Combined with potent antioxidants, CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment is a specially formulated light lotion that absorbs quickly and goes to work immediately to enhance hydration and diminish the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and uneven skin tones. Licorice, oat extract and other soothing ingredients help to calm redness.

All Paula’s Choice products are 100% fragrance free, clinically proven to be non-irritating, and never tested on animals.

2022 NewBeauty Award, Best 1% Retinol Serum

Goes to work immediately to visibly refine pore size and diminish the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and uneven skin tone. The light lotion formula is supplemented with nourishing licorice extract, oat extract and other soothing plant extracts to calm skin and ease redness. You’ll be amazed at how much younger-looking, firmer, and radiant your skin will look and feel.

Limit initial use to three times per week; gradually increase frequency to every other night, then finally each evening as tolerated. Apply a pea-sized amount after cleansing and toning. Carefully avoid the lips, eyes (including eyelids) and corners of the eyes. Can be used on the perimeter of the orbital bone if desired. To minimize irritation, try combining with 2-3 drops of Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster.

Note: Some people may experience a delayed sensitized reaction to 1% retinol. Do not assume that if no reaction is seen after a few applications that you can apply this product more frequently. Pay close attention to how your skin responds and adjust usage accordingly.

If sensitization occurs (redness, flaking, tenderness, or drying of skin), reduce frequency of use or mix one pump of the Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment with your favorite Paula’s Choice serum or PM moisturizer. If sensitization persists, discontinue use. Protect skin daily with sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater.


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Key Ingredients
Salix Alba Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Arctium Lappa, Phytosterol, Cetyl Esters, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Retinol, Glycine Soja Sterols, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Avena Sativa, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Lecithin, Dimethicone, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Glycyrrhiza Glabra, Ceramide NS, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12, Tocopheryl Acetate

Product Ingredients
Water (Aqua), Dimethicone (skin-softening), Glycerin (skin-replenishing), Butylene Glycol (hydrating), Isononyl Isononanoate (emollient), Castor Isostearate Succinate (skin-softening ), Glyceryl Stearate (texture enhancer), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (emollient), Dimethicone Crosspolymer (texture enhancer), PEG-33 (stabilizer), Polysorbate 20 (texture enhancer), Behenyl Alcohol (texture enhancer), PEG-100 Stearate (texture enhancer), Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate (stabilizer), Polymethylsilsesquioxane (texture enhancer), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Retinol (skin-restoring), Ceramide NG (skin-replenishing) , Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (skin-restoring), Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 (skin-restoring), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin-replenishing ), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (antioxidant plant extracts/skin-soothing), Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract (licorice extract/antioxidant/skin-soothing), Avena Sativa Kernel Extract (oat extract/antioxidant/skin-soothing), Arctium Lappa Root Extract (burdock extract/antioxidant/skin-soothing), Salix Alba Bark Extract (willow bark extract/antioxidant/skin-soothing), Glycine Soja Sterols (antioxidant/skin-softening ), Lecithin (skin-restoring), Allantoin (skin-soothing), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Hydrolyzed Soy Protein (antioxidant/skin-softening), Sorbitan Laurate (texture enhancer), Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester (skin-soothing), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Hydroxyethylcellulose (texture enhancer), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 (skin-restoring), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Tribehenin (emollient), Caprylyl Glycol (skin-softening), Ethylhexylglycerin (skin-softening), Pentylene Glycol (hydrating), PEG-75 Shea Butter Glycerides (emollient), PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer (stabilizer), PEG-10 Phytosterol (fatty acid-based emollient), PEG-8 Dimethicone (skin-softening), PEG-14 (texture enhancer), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate (texture enhancer), Arachidyl Glucoside (texture enhancer), Arachidyl Alcohol (texture enhancer), Sclerotium Gum (texture enhancer), Carbomer (gel-based texture enhancer), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Benzoic Acid (preservative).

What’s the difference between CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment and other Paula’s Choice high-strength retinols?
The main difference between CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment and our other high-strength retinol formulas is texture. CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment’s lotion texture is ideal if you have normal to dry skin. 1% Retinol Booster has a thinner, fluid texture that works best if you have oily, combination and/or breakout-prone skin. CLINICAL 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment contains a slightly lower amount of retinol (0.3%) but is still considered a high-strength option because it’s paired with 2% bakuchiol, an ingredient with similar benefits to retinol that amplifies retinol’s benefits. This treatment may be preferred if you have sensitive skin.

How does CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment compare to prescription retinoids?
This product contains retinol, which is weaker than prescription retinoids but produces comparable anti-aging and pore-minimizing results over time. This 1% retinol is comparable to a prescription retinoid with 0.02 tretinoin and contains numerous soothing ingredients, so it has a much lower risk of side effects like redness, flaking and sensitivity. For optimum results, consistent use and daily sun protection are crucial.

What should I do if I have a skin reaction to retinol?
If your skin reacts strongly to this potent retinol (resulting in redness or extra dry skin), use it less frequently for the following two weeks to see if your skin improves. If no improvement is shown, discontinue use.

If I see great results after the first or second use, should I use retinol every day?
Because skin has a delayed response to retinol, we recommend using this product at a reduced rate for the first two weeks. If your skin is responding well, you can increase to once per day if desired.

How do I know which retinol strength to use?
Retinol is a powerhouse anti-aging ingredient that’s proven to be effective even in concentrations as low as 0.01%. You can choose to use a low, moderate or high-strength retinol based on your specific skin concerns.

Do I build up a retinol tolerance so that I must move up to 1% even if I start out with a milder retinol strength? Will my retinol tolerance increase? If so, will I have to use a higher retinol strength?
Not necessarily. Everyone’s skin retains retinol differently so a milder formula may work better for some while others may need a stronger formula. We recommend evaluating your results with your current retinol and possibly increasing frequency of use prior to switching to a stronger retinol. If your skin is doing well with your current retinol, there’s no need to switch.

I keep pushing on the pump, but no product is coming out.
This product utilizes an airless pump, which needs to be primed before first use. See this guide in our Help Center to learn how to prime an airless pump.

When do I use retinol in my routine?
In general, most people can use retinol daily, after cleansing, toning and exfoliating. Because this product contains a potent strength of retinol, we recommend introducing it slowly into your routine and alternating days until you know how it works for you. You can use retinol either during the daytime or at night, depending on personal preference. If using it during the day, be sure to liberally apply a sunscreen rated SPF 30+ as your routine last step.

Is retinol safe during pregnancy?
You should avoid using retinol if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. As an alternative, you can talk with your healthcare provider about using a product with niacinamide, vitamin C or peptides during this time.

How long should you wait to apply moisturizer after retinol?
You can apply moisturizer immediately after using retinol. There’s no need to wait between applying retinol products and your moisturizer or any other product.

At what age should you start using retinol?
You can start using retinol at any age. Many blemish-prone people start using it as teenagers to help with clogged pores, but there’s no right (or wrong) age to start using this multifaceted antioxidant.