retinol. You've probably heard about it, but what exactly is Retinol?

Most of us have heard of the skincare ingredient, retinol. If not, where have you been hiding? The beauty world has been all about retinol lately - it has made its way into all skin care products such as retinol serums, retinol day creams, retinol eye cream, there is no skin care product without it! The retinol hype is real, and for good reason. It's the anti-aging ingredient that really helps, but it's much more than that. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the life of retinol - in the end, I'll explain the difference between traditional retinol and retinol 8 (which is in many Verso products).

What is retinol?

Retinol is often used as an umbrella term for different types of retinoids - these are vitamin A derivatives. Actually, it's the other way around: retinol is a type of retinoid. There are many different types of retinoids, all derived from vitamin A, and they come in different strengths. Different types of retinoids are: retinol, retinol esters, retinaldehyde, retinoic acid esters...

So what's the difference between retinol and retinoids?

Retinol is the most common type of retinoid.
Just keep in mind that your skin only uses the active form of vitamin A, retinoic acid. Retinoic acid binds to the retinoid receptors in our body, where it normalizes cell renewal and cellular repair processes. This is how retinoids can magically work on wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots...! It takes a few steps for retinol to become retinoic acid. This with the help of our own skin enzymes. So for all retinoids, the more it resembles retinoic acid, the easier it is for our own enzymes to convert it to retinoic acid and the more effectively it can work.

How does retinol work?

Our skin has three layers. The top layer or the epidermis (this is where most anti-aging products work), the middle layer or dermis and the bottom layer or subcutis. Most anti-aging products work on the epidermis, but the small retinol molecules can penetrate deep into the dermis. Once there and converted to retinoic acid, it can neutralize free radicals and normalize cell turnover. This results in plumper skin, with fewer wrinkles, fine lines and enlarged pores.

What exactly does retinol do? What are the advantages?

  • prevents wrinkles and softens current fine lines
  • brightens dull skin
  • treats and reduces acne
  • fades dark spots
  • unclogs pores and keeps them free

Does retinol really slow down your skin's aging process?

Well, actually it is! Retinol slows down and counteracts aging. If you're in your twenties and thirties, your cells will renew every 28 days, giving you a fresh new layer of skin. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case when you are in your mid-30s. Your cell renewal will be every 50 to 70 days. The slower the cell regeneration, the more wrinkles, dull skin… As we said, retinol will penetrate deep into the skin and accelerate cell renewal. It actually "deceives" the skin into thinking it is younger than it actually is.

How long does it take for retinol to work and see results?

You will not see results overnight. It takes a few weeks to three months to see major changes.

Does using retinol have other side effects?

Actually yes.. Especially in the beginning.. Your skin has to adapt to the ingredient. Because retinoids increase cell turnover, it can make your skin (temporarily!) thinner. So in the beginning you may experience redness, inflammation, dryness and tenderness. These side effects disappear within a few weeks. BUT, and there's a big one, but if you use retinol 8 (see later), you won't experience these side effects as easily.

I have sensitive skin, can I still use retinol?

Be careful with retinol if you have sensitive skin. A better option for you is Retinol 8 from Verso (see later!). You can use retinol, but start at night with a low concentration. Use it, at first, once a week and don't use too much product.

When do I start using retinol?

I recommend that you start around your 20s.

How should I use retinol?

The best way to add retinol to your skincare routine is to start slow and build it up gradually. Start with a lower concentration and a few times a week. Your skin needs to build up a tolerance and that takes a few months. Use it at night first twice a week. Use a pea-sized amount, no more! Also, don't use it on or around your eyes!

Can I also use retinol in combination with other ingredients such as acids or vitamin C?

You have to be careful with retinol. Since it can make your skin thinner, you need to be a little more careful when combining it with other ingredients.

Retinoids and acids are both go-to go-tos if you want active anti-aging products, but in this case more isn't better. Acids, such as AHA & BHA, exfoliate the outer layer of the skin (much like retinoids), which when combined with retinoids can cause irritating side effects. Fortunately, you don't have to choose one or the other! Use acids in the morning and retinol in the evening, or use them on alternate days. Retinoids and vitamin C do not work optimally when used together. That's because vitamin C works best in an acidic environment and retinoids in the opposite alkaline environment. So if you want to use them both, I recommend using retinoids at night and vitamin C during the day. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that will protect your skin throughout the day!

I am pregnant or breastfeeding, can I still use retinol?

While pregnant or breastfeeding, it is best to eliminate retinol from your skincare routine. The risk of harming your baby is quite small, but as a precaution it is best not to use it. You can use other anti-aging serums without retinol and there are plenty on the market!

What is retinol 8? What is the difference with regular retinol?

Retinol 8 is a unique vitamin A complex invented by Verso. It's 8 times more effective than traditional retinol, but it's not even half as irritating. It is gentler on the skin, making it perfect for all skin types.

Can I use retinol 8 during the day?

Yes, yes, yes!! While traditional retinol is better applied at night, you can safely use retinol 8 (which you find in Verso products) day and night! Because retinol 8 is so effective, the concentration of retinol 8 in products is lower than traditional retinol.

Does retinol 8 increase the risk of sunburn?

This will shock you, but no! We do recommend using an SPF during the day. The effectiveness of retinol 8 can be reduced by sunbathing. But it won't burn you faster!

Products for beginners/sensitive skin

This facial oil is perfect for retinol noobs or those with sensitive skin. This is the product to introduce your skin to retinol. The best of both worlds, if you ask me, a nourishing facial oil with all the goodness of retinol.

night cream

night cream


This is the crème de la night cream. With retinol 8, turmeric and oats, this moisturizing cream will soothe, hydrate and protect your skin.

Products for all skin types

This gel moisturizer is perfect for normal to oily skin. The lightweight gel formula moisturizes the skin without making it too oily or heavy.

Super Eye Serum

Super Eye Serum

From €48

A light eye serum packed with Retinol 8. It is anti-aging and because it is a serum it is very effective!

If your skin under your eyes needs a little extra love, you can't go wrong with this sheet mask. Retinol 8 in combination with hyaluronic acid, rapeseed oil and grapefruit extract leaves your skin feeling like new.

Lip Serum

Lip Serum


If you want to remove (or prevent) the small wrinkles and dark spots around your lips, this lip serum is perfect for you. Plus, it will plump and hydrate your lips too - for soft, kissable lips!

Products for the retinol pros

If you want to get the most out of your retinol serum, this is the serum. It's packed, yes, FULL of Retinol 8. So you can expect some pretty spicy results when it comes to clearing your pores, boosting collagen production, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and evening out skin tone.

Blemish Fix

Blemish Fix


Say goodbye to pimples! The power trio, retinol 8, niacinamide and turmeric, will prevent and control breakouts while reducing inflammation and controlling oil production.

Hyperpigmentation is a beach! A high concentration of retinol 8 helps even out your skin tone and reduce dark spots.