Skincare trends come and go, but dermatologists agree retinol is one of the few ingredients proven to give you younger- looking skin. It’s effective, safe and affordable – definitely worth a try!
So, what is retinol?
Retinol is an over-the- counter derivative of vitamin A and has been used for wrinkle treatments for over 40 years. Retinol products come in various strengths and formulations and there are plenty of effective options to choose from.
If you want a stronger version – meaning faster results – see your doctor or a dermatologist for a prescription. Surprisingly, a script product can be comparable in price with consumer options. A word of warning - if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, retinol is not recommended.
What does retinol do?
Put simply, retinol products stimulate collagen production, which reduces fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol also accelerates cell turnover to even out discolouration, smooths skin texture and unclogs pores. If you have acne, these products will help your skin too. Sound impressive? That’s because they are!
How to use retinol
Retinol can cause dryness, redness and flaking, but don’t be concerned – by easing it into your regime you’ll avoid a rough transition.
The formulations often come mixed with soothing and hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid to help counteract the potential for irritation.
The right time to apply a retinol product is at night, to clean, dry skin. Very little is required. For example, if the product comes with a pump, you’ll only need one pea‐size pump for your face and two if you’re applying to your neck and chest. Follow with your regular night cream, unless otherwise advised. During the day, apply sunscreen.
Retinols don’t make your skin any more sensitive to the sun than exfoliation, but the ingredient itself is sensitive to sunlight. Protecting your skin from sun damage makes good sense regardless.
TIP: If once a week is too strong for your skin, mix your product with sorbolene before applying. Sorbolene is inert and therefore can’t cause any harm.
During the first week apply the product once or twice with a few nights in between. This will depend on how reactive your skin tends to be.
The following week, use it every other night, provided your skin is not showing signs of irritation, in which case keep using it once or twice a week for a couple more weeks. Over time your skin’s tolerance will grow so eventually you’ll go from using retinol every second night to nightly. Improvement is gradual and will become noticeable in about 12 weeks.