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Enzyme-Active Retinol Serum

Rated 4.9 out of 5
Based on 310 reviews
  • Smooths skin texture & reduces wrinkles
  • Clarifies complexion & controls oil
  • Results guaranteed in 60 days
  • Lab-made batch, ready to ship
Regular price$88.00
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30ml/1oz, 60-day treatment

Lab Summary:
This award-winning serum captures the most gentle and effective form retinol on Earth (retinal)––estimated by dermatologists to be 20x more effective than regular retinol. This elusive ingredient is captured using Protocol's patented oxygen-free bottling technology, designed by the Protocol Lab Team in collaboration with aerospace engineers.

Most clients see improvements within 10 days.

Key Active:

0.1% retinal, the enzyme-calibrated form of retinol. (i.e., naturally-occuring retinaldehyde)

All products are vegan, cruelty free and 100% recyclable through our Emptiez Recycling Program.

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Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Water, Niacinamide, Cyclodextrin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Gluconolactone, Carnitine (L), Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Enzyme-Active Retinol/Retinal/Retinaldehyde, Phenylethyl Resorcinol, Bisabolol (L-alpha), Tocopheryl Acetate (D-alpha), Lonicera Japonica Flower Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium Flower Extract, Sodium Lactate, Lecithin, Ethanol, Pentylene Glycol, Maltodextrin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate

Apply one pump at night after cleansing or rinsing with water while skin is still damp. Beginning users should wait a few minutes or until dry before following up with evening moisturizer. Advanced users can wait up to 30 minutes before applying moisturizer to maximize potency. This product is compatible with other toners or actives, however, as a general practice our lab team recommends a simple cleanser, active, moisturizer routine for all skin types. Our clients often find that this serum allows them to remove several steps from their routine with better results.

Enzyme-Active Retinol Serum

Regular price$88.00 / 30ml/1oz, 60-day treatment

"This is simply the most advanced and effective non-prescription retinol serum on the market."

- Board Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Jen Haley

Don't take our word for it

★★★★★

This is unbelievable. I'm 32. I've been using retinol products and "Retin-'A'" 0.05 for about 6 years. I microneedle and get red light therapy. This is the best retinol I have ever used. I've seen more results from one week of use than I have from months of "Retin-'A'". I can also use it every night without drying which is insane. I'll report back in 6 months but this is not a drill. It is. The best.

Kate

Verified Buyer

★★★★★

It's totally changed the game for me. It brightens my skin and clears breakouts without overdrying, which is truly all I've ever wanted my retinol to do.

Maria Del Russo

BusinessInsider.com

★★★★★

Holy grail of retinoids for sensitive skin. This is the only retinol that I've been able to use without a single side effect. I'm actually impressed that it's been living up to all the promises.

Julie C.

Verified Buyer

★★★★★

I've seen real results with both, as has my partner who I coerced into testing right along with me (sorry not sorry), and they have a decent shelf life without a ton of preservatives

Hannah Baxter

Zoe Report

★★★★★

First time retinol user, my wife gave me an order of the Retinol Serum for my birthday. Prior to the gift I had never even heard of Retinol. I have been using it daily for about a month now and I have noticed a dramatic difference in my skin. I'm 47 years old and my skin looks great. The serum has evened out my complexion and my face has never felt to good.

MD

Verified Buyer

★★★★★

No Irritation. I've been using retinols for years, and this one doesn't cause any irritation, peeling, or dryness. I use it nightly with ease. It absorbs easily and quickly, and I follow it with moisturizer. I have oily skin, and I recommend this for anyone else who does also. I really appreciate the thoughtful packaging. I hate to see skin care go to waste from expiring, so it's good to know I can get full use out of this product.

Julia J.

Verified Buyer

★★★★★

Wow! This is by far the best retinol I have ever used. No drying and my skin is glowing. I am 58 years old and my wrinkles are starting to disappear.

Joanne B.

Verified Buyer

★★★★★

OMG This by far has made more difference in my skin than any other product. It’s non irritating which is HUGE plus and it delivers! I’m on my 3rd bottle and I recommend it to women of all ages, go get it!

