Retinol. It is a product that has sent the beauty world crazy and is finally on the high street being recommended in most magazines, newspapers and by Instgram influencers everywhere.
There are many options to choose from, so many brands, so many and so many myths surrounding this wonder product that it can seem a little scary.
I want to educate you on the basics so you feel confident to not only understand what its all about but hopefully start to use Retinol, as it is really is the wonder product it claims to be (and there is scientific proof to back this!)
Get comfortable and let's talk Retinol.
WHAT IS RETINOL?
Retinol is hands down the industry's gold standard ingredient. Simply put it is a form of Vitamin A, an ingredient that promotes skin renewal and enhances collagen production.
I like to think of Retinol as a “diva molecule” as you can't just put on your face and see results, it needs to be a dedicated process to see results.
WHAT DOES IT ACTUALLY DO?
Collagen is essential to strong, youthful looking skin. In addition to preserving your collagen stores, retinoids can also promote new collagen production. When it comes to defense against fine lines and maintaining a healthy glow, there's no ingredient in skincare quite like it.
SO MANY TYPES OF RETINOL, WHERE DO I START?
Start at the beginning. It is better to air on the side of caution as Retinol can be very irritating if used too frequently or if the formulation is too strong for your skin.
There are various strengths of Retinol 0.1% being the lowest. It's a good idea to start to gradually introduce with a low percentage and work your way up.
HOW DO I USE IT?
When introducing the product to your skin, use a pea-sized amount maybe 2 times a week to start with slowly increasing the usage to give the skin a chance to acclimate. As a rule of thumb, I always say when you have completed a tube of retinol then its time to move up a level.
Be sure to keep away from eyes, and always use on a cleansed face at night only. Allow 15 minutes for the product to sink in before applying any other products.
HOW SOON WILL I SEE RESULTS?
This is where the diva molecule comes in. It is not an overnight fix. It is a process and I always say to allow 3 months to see results (and you will). It really is worth the wait. During those 3 months, you will be able to allow your skin to adapt, and allow the product to do its job.
WILL I PEEL?
To peel is a natural part of the process as the retinol speeds up the skin's natural cell turnover process in order to do its good work.
My advice is always not to give in if you start to peel, just up the hydration.
Side effects, such as mild irritation, dryness, and sun sensitivity are normal as your skin adjusts to the active, intense flaking, redness, and burning are not and those with especially sensitive skin. If this happens, stop using and speak to your practitioner for advice, it may be you need to drop a level or use less till your skin adjusts.
I HEARD IT THINS SKIN?
Retinol actually thickens the skin, increasing cell turnover and collagen production for thicker, more youthful skin.
YOU MUST APPLY SPF DAILY
Retinol makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays and sunlight decreases the efficacy of the product. I always instruct patients to only use retinoids at night and be diligent about applying a daily broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher during the day.
It is also important to note that with retinol use, one should always be conscious of the weather forecast and trips to hot locations. Ideally, it should not be used during seasons or vacations when individuals will be spending extended time in direct sunlight.
My recommended SPFS can be found here
ITS NOT JUST FOR THE FACE
This wonder product can also be used on the hands and chest. What's not to love!!
I hope this has been useful and I am happy to answer any questions you have on Retinol.
Here are some of my favourite products that I use myself and recommend to my patients: