Retinol: Everything You Need to Know

Should you add retinol to your skincare routine? Here’s a complete rundown of this powerful youth-enhancing ingredient.

In the ever-evolving world of skincare, one ingredient has consistently maintained its hype–retinol. Whether you have acne or want to take years off your face, retinol is touted as the holy grail solution for a long list of skin concerns. Despite its soaring popularity, many of us don’t know much about this powerhouse ingredient. From what it is to how it can transform your skin, here’s an extensive guide on retinol.

What is retinol?

It is a derivative of vitamin A, one of our body’s most vital nutrients for increasing cell turnover. It has a plethora of skin benefits – it exfoliates, brightens skin tone, reduces signs of ageing, and also keeps breakouts at bay. And, it also stimulates collagen and elastin production by penetrating the deeper layers of the skin and activating cellular receptors.

To fully enjoy the incredible skin benefits of retinol, it is essential to choose the right formula. Did you know that there are different types of retinoids? While retinol can give incredible results, starting with potent formulations can irritate your skin and lead to skin issues like redness, dryness, and rashes. For beginners, I suggest starting with a pea-sized amount of a formula with a low concentration, like 0.2% or 0.3%. If you have sensitive skin, you can start with a night cream that contains retinol–it is more gentle on your skin. You can also pick a product with other hydrating ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid.

How to incorporate retinol into your skincare routine?

Many of us are too intimidated by this powerhouse ingredient because of the infamous retinol purging. Luckily, the problem can be avoided with the correct application. Here are some effective tips and tricks to safely introduce retinols into your skincare regimen:

  • Start slow

When it comes to retinol, integrating it slowly and gradually is the key. Since it can be irritating if used frequently, start slow. Instead of using retinol every day, start by using it twice a week, gradually increasing the frequency to allow the skin to adapt.

  • Incorporate it into your nighttime skincare routine

It works by exfoliating your skin to sweep away dead skin cells and unclog pores. Hence, it can be harsh on your skin. You must always apply retinol at night as it can make your skin sensitive to the sun, thus increasing the chances of sun damage. And don’t forget to apply a broad spectrum SPF the next morning. I strongly recommend skipping retinol for a few days if you have an upcoming vacation where you will be spending a lot of time under the sun.

  • Avoid mixing it with other active ingredients

People often mix other actives with retinol for faster and better results. On the contrary, combining retinol with other acids like AHA/BHA can weaken your skin barrier and lead to complications like skin irritation and sensitivity. Skip retinol before exfoliating your skin with the help of scrubs or treatments like microdermabrasion.

If used correctly, retinol can completely transform your skin and give you a fresh and radiant complexion. If you wish to learn more about retinol and how to use it to improve your skin texture and tone, schedule a consultation with me here.