Getting real with Retinol

Retinol has become a beloved part of many of our skincare routines nowadays and has taken the skincare industry by storm! However, there are many controversial opinions on Retinol, and why it can be given a bad reputation if not used correctly. So, I’m here to educate you and ‘get real with Retinol’!

First of all, what is Retinol?

Retinol is a form of vitamin A. There are many forms of vitamin A in the retinoid family, and some can be more gentle and easier to acclimatise to than other forms (such as Beta Carotene, Retinyl Palmitate or Retinyl Acetate). Retinol is an alcohol form of vitamin A, which means that it can be slightly more irritating than other forms of vitamin A (which is why people can be prone to responses when they are acclimatising their skin to Retinol).

Why is Retinol so important?

Vitamin A (including Retinol) is part of the holy grail for ultimate skin health. It is our normalising cell which helps to keep our skin cells functioning as they should. Many of the benefits include:

  • Reducing and evening pigmentation
  • Reducing fine lines and wrinkles
  • Strengthening and thickening the skin
  • Naturally helps to exfoliate the skin
  • Acts as a natural SPF (as well as applying our own SPF for extra protection!)
  • Regulates sebum production
  • Naturally helps to detoxify the skin
  • Stimulates collagen and elastin
  • Locks in skins moisture
  • Protects against skins immunity

As we move into our 30’s, our skins functions can start to slow down, resulting in dryness, dullness and fine lines/wrinkles beginning to appear. Retinol’s job is to give your skin a boost, turbocharging your skins natural function to helps refresh, smoothen and brighten your skin.

How do I introduce my skin to Retinol?

When using skincare containing vitamin A, we want to keep in mind that all forms of vitamin A are important – not just Retinol!

It’s important to remember to ‘start low and go slow’. Starting on more mild/lower strengths of vitamin A before Retinol can be vital to introducing vitamin A to your skincare routine and can also prevent the risk of having a retinoid reaction.

The best way the introduce vitamin A is to be advised by a skin specialist so you are advised correctly and specifically for your skin.

When should I use Retinol?

Due to Retinol being an alcohol form, it can cause sensitivity to sunlight, so it is recommended to apply it only in the evenings after cleansing, followed by your moisturiser and then apply an SPF in the mornings for protection.

How often should I use Retinol?

We like to go by the ‘1,2,3’ method. Apply your Retinol one evening only in the first week, then twice the following week (with a few days gap in between), three times the following week (e.g Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday), then four times and so on. This helps to drip-feed your skin so you are less likely to react.

What if my skin responds to Retinol negatively?

A retinoid reaction (depending on the severity) can result in an itchy, red, hive-like rash and severe dryness. If you think your skin feels slightly dry/itchy in areas, reduce the amount you use it to ensure you build up your tolerance safely. You can also use your moisturiser as a barrier so it slows down the penetration of Retinol (this means cleansing, moisturiser then Retinol serum instead of the other way around).

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Do not try to push your skin/get impatient with stepping up through vitamin A – your skin will tell you if/when it’s had enough and you will reap the rewards by being patient. The results are worth it, trust me!

If you’d like more information, please get in touch with us to book in a Skin Analysis consultation where we can discuss your skin and create a plan that is suitable for you.

Blog by Charlee