Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum

New Dermalogica Serum with retinol review.
/dīˈnamik/ a force that stimulates change or progress within a system or process

If you’re a seasoned Retinol user, the benchmark for being impressed by all the anti-aging launches is likely set very high. In the many years of my obsession with skincare, I’ve learned to navigate around the variety of Vitamin A derivatives by setting realistic expectations and being a diligent user. I “listen” to my skin because not everything works for everyone. Developing a sequence that is a solid and effective skincare routine usually involves at least a handful of tweaks and tries.

Review of Dermalogica Retinol serum.
Superstar status.

Recently, dermalogica launched their Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum and, enthusiast that I am, I needed to know more. Back in 2015, I rounded-up my Retinol favorites and the brand’s overnight retinol repair was among them. This new launch is a more up-to-date replacement that promises powerful results in four areas of concern: fine lines, rough texture, enlarged pores, and uneven skin tone. That’s literally everything I’d like to address. 

Dermalogica Retinol serum review.
Multi-faceted approach.

What is the Dermalogica Retinol all about?

Unlike the previous reincarnation that included a buffer cream, the new Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum is a lightweight, lotion-like formula that is to be applied exclusively during your PM regimen. And while definitely potent, it is also safe to use every night– I’d add, depending on your skin type and sensitivity. Personally, my combination skin handles actives very well, so I haven’t had problems with a nightly application. I also choose to take the weekends off, which is when I use overnight resurfacing products, such as Glycolic Acid leave-on treatments, etc. 

Dermalogica Retinol serum texture.
The texture is super lightweight.

What’s in it?

Dermalogica rounds up the Retinol Complex concentration to 3.5% and uses two forms of Vitamin A: Retinol and Granactive Retinoid. The latter is remarkably effective and shockingly gentle. The brand’s previous formula used .5% pure encapsulated Retinol, so I’d like to believe the new formula includes a similar or higher amount that is boosted with Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate. To avoid any potential dryness, redness or peeling, dermalogica also includes nourishing Squalane, Glycerin, and Sunflower Oil. Skin conditioning Ceramide NP improves skin barrier function and prevents dehydration. The INCI here is seriously great. 

How to use Retinol in your skincare routine.
The rules are simple.
Dermalogica Retinol serum and peeling skin.
Did I mention moisturize?

How to use Retinol?

When it comes to Retinoid applications, I consider myself pretty old school – meaning I’m too old for trends like the ‘sandwich method’ or ‘skin cycling’. Just kidding. I still rely on the advice of my first dermatologist, which was shared the day she handed over my first Tazorac prescription almost twenty years ago. I wash my face, wait a minute for my skin to dry, apply Retinol, and wait 10 minutes before going in with a richer, more occlusive formula like a cream or oil (or both).

I tend to rotate non-active, soothing, protective, and deeply nourishing face cream formulas. A few favorites include ATOPALM MLE Cream, Dr Jart+ Ceramidin Cream, and Jordan Samuel Moisture Recovery Cream. Depending on the time of year, I usually wake up to minimal flaking and zero tightness or irritation. 

Dermalogica anti-aging serums.
Vit C during the day, Retinol at night.

Final thoughts on the new Dermalogica Retinol Serum

I know this one is pricey but if you can fit a splurge into your beauty budget, I highly recommend it. Dermalogica has been at the forefront of skin health innovation for decades and this Retinol upgrade proves their commitment to a laser-focused approach doesn’t waver. The Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum is so lightweight and quick-absorbing, it will easily fit into any existing routine.

Start slow, be consistent, and set realistic goals. If you do that, I am absolutely certain you will notice visible improvement in your skin. I continue to be driven wholly by results. Among the dozens of retinoids I have used over the years, this one delivers. 

$92 (30ml) at

Dermalogica Retinol serum ingredients.
All the good stuff.

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