What is Retinol? Pond’s vs For Skin’s Sake — Retinol Serums Battle!

by - June 26, 2019

Hey guys, as you can see on my PM skincare routine post, I have two retinol serums that I currently use. In this post, I will give you a “battle” between those two —starting from their claims, the consistencies, ingredients comparison, packagings, prices, to the results. For you guys who don’t know what retinol is, I will quote a few definitions and/or explanations for you here:

According to VeryWell Health, retinol is a natural form of vitamin A, usually found in anti-ageing skincare because the ability of it to help the skin looks brighter, feels smoother, reduces fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol is a slow worker because it doesn’t affect the skin directly, the enzymes on the skin have to turn retinol into retinoic acid. Different people have different processing time and different intensity of reactions (for more detailed explanations and the comparison between retinol and retinoids and Retin-A click this link).

Cited from “Retinol skin care composition” (US5002760A, n.d., link):

‘The Vitamin A derivative retinol work on the genome of the cell to increase production of fibroblasts in the dermal layer of the skin. The fibroblasts increase the production of collagen, elastin, mucopolysaccharides and other connective tissue which improves the strength and resiliency of the skin. These effects enhance the photoprotective property of retinol to prevent and reverse the damage to the skin caused by chronic exposure to sunlight.’

Cited from EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database on the definition of retinol or vitamin A (link):

‘Retinol is a potent form of synthetic vitamin A. Data from an FDA study indicate that retinoid ingredients may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions on sun-exposed skin. FDA, Norwegian and German health agencies have raised a concern that daily skin application of vitamin A creams may contribute to excessive vitamin A intake for pregnant women and other populations.’

After I browsed some trusted websites and tried to get free journals on retinol, I believe these three explanations are enough as basic explanations. You can click the link that I provide to read the full article/journal.

My two retinol serums are Pond's Age Miracle Double Action Serum* and For Skin's Sake Retinol 2.5 Serum Concentrate. Let's start the battle!
*product was gifted

The mixture of Retinol-C Complex and Hexylresorcinol makes this serum's formula more effective to help reduce wrinkles, spots, and dullness. Using the highest percentage of active ingredients, it will make your skin feel lifted and smooth in 1 week.

For Skin's Sake
Diminishes fine lines, smoothen skin textures and color imbalance. It also helps with collagen production. Suitable for all skin types. Non-greasy, no animal testing, no paraben, no dyes, no fragrance.

As you can see in the picture, Pond’s texture is like a lotion and For Skin’s Sake is in a liquid form. Both are easy to spread and absorb into the skin nicely. For Skin’s Sake has a more moisturising feeling.

Full ingredients lists in the picture below
DISCLAIMER: I’m not an expert when it comes to ingredients, so I’m going to point out only the things I know. Please correct me if I’m wrong! The ingredients listed are already sorted from the top list to the bottom.

Silicone (dimethicone) on top of the list, possibly clog the pores for some skin
Vitamin B3 (niacinamide), reduces inflammation and moisturises (and many more benefits)
Preservative (phenoxyethanol) in the middle, to preserve the product, and it is rated as safe. Actually, I found other preservatives included in this product, but I’m not going to mention all of them
Preservative (methylparaben), just to let you guys know that this product includes paraben. I don’t mind it, but maybe some people want to stay away from this ingredient, so
Fragrance, gives the product a good scent but might sensitise some skin
Fatty alcohol (cetyl alcohol), to be noted that fatty alcohols are good for the skin!
Vitamin A palmitate (retinyl palmitate) on the middle of the list (almost bottom), I’m not sure how many percentages of this ingredient is in here
Sunflower seed oil on bottom list, a good filler ingredient that can help moisturise the skin
Vitamin C (sodium ascorbyl phosphate), as an antioxidant
Alcohol (t-butyl alcohol)
Synthetic vitamin A (retinyl propionate)
Synthetic dye (CI 19140)

For Skin’s Sake:
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana water) on top of the list, usually good for oily skin
Aloe vera, helps retain moisture
Retinol on the middle of the list
Green tea (Camellia sinensis leaf extract), as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
Propolis extract, healing and soothing
Gotu kola (Centella asiatica extract), calming
Alcohol on the bottom list

Both have red accents on the packagings. For Skin’s Sake’s box is smaller, the bottle is slightly thicker than the Pond’s’ but certainly shorter. It uses a frosted amber dropper pipette bottle. Pond’s’ box is bigger and taller, the bottle is tall and red, made out of glass, and equipped with a pump.

