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The 'head girl' of the youth-boosting ingredients league, there are few things retinol (a vitamin A derivative) doesn't do – it strengthens, plumps, elasticises, brightens, unifies and 'youthifies' in one fell swoop – ideal as a preventative measure, as well as a potent, time-rewinding treatment. And it isn't just an age-defying powerhouse – it's also brilliant for blemish-prone and acneic complexions, as well as those with dulled, pigmented or pock-marked visages. Just as with any budding romance, start things off slow or risk a tantrum – this incredible ingredient is rather potent and can irritate the skin if you haven't used it before. Begin with a smaller dose like The Ordinary's {Retinol 0.2% in Squalane} and work your way up to more concentrated formulas (hello, Drunk Elephant's {A-Passioni Retinol Cream}) to allow your complexion to adjust.

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