, depending on how your skin responds.
  • Application Techniques Apply a small amount of The Ordinary retinol to clean, dry skin in the evening. Gently massage it into the skin until fully absorbed. Follow up with a moisturizer to prevent dryness and maintain skin hydration.

The Ordinary Retinol for Beginners

  • Choosing the Right Concentration For retinol beginners or individuals with sensitive skin, it is advisable to start with the lowest concentration, such as The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane. This allows the skin to gradually adjust to retinol without overwhelming it.
  • Introducing Retinol into Your Skincare Routine Begin by using retinol once a week, preferably in the evening. Monitor your skin’s response and gradually increase the frequency if no adverse reactions occur. Remember to always use sunscreen during the day to protect your skin from sun damage.
  • Combining Retinol with Other Products To enhance the benefits of retinol, incorporate a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen into your skincare routine. Avoid using other active ingredients, such as acids or exfoliants, on the same nights as retinol to prevent potential irritation

Best Types of The Ordinary Retinol for Different Skin Concerns

The Ordinary Retinol works for wrinkles and acne. Here are main points:

Fine Lines and Wrinkles

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% or 1% in Squalane is recommended for targeting fine lines and wrinkles. Start with the lower concentration and gradually move to a higher one as your skin builds tolerance.

Uneven Skin Tone and Texture

All three concentrations of The Ordinary Retinol can help improve uneven skin tone and texture. However, for milder concerns, the 0.2% or 0.5% options may be sufficient.

Acne and Blemishes

Retinol can also be beneficial for acne-prone skin. Start with the lowest concentration and introduce it gradually. If your acne is severe or persistent, consult a dermatologist for a personalized treatment plan.


Higher concentrations, such as The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% or 1% in Squalane, can effectively target hyperpigmentation. Be patient, as it may take several weeks or months to see noticeable results.

Precautions and Safety Measures

Keep these things in mind when using The Ordinary Retinol:

Sun Protection

While using retinol, it is crucial to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every day. Retinol can increase sun sensitivity, making your skin more prone to sunburn and damage.

Pregnancy and Nursing

If you are pregnant, nursing, or planning to become pregnant, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using retinol. High doses of retinol are not recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Sensitivity and Allergies

Individuals with known allergies or skin sensitivities should be cautious when using retinol. Perform a patch test and discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur. If you have specific concerns, consult a dermatologist before incorporating retinol into your routine.

How does it improve skin texture?

The Ordinary Retinol works by following ways:

Increased Collagen Production

Retinol stimulates collagen production, which helps improve skin elasticity, firmness, and overall texture. It can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, resulting in smoother, more youthful-looking skin.

Smoother and Softer Skin

Regular use of retinol can help exfoliate dead skin cells and promote cellular turnover. This leads to a smoother and softer skin texture, reducing the appearance of roughness or unevenness.

Minimization of Pores

Retinol can help unclog pores and reduce their appearance, resulting in a more refined and even skin texture. With consistent use, you may notice a decrease in the visibility of enlarged pores.

Improvement in Fine Lines and Wrinkles

One of the primary benefits of retinol is its ability to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. By stimulating collagen production and promoting cell turnover, retinol helps smooth out the skin and reduce the depth of wrinkles.

How well does this absorb into skin?

The Ordinary Retinol products are formulated with squalane, which enhances absorption into the skin. However, absorption rates may vary from person to person. It is generally recommended to allow the product to absorb for a few minutes before applying additional products.

Does it feel greasy?

The squalane oil in The Ordinary Retinol products provides lightweight hydration and is quickly absorbed into the skin. It does not typically leave a greasy residue, but individual experiences may vary. If you prefer a matte finish, you can follow up with a non-greasy moisturizer.

Will it cause irritation?

Some common side effects of retinol usage may include redness, dryness, flakiness, or mild irritation. These are normal, especially during the initial stages of retinol use, and usually subside as the skin adjusts. However, if the irritation persists or becomes severe, discontinue use and consult a dermatologist.

