By Georgia Gould

All You Need To Know About Retinol (And More!)

Retinol is everyone’s favorite number one when it comes to tackling skin issues. From poor texture and uneven skin tone to annoying acne breakouts and unwanted lines and wrinkles, is there nothing retinol can’t deal with? We investigate.

Retinol is number one when it comes to tackling your skin’s ever frustrating issues. From poor texture and uneven skin tone to annoying breakouts and wrinkles, is there nothing retinol can’t deal with? Let’s investigate shall we?

No other skincare ingredient gets more press and more praise than retinol. And while there are plenty of other fabulous ingredients that have countless benefits for the skin, retinol deserves all the love it gets. Sure, it can be a tricky customer if you don’t know how to handle it properly, and absolutely, it can make your skin look worse before the glory days of a clearer, smoother complexion appear. But when you understand retinol’s strength and teach yourself how to use it properly, there’s nothing quite like it.

Keep hearing about retinol but are yet to get your head around it? Then allow us to furnish you with the facts. Starting with the most important question…

What Is Retinol?

Retinol is part of a large family of compounds called retinoids. Retinoids, which have been used to treat the skin since the early 1970s, are synthetic, vitamin A compounds and include everything from tretinoin (the powerful, prescription-strength version) to retinol. Retinol is much gentler on the skin which is why, unlike tretinoin, you’ll find it in all manner of over-the-counter products like moisturizers, night creams and facial serums.

So, what does retinol do for the skin? Well, when it’s applied to your skin, enzymes convert it into retinoic acid and this is when the fun begins. Retinoic acid is the active form of vitamin A and it has a very clever way of triggering your skin cells to increase collagen production and turn over more efficiently. And that’s not just fluff and nonsense; retinol has been studied, researched and proven for decades to truly work. 

What Are The Benefits Of Using Retinol?

Short answer? Retinol is one of the most effective ingredients for dealing with the signs of aging, as well as for treating acne-prone skin. And here’s why.

Collagen is the key to healthy skin. As the most abundant protein in the entire human body it accounts for somewhere between 70 and 80 percent of all proteins in your skin, acting like scaffolding to support and strengthen it. 

As you age, however, collagen production slows down. In fact, as you get into your twenties, collagen decreases by about 1 percent every year. And that adds up to quite a lot as you get into your fifties and beyond, resulting in sagging skin, fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores and so on. Of course, the aging process isn’t the only thing at play here – pollution, stress, a poor diet and the biggest offender of them all, the sun, all have a role in screwing up your collagen supplies. That’s life!

The good news is that applying retinol to your skin helps keep your collagen levels up, improving the tone and texture of your skin to help it stay firm, radiant, smooth and even. It’s officially one of the most effective ingredients for prolonging your youthful good looks, also helping reduce the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

But what about acne? Well, by improving cellular turnover retinol helps regulate oil production and stops dead skin cells from hanging around at the surface of your skin. This helps to keep your pores clear and your skin pimple-free as a result. Yes, it really is as simple as that. Because the important thing to remember is that acne is caused not by dirty skin or eating chocolate, but by excess oil and dead skin cells blocking your pores. Sure, a poor diet and cruddy skincare routine can trigger breakouts but they’re not the true cause. Your pores are.

The 5 Golden Rules For Using Retinol 

You may be wondering, if retinol’s this good, why doesn’t everyone use it as par for the course? Because it’s a very potent little beast, that’s why, and it can cause redness, irritation, dryness and peeling if not treated with the respect it deserves. Use it wisely, however, and it can offer skin-transformingly good results. 

Here’s how best to use retinol in your skincare routine.  

  1. Always Patch Test Retinol First

The best way to ensure your skin is able to tolerate a retinol treatment is to patch test any new product before using it properly for the first time. Apply just a small amount to a discreet patch of clean skin behind your ear or on the inside of your wrist and leave it for 24-48 hours. Mild tingling is OK but if you experience any kind of burning, stinging or itching that won’t go away, this is a sure sign that product is not for you. So don’t go there.

  1. Start Your Retinol Usage Slowly

Once you know your skin and retinol treatment are a good match, don’t dive in head first by applying it every morning and night. Slow and steady wins the race so begin adding it to your nighttime routine just once or twice a week for the first few weeks. Keep an eye on how your skin is and if it feels good after this time and you notice no irritation, increase your usage gradually, working up to every night as your skin acclimates. 

You might notice a few breakouts and mild tingling to begin with but this is OK, it’s just your skin getting purging itself as it gets used to the accelerated rate of turnover your retinol treatment is encouraging. If your skin feels uncomfortable or painful, however, reduce your usage.

  1. Enjoy The Wonders of HA & Retinol Combined

Combining retinol with other active ingredients can be like playing with fire but one of its ideal partners is hyaluronic acid. What is hyaluronic acid? Good question. One of the best ingredients for hydrating and soothing your skin, hyaluronic acid draws water to the surface, helping to reduce dehydration, dryness and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Retinol and hyaluronic acid are like chalk and cheese but you know what they say, opposites attract, and in this case it has never been true! While retinol is powerful and strong, often causing dryness and irritation, hyaluronic acid acts like a soothing buffer to counteract the potency of retinol and bring moisture and replenishment to the table. 

We’re in love with the perfect pairing of hyaluronic and retinol together which is why it’s the foundation of our Retinol Serum with Vitamin E + Hyaluronic Acid.

  1. Stick With It – Patience Is Everything!

Retinol is awesome, but here’s the kicker, it’ll take at least three months before you’ll start to notice an improvement in your skin. Clearer pores may come sooner as your skin starts to turn over more efficiently, but for visible wrinkle reduction, things will take time. Maybe even as long as six months. But trust us, it’ll be worth it when you get there. And when you do, your skin will just keep on getting better and better!

  1. Don’t Forget To Apply Sunscreen Every Morning

Retinol is most commonly recommended as a nighttime treatment but this isn’t because it thins your skin and makes it burn more easily. It’s simply because retinol is an unstable ingredient and can degrade and become ineffective when it’s exposed to UV radiation.

Of course, it’s still very powerful and the fact that it accelerates skin turnover means it’s imperative that you apply sunscreen every morning to protect your skin and avoid undoing all that hard work. <Isaac, I wasn’t sure if your sunscreen is no longer being produced?? But if so, it would be good to add it in here!



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