What is retinol? When should I start using Retinol? How to choose the right Retinol? User guide for dummies

Retinols or Retinoids are the holy grail of the anti-aging skincare kit, a magic molecule that every dermatologist will recommend as part of an effective regimen… but what is Retinol?

Retinoids, the technical term, is a molecule in the vitamin A family that increases collagen production and skin cell renewal, delivering the following 4 benefits:

- Reduces fine lines and wrinkles and minimizes the appearance of new ones

- Brightens complexion by exfoliating at a cellular level for a smoother, more evenly toned skin

- Regulates oil production to unclog pores and reduce breakouts

- Fades dark spots and hyperpigmentation

Now that we know the benefits of Retinol, when should I start using it?

You can begin using retinols in your early to mid-twenties. You don’t really have to wait for wrinkles to appear before you start using this magic ingredient, so it can be used as a preventive tool.

Retinols become a must after the age of 30, when your skin’s cellular regeneration cycle slows down, making your face look dull and triggering the appearance more age lines. Retinol will prompt your body to accelerate cell turn-over and get that cycle back on the fast lane.

It usually takes 60-90 days of continuous use to see results, but it is well worth the wait!

Ok, I am ready to use Retinol, how do I choose the right one?

Not all retinols are made equal. Most commercial retinols don’t contain the right concentration levels or have the right conditions for the ingredient to actually work. Retinol is a highly reactive ingredient that easily breaks down and loses effectiveness when exposed to sunlight or air.

So, choose a high-quality retinol with the right concentration and potency level (Concentration levels for clinical-grade Retinols range between 2X to 10X) to maximize results. We recommend stabilized all-trans retinol, the purest form of this molecule, and getting it from a dermatological lab that goes the extra mile to protect it from degrading before it reaches your skin (packaging is key).

Younger or sensitive skins might go for 2x-3x concentration levels, normal skins in mid-aged patients might go for 5X and older patients might try higher concentration levels.

It is normal for patients to experience dryness as a result of their retinol treatment, and even temporary redness, peeling and increased sensitivity. This is why some of the most advanced retinols in the market incorporate other soothing, calming and moisturizing ingredients such as green tea, hyaluronic acid and caffeine.

You can find the most advanced, clinical-grade retinols in the market by visiting our PURA shop at

Here you can find 2 alternatives:

- Advanced Retinol Smoothing Serum:

H45X potency, pure all-trans retinol enhanced with green tea polyphenols, hyaluronic acid and caffeine USP. Great for most skin types.

- Gentle Retinol Smoothing Serum:

The same product but with 2X potency, ideal for sensitive and dry skin types.

For a complete personalized skincare routine, that includes the right retinol for you, complete our 3-minute PURA diagnostic quiz at

Here is a short clip from Dr. Saurabh Lodha, leading NY dermatologist, explaining some tips on choosing the right retinol.

Now that I have my retinol, how do I use it?

Best way to use your retinol is as part of a personalized skincare routine. Retinols should be used at night (they make your skin more sensitive to the sun) and in the right amounts (don’t need to over-use it). Also, sunscreen is your retinol’s best friend – you MUST wear sunscreen every day.

If you are new to retinol, we recommend you begin applying it just 2x per week for two weeks, if dryness, peeling or redness don’t occur, slowly increase frequency to 3x-4x per week over time, until you can finally start using it every night.

May the power of retinol be with you!


How often should I use my face moisturizer? 4 tips on maintaining optimal skin hydration

We all know how much we need a moisturizer in our lives, especially during winter time, when the cold climate makes our skin dry and more sensitive.

It seems pretty simple, just go to any store and pick-up something with the label moisturizer on it… at the end of the day, they are all the same, right? WRONG.

When it comes to choosing the right moisturizer, and knowing when to apply it, there are so many options and myths out there that it makes it difficult to make an informed decision.

No need to worry, here are 4 tips that break down the art of keeping your face hydrated and looking at its best:

1. Moisturize as often as needed

There is a myth that you only moisturize in the morning, or 2x a day at most. That is not true. Get to know your skin and adjust how many times you apply your moisturizer based on the season and on your unique needs. Is your skin feeling a bit dry or tight even though you moisturized a few hours ago? Go ahead and apply additional moisturizer, even if that means using your moisturizer 3 or 4 times a day.

2. Choose parabens-free, non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic products

Parabens are chemical preservatives thought to be toxic and linked to health problems such as breast cancer. Non-comedogenic means that it wont clog your pores, reducing the likelihood of developing acne. Hypoallergenic means they are more gentle and produce fewer allergic reactions, especially helpful for those with sensitive skin types.

3. Use oil-free alternatives

An oil-free moisturizer is usually better than heavier oil-based options. They are especially important on users with acne-prone, oily or combination skin. They use alternative ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or green tea polyphenols to provide the same effect as essential oils do and have a lighter texture.

4. Load up on antioxidants and botanicals

Superior moisturizers shouldn’t just hydrate, but also serve as a vehicle to nourish your skin with antioxidants, botanicals and other molecules to enhance your skin and help it get through the day. We are big fans of moisturizers containing Hyaluronic Acid, Resveratrol, Vitamin C, E and A, Green Tea Extracts, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Ceramides, Squalene, Caffeine, Co-Q10, Yucca Root and advanced apple stem cells. These additional ingredients deliver anti-aging benefits, help your skin fight external environmental agents, and have soothing and calming functions, while helping the main goal of hydration.

5. Here is a short clip from Dr. Saurabh Lodha, leading NY dermatologist, explaining some tips on choosing the right retinol.

Here is a short video from Dr. Lodha explaining how to keep your skin hydrated, even during winter time:

At PURA, we offer clinical-grade, high potency moisturizers that check all the boxes above, backed by thousands of peer reviewed clinical studies and medical journal publications. You can check them out here: There is one for each unique skin need:

- Vitamin Fortified Moisturizer:

Our everyday moisturizer fortified with vitamins C, E and A, Glycerin, and nourishing Green Tea in an Aloe base, to deliver smoother, softer skin. Great for all skin types.

- Biotherapy Restorative Moisturizer:

A high-performance restoring moisturizer infused with potent antioxidants and botanicals to repair the skin’s barrier function, and reduce signs of aging. This moisturizer is recommended for people with dry skin, aged 55+, or anyone needing an extra hydration boost.

For a complete personalized skincare routine, that includes the right moisturizer, as well as the right cleanser, retinol, sunscreen and enhancer, complete our 3-minute PURA diagnostic quiz at

Now it’s time to get the power of hydration working for you!