After Years of Searching, I Found a Retinol That Doesn't Bother My Sensitive Skin

My complexion noticeably brightened one month later.

Drunk Elephant A-Gloei Retinol Oil

As a beauty writer with sensitive skin, I've always avoided retinol. The skincare ingredient, lauded by dermatologists for its anti-aging benefits, can be notoriously harsh on the skin. There are ways of avoiding potential irritation, but I've preferred to limit my exposure. I thought I was destined for a retinol-free routine, but then Drunk Elephant offered me a sample of its newest product, a retinol oil that the brand claims won't cause redness or irritation.

Sounds like a dream, right? After a month of use, I can confirm the promise of Drunk Elephant's A-Gloei Retinol Oil is very real. Gradually increasing my use of the oil from once weekly to twice weekly, I've not yet experienced any irritation or redness. In fact, my skin is looking significantly clearer, and it feels softer to the touch.

Drunk Elephant A-Gloei Retinol Oil

To buy: $72;

If you're wondering why skincare enthusiasts are willing to risk potential retinol side effects, it comes down to its proven benefits. "There is not a single class of ingredient that can rival the track record that retinoids have for proven scientific results," dermatologist Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas previously told Real Simple. A derivative of vitamin A, retinol can enhance the overall appearance of your skin by reducing wrinkles and fine lines, enhancing radiance, and improving uneven skin tone.

For its retinol oil, Drunk Elephant uses 0.5 percent vegan retinol, an amount specifically chosen for new retinol users. Combined with ceramides and virgin marula oil, the oil also hydrates the skin and supports skin health, thus potentially limiting any side effects.

To allow my skin time to acclimate, I started with two drops of the oil once a week (Note: I did an initial patch test of the oil on my hand). I did notice a slight warming sensation when applied to my skin, but it quickly lessened. After two weeks, I increased my use to twice a week, applying the oil first thing in the morning after cleansing my skin.

After a month of use, I have noticed that my skin does appear more radiant. Additionally, hormonal acne and the occasional blemish did not stick around as long or look as inflamed. Areas on my skin once discolored and inflamed as the result of acne also appear more even and healed.

Experts previously told Real Simple that a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles can take at least six weeks of continued retinol use, and as I near this milestone, I have noticed a slight diminishing of forehead fine lines. I hope that with continued use, these lines may reduce even further, but I am happy with the current results.

I definitely plan to continue using this product and I would advise others that have previously avoided retinol to do the same. Head to Sephora now to purchase your own bottle of my new skincare go-to.

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