Jackie L.

Verified Buyer

★★★★★

It's simply AMAZING
This Enzyme-Active Retinol Serum product is something really special and extremely effective, so I can see the result on my skin is very obvious: younger, smoother more hydrated skin I ever had...

Thanks guys for this creation!

Galina G.

Verified Buyer

best retinol serum

Smooth & youthful-looking skin

retinaldehyde serum

Fills in wrinkles & fine lines

retinaldehyde

Fades dark spots and boosts collagen

clinically measured
Pure, renewing power

There are A LOT of ingredients that can technically be called "retinol" in skincare products (retinyl palmitate, hydroxypinacolone retinoate, retinaldehyde, retinol retinoate,...and on and on).

However, only one form has been clinically measured to reduce wrinkle depth within weeks...and without drying or irritation. This form, which we call Enzyme-Active Retinol (more commonly known as "retinal" with an "a"), is the form that is naturally created by your skin when you apply regular retinol (Vitamin A) to it. By applying this super-bioavailable form directly, you save your skin the irritation of converting it and instead get just pure, renewing power.

retinol
best retinol serum

Enzyme-Active Retinol Serum

92% see improvements to their skin's smoothness and/or evenness within 14 days.

retinol
retinaldehyde
LITTLE ORANGE INGREDIENT FORTRESS
Bottled in a 100% oxygen-free and UV-free environment

This form of retinol is extremely fragile and needs to be made and bottled in a 100% oxygen-free and UV-free environment. Protocol's lab team uses patented containment technology that was designed for the nuclear and aerospace industry to ensure each serum is made without exposure to a single oxygen molecule or ray of light.

The secret that brings it all together though, is what we call our Little Orange Ingredient Fortress.

Our clinical-grade, totally airless and UV-proof bottle that's built like the space shuttle to protect our advanced and fragile ingredients. The quality of product it delivers will be apparent from the first pump.

best retinol serum

Results guaranteed in 60 days

Clients typically notice improvements to complexion tone and evenness almost immediately. Fine lines such as crow's feet are often visibly reduced or completely reversed within weeks of use, while deeper wrinkles such as those on the forehead may require ongoing treatment. We recommend using the 60-day regimen continuously, but using 2-3 times per year will also maintain baseline results. 

Clients are encouraged to document their skin's progress using the Setlist App.

As with all topical products, we recommend all women who are pregnant or nursing speak with their physician before purchasing.

FAQs

Yes, Most people can use retinol every day! However, everyone's skin is different. If you have never used retinol before you may choose to ease into use by only applying every other day before transition to daily application. You can also mix it with your moisturizer the first few weeks in order to reduce the absorption rate. Once you are ready, we recommend applying retinol at night, letting it sit for 5 to 30 minutes do allow for absorption and then applying a hydrating moisturizer.

Retinol acts like a super nutrient for your skin cells. It's boosts dozens of important renewing processes in your skin to visibly fill in wrinkles and fine lines, fade dark spots and encourage natural collagen production. Overall, you'll see smoother, more even and youthful-looking skin! Our Enzyme-Active Retinol Serum includes the only form of retinol that is clinically measured to reduce wrinkle depth within 14 days, without irritating your skin.

Different age groups use retinol for different purposes. Younger clients or clients who still struggle with breakouts use retinol for breakout-control and skin clarifying. Clients who are seeing signs of aging (at any age) use retinol to reverse signs of aging as well as to prevent aging signs from forming! If you see no visible signs of aging, we recommend to focus on daily application of Vitamin C Serum and once-annual application of retinol. After your first visible signs of aging, we recommend daily use of retinol as well.

average rating 4.9 out of 5
Based on 310 reviews
  • 5 Stars
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97% of reviewers would recommend this product to a friend
Customer photos and videos
310 Reviews
Reviewed by Erika
Verified Buyer
I recommend this product
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted

