Desperately seeking skincare; Gentler retinol dosages or alternative product. 37 YO, non-smoker, non-tanner, dry skin type?

I decided I was going to really dedicate myself to trying ZO Ossential(1% retinol ) serum on 7/15. First buffering with moisturizer for about 3 weeks using once a week, then twice a week for 2 more weeks and then using it straight- twice a week until 11/1. For 3.5 months I dealt with dryness and flaking that NEVER improved or stopped. I would gently exfoliate once a week and use a heavy moisturizer after and would get about a day maybe 2 without the flaking. I just couldn't take it anymore. HELP

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