A Beginners Guide To Retinol

by Thursday, February 4, 2016

When it comes to skincare ingredients, one of the biggest players in the game is retinol. With decades of research and big seals of approval from dermatologists and skincare practitioners worldwide, the popularity of retinol is huge. Despite this, getting into retinol isn’t quite as straightforward as picking a product of the shelf and slapping it all over your face, and we often get asked for advice on using retinol products. So, if you’re considering retinol, here’s a quick guide to get you started.

What is retinol?

Put simply, retinol is a form of vitamin A. It’s an effective cell communicator that helps to normalize the function of the skin, making it a great product for improving lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, enlarged pores and sun-damaged skin.

How does it come?

Retinol is included in many skincare products, but it’s best applied as a serum or cream.

Who should use it?

Retinol is great for most skin types, particularly when those signs of ageing are beginning to show, however it is a definite no-no if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding. If you’re unsure, you can always give one of our advisors a call to determine if retinol would be suitable for you.

When should I use it?

Retinol can increase skin’s sensitivity to sun damage, so it’s always best to use your product at night and apply a broad spectrum sunscreen the following morning.

What strength should I use?

Our skin is not naturally tolerant to vitamin A (retinol included), so it is crucial you gradually build up this tolerance. People often think their skin will be able to handle it and go straight in with regular use of a high strength retinol in the hope they will get results quicker, but in reality it can aggravate skin and lead to redness, dryness and irritation.

You’ll notice retinol products come in different strengths, generally 0.3%, 0.5% and 1%. If you have never used retinol on the skin before, always start at the lowest level before working up to higher percentages. Not all skins can tolerate the higher levels of retinol and this is nothing to worry about. Never push your skin – as long as it’s suitable for your skin you will still see the results.

How often can I use retinol?

Again, this is all about building up usage to allow skin to adjust. Generally, we all know our skin and how much it can take. If you have been advised to use the product by a professional, they should let you know how regularly they recommend you apply. If you’re unsure, start off by using once or twice a week to see how the skin reacts, before slowly building up usage as the skin acclimatizes.

Can I include retinol in any regime?

This can vary, but combining retinols with other strong actives like AHAs or BHAs can be a bit harsh and over stripping on the skin. Including a vitamin C in your morning regime is also a great addition to as it will provide antioxidant protection, brighten the skin tone and boost collagen production, aiding the work of your retinol.

If you would like to discuss retinol in more detail or find the right retinol for you, speak to one of our skincare experts on 0113 282 3181.

Written for you by: Ellie, Face the Future