A skin scientist told us the ingredient that does the absolute most for our skin.

Does anyone else wish there was one skincare ingredient out there that just... did it all

Good news. There is. Oxford scientist, Dr Mike Bell, who is the head of scientific research for No7 Beauty Company, says there is one really effective ingredient out there and it's called retinol. 

Dr Bell says retinol (which is a form of vitamin A) is the one ingredient *everyone* can benefit from using. Smooth fine lines and wrinkles? Tick. Brighten dull skin? Tick. Tackle acne and breakouts? Tick.

Watch: Here are 7 ways to improve your skin while sleeping. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Let us just preface this by saying it's always best to choose ingredients that reflect your specific skin concerns and needs - but - if you generally just want to keep your skin looking healthy, happy and glowy, please read on.

"If you have a wide range of skin ageing concerns, then retinol is my go-to ingredient as it is arguably one of the most proven ingredients available in skincare, with lots of scientific studies showing its many benefits," said Dr Bell.

"Retinol can target many different skin ageing concerns like uneven pigmentation, lines and wrinkles, and a lack of firmness.

"It can also help with skin health concerns too, like improving skin texture, radiance and reducing the appearance of pores, so it’s a real all-rounder as an ingredient," he said.

Read: It does ALL of the things.

The one drawback? Retinol can be notoriously hard to get along with. 

She can be irritating. Bitchy. Prone to burning people.

Listen: We talk about where you should and shouldn't apply retinol on this episode of You Beauty. Get your ears around it! Post continues below.


That's why you have got to take things slow. It's best to ease your way into using retinol and allow your skin time to adjust (she's powerful), upping the concentration as you go. You really don't want to go too hard too fast with this stuff.

"You do have to use retinol with care due to its potency, so make sure you follow pack instructions and ramp up your usage slowly, making sure you are wearing SPF daily too to protect your skin from the sun (although apply your retinol at night time only)."

But you already wear SPF every day anyway, right?

What's the best retinol serum?

When looking for retinol options, Dr Bell reminds us to check the claims on the packaging, and go for something that has some research behind it. Cause there's nothing worse than dropping a heap of money on something that does squat all for your cute face.

"It's worth looking for clinically proven products, as these will have been tested by experts, often dermatologists, to check they perform as they should," he said.

If you're looking for some good retinol options, here's a couple we love - from low-concentration to high:

Medik8 Retinol 3TR Advanced 0.3% Vitamin A Serum, $75.

Image: Adore Beauty  

Esmi Encapsulated Retinol 1.0% Level 4, $125.

Image: Esmi Skin Minerals  


No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex, $61.99

Image: Supplied  

Kind of forgot what retinol is and how to use it properly? Follow these retinol rules from a dermatologist.

Do you use retinol? What's your favourite pick? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Getty 

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