REVIEW: Protocol Lab Enzyme-Active Retinol Serum

It’s important to note the Protocol Lab Enzyme-Active Retinol Serum is a retinal product, not a retinol product. To put the difference between retinol and retinal simply, both must be oxidized to become retinoic acid, which is the ingredient with all of the great benefits that retinol are known for. However, retinol must be oxidized twice, once into retinal and then again into retinoic acid, whereas retinal only needs to be oxidized once to become retinoic acid.

Cruelty Free and Vegan
NOT fragrance free (Bisabolol)

Key Ingredients:
1. 0.1% retinal
2. Niacinamide
3. Gluconolactone (PHA)
4. Glycerin
5. Resorcinol
6. Tocopheryl Acetate

The first time I used this serum, I have to say I was more than a bit intimidated by how brightly colored it is- it’s a vibrant shade of orange! It was so vivid that I was worried it could stain my sheets and pillowcase. I am pleased to report that I haven’t had any issues with staining despite the vibrant color.

I am no stranger to retinoids and usually use a prescription strength retinoid. I haven’t had any irritation from switching to this retinal serum from my usual tretinoin. Because this serum has been a bit gentler on my skin and moisture barrier, I feel like my skin has been looking more plump, hydrated, and glow since I started using this serum.

This product feels great on the skin, hasn’t irritated my skin at all, and has noticeably improved the appearance of my skin, so I would say it’s aces all around.

Price Point: $88 USD for 30 mL, $75 USD with discount code NEWCLIENT (15% off all Protocol products)

Repurchase? If I woke up tomorrow and no longer had access to prescription tretinoin, you bet I would be running out to repurchase this serum! It haas impressed me most out of all of the over the counter retinoid products I have tried so far (by a long shot!), so I definitely recommend giving it a try if it fits within your budget.

What is your favorite retinol product?

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