A few ingredients sparkle with the power of Retinol.

It is claimed to be the only one capable of efficiently reversing the effects of ageing and photo-ageing.

Is Retinol, however, as impressive as we’ve been taught to believe? Or is it just a product of marketing?

If you keep reading, I’ll address these and other questions:

Is Retinol actually necessary for your skin?

Yes, yes and yes.

If you don’t have it at home, you’ll be rushing out to get some after reading all about its benefits 😊. But keep reading to find out which one to choose and how to use it:

  • As people get older, their cell regeneration slows down.

A baby’s skin regenerates every two weeks, and I’m not going to tell you how it looks like. We grow, and the epidermis regenerates in about 28 days. However, as we become older, it can take up to three times as long: 45 to 90 days. This reduces the skin’s elasticity, vitality, and firmness.

  • Retinol rejuvenates the skin by speeding up cell renewal and thickening the epidermis with healthier cells.

  • Another ageing issue is that the skin stops its natural exfoliation and produces too much keratin. As a result, dead cells begin to build up, giving the skin a dry appearance, along with fine lines and wrinkles.

Retinol reduces the link between corneocytes (the cells that make up the stratum corneum), causing them to exfoliate more quickly (which is why the skin peels initially). Retinol also reduces keratin synthesis, which helps with this “peeling effect.” As a result, the skin develops new cells, becomes healthier, moisturised, and appears younger.

  • Retinol stimulates the activity of fibroblasts (cells that generate collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid).

Consider how an apple dries out and wrinkles as it loses water. It would be back to its original place if we could give it water and structure again.

When the skin produces collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, it plumps up and minimises wrinkles naturally.

  • UV rays trigger proteins that break down collagen. They are neutralised by retinol, which prevents photoaging.
  • It inhibits melanin synthesis. Retinol reduces pigmentation and improves pigment distribution, resulting in fewer skin spots.
  • It reduces sebum production and keeps pores unclogged. Although it is excellent for oily skin, dry skin may require additional moisture.
  • Retinol is a powerful antioxidant.
  • It boosts blood capillary growth.

However, not all retinoids do this, and they do not all work in the same way.

Here’s how to pick the right one for you.

Types of Retinol

Retinol is available in a number of forms.

Because the body can only absorb and react to retinoic acid, it’s best to use a cream that contains it directly.

All other types of Retinol involve transformations, and the more they require, the less efficient they are, and the more amount is needed.

Retinyl Palmitate is converted to Retinol (Vitamin A), which is then turned into Retinal (Retinaldehyde), and finally to Retinoic Acid.

  • The most effective is Retinoic Acid (tretinoin). However, it might cause skin irritation, redness, sensitivity, and peeling.

It is incompatible with the sun, so avoid using it if you are planning a sunny vacation.

It should not be used with other products or procedures such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, lasers, or other kinds of skin resurfacing. Every time you go to a beauty salon for a treatment, always let them know you’re using it.

  • Retinaldehyde is less commonly used since fewer clinical trials are proving its efficacy. It only requires one conversion to retinoic acid.

  • Retinol has most significant number of independent studies supporting its efficacy. It requires two conversions.

All three are unstable and deteriorate when exposed to heat, light, or air.

They’re frequently encapsulated or packaged in opaque or airless bottles.

  • It takes three transformations to go from retinyl palmitate to retinoic acid. It takes longer to see the effects, and a higher percentage is required.

Aside from the type of retinol, you must also consider the following:

  • A high concentration of retinol has similar effects to a low dosage of retinoic acid. However, keep in mind that 1 percent retinol is 20 times less effective than 0.01 percent retinoic acid.

  • Retinoic acid produces speedier outcomes; however, retinol can produce decent results if properly formulated and used long term.

  • It is commonly used in night creams due to its photosensitivity.

Because of their antioxidant qualities, retinol esters can be used during the day, but don’t forget to wear sunscreen. Encapsulation also allows for the addition of retinol to a day cream, but never retinaldehyde or retinoic acid.

  • Since it is light sensitive, opaque or dark packaging aids in its preservation.

  • When describing retinol complex, the proportion of retinol is referred to as the combination, rather than the individual retinol.

  • When retinol is encapsulated, some manufacturers consider the encapsulation to be retinol, which is not accurate.

So be on the lookout for this. A professional product will provide you with more information about percentages, composition, and technology than a product purchased over the counter or from a shady website. If a product does not provide you with any information, you should avoid it.

When should you start using Retinol?

From the ages of 26 to 28, low dosages of this anti-ageing product are advised to prevent wrinkles.

If you have acne, you can begin using it even sooner.

After the age of 30, Retinol becomes the daily workout your skin needs to stay younger for longer.