CLEAN, PRISTINE, & INTELLIGENT SKINCARE

I cant even express to you how much I’ve battled with hormonal cystic acne, dark hyperpigmentation, dry, and oily skin. I’ve spent thousands on peels, creams, serums, pills, and countless sad evenings researching ingredients and how they can alter your skin and gut microbiome. Through the years I’ve had to learn the hard way how paramount clean and well preserved ingredients are. After 13 years of an arduous journey- I’ve landed, with confidence, on Protocol. As we all know, Vitamin C is a cute but unstable monster, retinol is an irritating acid at certain percentages, HA is tricky without the right moisture/reactive combination but Protocol has mastered all of it with scientific sophistication. Aside from its CLEAN (non carcinogenic, paraben free, hormone-disrupter free) ingredients, the packages are ingenious (check out their page on the way no light or air penetrate the serums). Also, their customer care is the sweetest, most understanding, and most responsive I’ve dealt with.

Listen, I don’t usually freak like this over a brand but I’m telling you it will change your life and simplify your complicated skin routine. I look younger, I look fresher, I look brighter, and I feel like I can just take a breath and trust this brand. You owe it to yourself to try this. My skin made me sad for so long and with this I’m getting my confidence back every day.

XX

Erika

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Reviewed by Kimberly
Verified Reviewer
I recommend this product
Age
35 - 44
Skin Type
Combination
Skin Concerns
  • Acne
  • Age Defense
  • Dark Spots
  • Pores
My Results
  • Brighter Complexion
  • Glowing Skin
  • More Even Tone
  • Reduced Sun Spots/Discoloration
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted

My 10 year old acne scars literally fell off my face

I thought I was imagining it at first but 3 weeks in my whole family was commenting on how good my skin looked and asking what I was doing. I took before pic a few days in because it already seemed to be changing so quickly. The after pics are from my 2nd round of the complete line and the improvement is REAL. I'm shook. THANK YOU PROTOCOL!!

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Reviewed by Kate
I recommend this product
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted

I can't believe it

This is unbelievable. I'm 32. I've been using retinol products and "Retin-'A'" 0.05 for about 6 years. I microneedle and get red light therapy. This is the best retinol I have ever used. I've seen more results from one week of use than I have from months of "Retin-'A'". I can also use it every night without drying which is insane. I'll report back in 6 months but this is not a drill. It is. The best.

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Reviewed by Kirby O.
Verified Buyer
I recommend this product
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted

Fan for life.

I've had issues with my skin for the past two or so years, I think because of damage done to my skin barrier from using Biologique Recherche p50, and then other chemical exfoliants. My skin was very, very angry with me, and I responded with panic and more products. Wrong. I finally gave my skin some space to breath (thank you stay-at-home orders), and didn't put anything besides sunscreen on for two weeks - highly recommend. The first products I used again were Protocol and Avène Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream (so good for sensitive skin), and my skin has never looked better. Like ever.

I have never seen these types of results, yet alone this quickly (about three months with Retinol/Vit C/Moisturizer). I use the Retinol every second or third night so I don't have bitchy skin deja-vu. The cleanser is magic, truly. So worth it. I just started using it, and every other night works best so far. I think I started out putting too much of the moisturizer on (I feel like this might have been part of my problem all along), but now that I take more time to apply instead of just slapping it on I am much happier with how my skin really absorbs the product. I use it during the daytime, and Cicalfate at night. My skin is completely different now - blemish free, less redness, super plump and strong, and I worry far less about it (the best part).

Protocol's customer service is also fantastic in general, they get that it's 2020 and they're a skincare brand. Thank you!!

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Reviewed by Sarah G.
Verified Buyer
I recommend this product
Age
35 - 44
Skin Type
Combination
Skin Concerns
  • Acne
  • Age Defense
  • Dark Spots
  • Dullness
  • Pores
My Results
  • Glowing Skin
  • Smoother Skin
  • Firm & Lifted Skin
  • Skin Radiance
  • Softer Skin
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted

Amazing Results!

My 43 year old stressed acneic aging skin has never looked better! The protocol line of products has brought new life to my problem skin. I feel such a sense of rejuvenation since using this line! My skin is softer, more supple, and brighter. I also see fewer fine lines and acne scars!

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