Retinol may be the answer to getting rid of your wrinkles and fine lines. Read on to find out more about this popular skincare ingredient.
You’ve probably heard of retinol as an ingredient that’s commonly found in many anti-ageing serums and creams. It is also frequently recommended by doctors to patients looking at improving skin texture and evening out skin tone. However, different skin types react to skincare ingredients differently, here are the top five things you need to know about retinol before trying it out.
#1: Retinol vs Retinoic Acid vs Retinoids
Before you feel like you’re stuck in an organic chemistry nightmare, hear us out. The above-mentioned terms are frequently thrown about by skincare brands and doctors, so it’s inevitable to wonder what are the differences between them if they refer to the same thing.
For starters, retinoids refer to the broad class of products that contain retinol.
So what is retinol? Simply put, it’s a vitamin A derivative. Commonly found in skincare products, retinol is known to be an anti-ageing ingredient.
This brings us to retinoic acid, a more potent form of the vitamin A derivative and is found in products that help combat acne. For example, Differin, as well as acne prescriptions like Roccutane and Retin-A are all various forms of retinoic acid.
#2: When Can I Start Using Retinol?
Widely regarded as the gold standard for anti-ageing, retinol works best on skin with visible signs of ageing. Once absorbed into the skin, retinol accelerates collagen production to smooth wrinkles, improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of age spots.
#3: Is It Safe For Those With Sensitive Skin?
This is where its bad rep comes from. Even though some people might experience slight discomfort like stinging or flaking skin when using retinol products, that doesn’t mean that their skin is sensitive or retinol is not suitable for them. The truth is, everyone’s skin reacts differently to skincare products. And retinol is one of those ingredients that your skin can actually build up its tolerance for, so if you’re trying out retinol for the first time, start at a low concentration of retinol to avoid negative reactions. First Aid Beauty’s Skin Lab Retinol Serum .25% Pure Concentrate, has a low concentration of retinol, and is also enriched with soothing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, tocopherol and allantoin that help calm irritation. Or opt for products that contain gentler forms of retinol. For example, Alpha-H’s Liquid Gold Intensive Night Repair Serum, contains retinyl acetate while Skin Inc’s Vitamin A Serum, contains retinyl palmitate, both retinol derivatives that are milder and less likely to cause irritation. Alternatively, you can also start your retinol usage by only using it once or twice weekly, gradually increasing the frequency to every other night before finally using it daily.
#4: Does Retinol Make My Skin More Prone To Sunburns?
Retinol does indeed make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays. As retinol boosts cell renewal and eliminates the dull skin cells on the surface, it thins the outermost layer of your skin, causing it to become more photosensitive. So it is always important to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen to accompany your retinol-based skincare products, even if you’re staying indoors. Alternatively, apply the products only at night to reduce the chances of sunburn or other types of skin irritation.
#5: Does The Concentration Of Retinol Matter?
As previously mentioned, everyone’s skin reacts to retinol in different ways. This means that there is no ideal concentration of retinol that works for everyone. To find out what is best for you, experiment with various products and vary the frequency of usage according to your skin’s tolerance for it. In addition, many retinol-based products also contain other nourishing skincare ingredients. Dr Dennis Gross Skincare’s Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum, combines ferulic acid, retinol and niacinamide for added antioxidant and brightening benefits.
Similarly, Dermalogica’s Overnight Retinol Repair, contains vitamin C to help fight discolouration. Peter Thomas Roth’s Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum, also contains vitamins C and E to further enhance skin tone and texture.