It’s never too late to start using Retinol, but the sooner you begin, the healthier your skin will be.

When should you avoid using Retinol?

Although Retinol esters can be used most of the time, other forms of Retinol require some precautions. You should avoid using it:

  • If the skin barrier isn’t in good shape.

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding.

  • Rosacea or very sensitive skin, without professional supervision.

  • Laser treatment, hair removal, or skin problems.

  • Vitamin A intolerant or skin sensitivity to this vitamin.

On this last point, I’d like to emphasise that only 4% of the population is intolerant. When you first start using Retinol, it is common to experience irritation, peeling, or stinging.

And the long-term advantages exceed the minor drawbacks in the first several weeks. However, if you read on, I’ll show you how to minimise or even avoid them.

What is the best way to get started with Retinol?

If you’ve never tried Retinol before, I recommend starting with Retinyl Palmitate or another ester and gradually progressing to Retinol.

Start with mild doses of Retinol every other day, 2 to 3 times a week, and gradually increase the days and dosages.

Then, either move to retinaldehyde or, if your skin tolerates large dosages of Retinol effectively, switch to retinoic acid.

This approach will prevent the itching and flaking that are common in the beginning.

Irritation is the body’s reaction to internal inflammation. Inflamed skin releases proteins that damage collagen fibres; thus, fighting ageing by inducing ageing is pointless.

You’ll begin to see results after 2-4 months.

What’s the best Retinol application?

Even though esters and some encapsulated retinol can be used during the day, it is typically applied evenly in the evening, immediately after cleansing.

Don’t put any other product before your retinol. It would block its penetration and stop its work.

Always read the manufacturer’s recommendations before using your product.

It would help if you also waited for the skin to dry before applying retinol, especially at first, because moist skin allows it to penetrate deeper and can cause more irritation.

Retinol should be the only product applied to your face at night unless your skin is really dry, where you may also use a moisturiser.

If this is the case, you should wait at least 15 minutes before applying the moisturiser.

As a first step, avoid application near the lips and the eyes. Once your skin becomes more tolerable, you can start the application on these areas.

Retinol’s side effects

Irritation is the most common adverse reaction to retinol usage. Therefore, I advise starting slowly.

  • Retinoid dermatitis can arise, causing redness, flaking, and increased skin sensitivity.
  • It also promotes dryness, which is beneficial for oily skin but undesirable for other skin types.
  • Dead cells are harder and more sun-resistant. Retinol gets rid of them, making your skin look younger. Although those young cells have higher levels of hydration, they are also more UV sensitive. Sunscreen should always be applied in the morning.

If you follow the steps outlined in the preceding section, your skin will appear younger without adverse side effects.

Ingredients that should never be used with retinol

Because retinol promotes skin exfoliation, it has several limitations to being used with other substances.

  • Retinol and acne treatments such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
  • Retinol and alpha hydroxy acids. Although both help decrease lines and wrinkles, using them simultaneously is not a great idea.

Excessive redness, irritation, even dryness and flaking can occur when these products are used together. The more inflammation there is, the faster the skin ages, so don’t let this overpower the rejuvenating effect of retinol and make your skin look worse.

Ingredients compatible with Retinol

There are some substances that provide fantastic effects when combined with Retinol.

  • Hyaluronic Acid + Retinol: Retinol is frequently associated with peeling, sensitivity, and dryness. By providing hydration, hyaluronic acid prevents this to happen. 
  • Sunscreen + Retinol: If you’re using Retinol, you should wear sunscreen with SPF30 or higher every day.
  • Retinol and ferulic acid: Ferulic acid is an antioxidant that boosts the effects of other vitamins while also protecting the skin from sun damage.

It improves the effectiveness of Retinol by allowing it to penetrate deeper into the skin and increase collagen synthesis.

  • Vitamins A, C and E: Collagen breakdown can be prevented by using these three vitamins in your daily routine.

Add these youthful blends to your regimen today and start getting amazing results.

Can you apply Retinol in summer?

As previously said, Retinol causes your skin to become more sensitive and less tolerant to sunlight. The skin has been regenerated with new, less keratinised cells. It contains fewer layers of dead cells and is therefore less resistant to the sun’s rays.

So, my recommendation is that if you are planning sunny holidays, you should stop using Retinol a few days before or switch to the mild version (esters).

Use sunscreen at all times, no matter what’s the weather like. I know I’ve said this a lot, but it’s essential to keep it in mind.

Retinol is a must-have ingredient to include in your daily routine. Although the benefits fade when you stop using it, the good news is that you may use it all the time; there is no need to take breaks.

Start today to really rejuvenate your face and make your skin look younger and younger.

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