Retinol: The skin-transforming ingredient decoded

What is retinol? Well, simply put, it’s a powerful ingredient that works wonders for erasing fine lines, hyperpigmentation, stimulates collagen production, balances skin tone, helps fade acne scars, and the list continues. Now you may be asking how and why? Get ready to have all your questions answered as we are going to break down everything behind retinol from what the ingredients are, how to use it, the do’s and don’ts, and ways to integrate the magical properties of retinol into your skincare routine!

Super Star Ingredient

When it comes to anti-aging skincare, retinol is one of the most effective ingredients to use. Retinol is a type of Vitamin A that neutralizes free radicals, boosts collagen production, and accelerates skin turnover. Retinol is the over the counter version of the dermatology prescription ingredient retinoid, by being less strong and having a lower concentration of active ingredients. Retinol products normally have a concentration level of 0.01% where the prescribed retinoid has a higher concentration level of 0.5 - 1%. While retinoid can be a bit harsh on the skin and can cause redness, retinol is less strong and can be easier to use even if you have sensitive skin.

Myths Behind Retinol

There have been many myths about retinol, the most common being that it causes skin irritations such as peeling or that you can’t be exposed to the sun while using a retinol product. These things are not accurate, but we understand how these myths would make one cautious when thinking about trying a retinol infused product. Another thing to note is that although retinol is great for anti-aging benefits, it’s benefit goes beyond reducing wrinkles. It’s also amazing for treating acne, large pores, skin texture, and hyperpigmentation! This is because retinol boosts the skin turnover process and helps unclog pores. This allows your creams and other skincare products to work better!

When to Start Using Retinol

As for when to start using retinol, for anti-aging purposes, it’s recommended to start introducing retinol in your 30s and using it consistently starting at 40. But since it can help with conditions that are not only anti-aging related, you can also start using it in your mid-twenties to improve skin texture or adult acne.

Establishing a Skincare Routine with Retinol

Now the fun part, incorporating retinol into your skincare routine! Our current favorite retinol product is the Celestial Black Diamond Retinol Oil from 111SKIN. This Retinol Oil delivers 1% of pure retinol deep into the skin with the aid of Diamond Particles. It’s also blended with eight natural oils to soothe and hydrate the skin. To use, apply a few drops in the evening onto clean, dry skin. Begin by using this product two to three times per week and gradually increase usage as the skin becomes accustomed to it. Two other retinol favorites of ours are the Natura Bissé Essential Shock Intense Retinol Fluid and Clé de Peau Beauté Wrinkle Smoothing Serum. Both are very potent serums that you apply at night onto clean skin. After applying products with retinol, it’s important to deeply moisturize the skin. Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream is perfect for locking in the retinol serum, soothing, and hydrating the skin.

Do's and Don'ts with using Retinol

  • When beginning your retinol journey, it’s a good idea to slowly introduce the product into your routine to see if your skin agrees with the ingredient. After your skin gets acclimated to retinol, you can then increase the days you use it or even start using it every day.

  • Although retinol can be used both AM and PM, we suggest using it at night since sunlight can make the active ingredients inactive.

  • When using retinol, you should not mix the product with Vitamin C at the same time. When mixed, the ingredients render each other ineffective. A great way of using a both Vitamin C and Vitamin A in your routine is:
    - Use retinol at night since it works best without sun exposure and boosts the regeneration of your skin cell turnover and collagen production at night.
    - Use Vitamin C in the morning since it fights off free radicals that you are exposed to during the day.
    - We love using the 111SKIN Vitamin C Brightening Booster in the morning before applying moisturizer and using Zelens Power A High Potency Vitamin A Treatment Drops at night.

    Retinol for the Eye Area

    To smooth fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area, try using a retinol infused eye cream! Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster Advanced Repair Retinol Eye Cream has the highest concentration of retinol in synergy with hyaluronic acid to tighten, erase fine lines, and strengthen the skin.

    For the days when your eyes need a bit more TLC, the KNC Eye Mask is a dream come true for depuffing and brightening the eye area. Plus, it’s shaped like a shooting star so you look incredibly chic while the retinol infused mask does its trick.

    Why Stop at the Face?

    The first signs of aging appear on the neck, décolletage, and hands so we love to use retinol as an allover treatment. For the hands and body, the Chantecaille Retinol Hand Cream and Retinol Body Treatment are luxurious creams infused with retinol to firm and combat signs of aging. To treat both the neck and décolletage, Clé de Peau Beauté Synactif Neck and Décolleté Cream reduces wrinkles and gives the skin a radiant finish.

    How to Tell if Retinol isn’t Right for You?

    If you are struggling with conditions such as rosacea or eczema you should be careful with the use of retinol or completely stay away from it. But not to worry, there are other fantastic anti-aging products such as the Sisley-Paris Sisleya L’integral Anti-aging Cream. Packed with skin-loving active ingredients, this cream effectively works to preserve the skin’s youthful glow.

    Don’t forget SPF!

    No matter if you are using retinol or not, you should never forget about your daily SPF! We can’t stress how important sunscreen is for preventing damage to the skin. An SPF favorite of ours is the RéVive Soleil Superieur Broad Spectrum SPF 50 as it has a lightweight texture that instantly absorbs into the skin. It also won the 2020 Cos Bar Beauty Award for Best Sun Protection!

    So that’s everything you need to know about retinol! Retinol is one of the most effective ingredients for treating so many skincare concerns such as improving skin texture or erasing fine lines, so we hope that you get to love the benefits of retinol as much as we do. Cheers to healthy, happy, and glowing skin!


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