Pond’s Age Miracle Double Action Serum: IDR175,000 for 30ml
For Skin’s Sake Retinol 2.5 Serum Concentrate: IDR270,000 for 30ml

I have tried both serums for at least a month each. As retinol doesn’t work instantly, I can’t tell how these products do the job alone. But yes, I can see the differences in my skin before and after using these serums. The instant effect I got after using one of this serum was my skin felt very plump the day after I used it. And the product was For Skin’s Sake’s retinol serum! Was it because it was the first time I used a retinol serum so I could feel the plumping effect that much? I received my Pond’s retinol serum months after using the For Skin’s Sake, so it might be a possible reason why I didn’t feel the same reaction when I used the Pond’s’ serum for the first time. If you ask me, though, I more believe that it wasn’t because of the time gap. I got a little bit irritated after using Pond’s’ serum for a few days in a row. Maybe I didn’t give enough moisture and/or hydration. Then I tried using For Skin’s Sake’s serum for a night to see if it reacted the same way, but it didn’t react in any negative way.

Do the products match their claims? Two answers: yes and no, for both products. I can’t say much with the reducing wrinkles claims, as wrinkle is not (yet) my skin concern. I have fine lines especially under my eyes, and I still can’t see any differences after using these products. I had a few thin fine lines on my forehead and, for this one, yes, it faded a little. Hyperpigmentation on my cheeks has faded a lot, but unfortunately, I can’t say it was merely the effect of the retinol serums. I did a dermarolling treatment, I also used other brightening/lightening products, so yeah… a lot of things contributed to it. If I have to pick a winner, and it is For Skin’s Sake for this aspect. Even though so, Pond’s’ serum is better at brightening my overall complexion.

Let’s talk about the ingredients. This is going to be straight forward: I prefer For Skin’s Sake’s ingredients much more. Sounds cliché, but I fall in love with the fact that they use natural ingredients more than chemicals. I have no problem, though, with chemical ingredients, it’s just a preference. In case you skipped the ingredients part above, I put the good or bad possibility of an ingredient so I don’t have to explain narratively about it. Note that skins are different and unique. My skin can be sensitive to, let’s say, alcohol, but your skin can take it. Or maybe your skin can’t handle fragrances, but my skin can.

I have a big interest in designs, maybe that’s why I love to have products with good packagings. Even though this sounds so stereotyping, but indie brands usually make better packagings. Yes, the packaging of For Skin’s Sake is so cool, I love it! I like how it doesn’t contain TONS of words, I love the composition of the design. On the other hand, Pond’s’ packaging is, I gotta say, an old-school one. It looks just like another drugstore product, it’d be fresh and great to see something new on the drugstore, eh? I understand that their market is not a young design-freak like me (lol), but that’s just my two cents. But if we talk about the bottle, I prefer Pond’s’ bottle more because it comes with a pump. I like it because it is mess-free if we compared it with a dropper, where it has a possibility of being spilt all over the place when we try to close it but we do it too fast (already happened to me). In conclusion, in this aspect, I think For Skin’s Sake is better… aesthetically, and Pond’s’ bottle is more practical.

Overall, I think For Skin’s Sake wins this battle! I know the price is quite high, but I think it is great for you who just started adding retinol into the regime. It is not irritating, I personally like the consistency better, AND the almost all natural ingredients. And I love the design, LOL. Another thing I like is the plumping effect it gives me. I like Pond’s too, but this is a battle so I have to choose one, right?! Hahaha. Sadly I can’t see big improvements from both products for my hyperpigmentation.

I want to try other retinol products in the future, but for now, I want to give my skin a break from retinol for a moment. Maybe I will try a retinol product from The Ordinary! Or do you know an awesome retinol product? Don’t hesitate to let me know!

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