Most of us have heard of retinol and its inclusion in your skincare regime – however, do you know what it does? Retinol is part of the Retinoid family and comes in numerous forms, meaning that there is one likely to be suitable for everyone.
What is Retinol?
Retinol is a synthetic derivative of Vitamin A. When applied to the skin, it converts into retinoic acid with the help of enzymes in the skin. Retinol is better tolerated by the skin and converts to retinoic acid in the deeper layers. Retinoic acid can be applied topically, but given its most active state, it may be harsher than retinol creams or serums and make the skin more sensitive.
In its infancy, retinol was first approved for patients with acne as it promotes cell turnover, and prevents pores from clogging up hence helping prevent blemishes. It also improves the penetration of other products into the skin.
Nowadays, an equally common purpose for the use of retinol is due to its anti-ageing benefits. Retinol decreases fine lines and wrinkles and improves collagen production and the appearance and texture of the skin, thus creating a gorgeous glow.
Retinol comes in different strengths and varies from brand to brand. We suggest you consult your aesthetician to guide the recommended strengths and frequency of use. Initially, retinol is introduced slowly, using the product 2 to 3 times a week. This approach helps prevent what is known as a “retinoid reaction” where the skin may become slightly irritated. It presents as a slight red rash, often accompanied by a stinging sensation. Once your skin has become used to the retinol, the frequency of use can increase.
So then – what are retinoids?
Retinoids describe the over-the-counter (OTC) retinol and prescription-strength retinoic acid. The two anti-ageing ingredients are not entirely different – retinol is a type of retinoid. However, retinoid most often describes more powerful prescription products, including brands like Tretinoin and Tazarotene. Retinol generally refers to the milder (OTC) formulas like Retinyl Palmitate, Retinaldehyde and Retinol.
There are 5 Main Benefits of Retinol:
- Retinol Fights Signs of Ageing
Retinol is one of the most well-used and studied anti-ageing ingredients currently available. As it encourages increased cell turnover and boosts collagen production, it has all the benefits of an anti-ageing treatment.
- Retinol Evens Out Skin Tone
By stimulating cell turnover and creating an exfoliating effect, retinol eliminates dull, dry skin leaving you with a brighter, more even skin tone. With boosted collagen and elastin, the skin becomes thicker, stronger and smoother with fewer imperfections.
- Retinol Is Cost Effective
Retinol, with its long-standing credibility and clinically proven benefits, makes it a worthwhile investment for your skin. In the long term, it makes better financial sense to invest in quality retinol, rather than spend money on cheaper short-term solutions.
- Retinol Allows Better Penetration of Other Products Applied to The Skin
Because of the exfoliating effect, retinol facilitates better penetration of other active ingredients into the skin. Products like Hyaluronic Acid serum for hydration and plumping or Vitamin C for its antioxidant benefits would be optimised after the use of retinol.
- Retinol and Acne
By unclogging the pores and exfoliating the skin, retinol helps clear the skin and prevent breakouts. A lower incidence of acne means less compromised skin and fewer scars.
- Why Choose Retinol?
Retinol is the most common type of retinoid, is readily available and better tolerated on skins for those starting. Used with caution, and under the correct guidance, retinol remains a preferred anti-ageing treatment, no matter your age.
- Is Retinol Dangerous?
Retinol is one of the most well-researched ingredients and enjoys long-established creditability. Some women experience side effects like flaking and peeling when first using retinol, but these will subside when managed correctly.
- Can You Be Too Young to Use Retinol?
The adage of prevention is better than cure applies here. It is always better and easier to be proactive rather than trying to reverse a skin concern. In teenagers suffering from acne, the addition of retinol in their skincare routine will increase cell turnover and help prevent scarring.
- How Long Does Retinol Take to Start Working?
Results will vary depending on skin type, skin concern and frequency of use. With consistent use, results should be visible in 12 weeks.
- Can I Use Retinol Around My Eyes?
Although thinner and more delicate than the rest of the facial skin, the eye area can benefit from retinol’s smoothing and anti-ageing effects. Again, guidance from your aesthetician will help negate or resolve any side effects.
- How Does Retinol React to Sun Exposure?
Retinol increases photosensitivity in the skin, making your skin more vulnerable. To help counteract this, use retinol at night. As always, wear sunscreen every day and be vigilant about re-application.