To minimize irritation, start with the lowest concentration and gradually increase frequency and strength. Ensure proper hydration by using a moisturizer and consider buffering your retinol by applying it over a moisturizer to reduce potential irritation.

If you experience persistent or severe irritation, it is advisable to seek professional advice from a dermatologist. They can evaluate your skin’s needs, recommend the appropriate retinol concentration, and provide personalized guidance for optimal results.

Does this even skin tone?

Retinol can help even out skin tone by reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and sun damage. With regular use, you may notice a more uniform complexion and a reduction in the intensity of pigmentation irregularities.

Retinol aids in the exfoliation of the top layer of the skin, promoting the fading of hyperpigmentation over time. However, for more stubborn or severe cases of hyperpigmentation, additional treatments or professional guidance may be necessary.

Why Was Miracle Skin Transformer Discontinued?(Here are Alternatives)

Conclusion: The Ordinary Retinol Review by Dermatologist

The Ordinary Retinol range offers a variety of options to address various skin concerns. By selecting the right concentration and following the usage guidelines, beginners can safely incorporate retinol into their skincare routine.

The benefits of The Ordinary Retinol include improved skin texture, reduced signs of aging, and a more even skin tone.

While precautions should be taken to avoid irritation and sun damage, the effective absorption and non-greasy texture of these products contribute to a positive user experience. Remember to consult a dermatologist for personalized advice and recommendations regarding the use of retinol and to achieve optimal results in your skincare journey.

Also Read:


Do dermatologists recommend The Ordinary?

The Ordinary is a popular skincare brand known for its affordable and science-driven products. While it has gained a substantial following among consumers, whether dermatologists recommend it depends on individual preferences and skin needs.

Some dermatologists appreciate The Ordinary for its transparent and straightforward approach to skincare, as well as its use of active ingredients. The brand often offers well-formulated products that can be effective for specific skin concerns.

Do dermatologists recommend retinol?

Yes, dermatologists frequently recommend retinol as a valuable component of skincare routines. Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and is well-known for its ability to address various skin concerns, including fine lines, wrinkles, acne, and uneven skin tone.

It encourages skin cell turnover and collagen production, leading to healthier and more youthful-looking skin. Dermatologists often advise patients to incorporate retinol products to achieve these benefits.

How effective is The Ordinary retinol?

The effectiveness of The Ordinary retinol products can vary from person to person and may depend on factors like the specific product used, individual skin type, and consistency of use.

The Ordinary offers a range of retinol products with varying concentrations, allowing users to choose the one that suits their skin’s needs. Many people have reported positive results with The Ordinary retinol products, such as improved skin texture, reduced signs of aging, and acne management.

However, like all retinol products, they may cause some initial dryness or peeling. It’s crucial to follow the instructions, gradually introduce retinol into your routine, and use sunscreen during the day when using retinol products.

Are The Ordinary retinoids good?

The Ordinary’s retinoid products are generally well-regarded by skincare enthusiasts. These retinoid formulations, such as their Retinol and Granactive Retinoid offerings, are known for their affordability and accessibility.

They are considered good options for individuals looking to incorporate retinoids into their skincare routines, particularly those who are new to retinol. The Ordinary’s transparent approach to ingredient concentrations and its use of science-driven formulations have garnered a loyal following.

However, the efficacy of these products may vary from person to person, and the choice between retinoids will depend on individual skin concerns and sensitivity levels.

Some may prefer higher concentrations for more potent effects, while others may opt for gentler formulations. Consulting a dermatologist can help you determine which retinoid product is most suitable for your skin needs.

Read: What is a Good Moisturizer to Use After Efudex Treatment?


I am Zara, a driven and passionate blogger with a deep love for writing and a strong desire to connect with my readers. I am always on the lookout for the latest trends and news in fashion, beauty, entertainment and daily life tips. I love to share my knowledge with others. I am always looking for new ways to learn and grow, and I am committed to providing my readers with the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Join me on this journey of knowledge and exploration!

Articles: 194

Leave a Reply

Seraphinite AcceleratorOptimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.