Retinol: What, Why & How.

Retinol: The What, Why & How.

By Caitlin Traynor

Retinol, also known as Vitamin A, is one of the most dermatologist-approved and powerful antioxidants currently on the market. This skin-transformer comes in many shapes and forms – from prescription and over the counter to being added in products as a step in your routine. We understand the importance of implementing something new, so breaking down the what, why and how behind retinol before incorporating it into your routine is vital.

Retinol, also known as Vitamin A, is one of the most dermatologist-approved and powerful antioxidants currently on the market. This skin-transformer comes in many shapes and forms – from prescription and over the counter to being added in products as a step in your routine. We understand the importance of implementing something new, so breaking down the what, why and how behind retinol before incorporating it into your routine is vital.

Retinol, also known as Vitamin A, is one of the most dermatologist-approved and powerful antioxidants currently on the market. This skin-transformer comes in many shapes and forms – from prescription and over the counter to being added in products as a step in your routine. We understand the importance of implementing something new, so breaking down the what, why and how behind retinol before incorporating it into your routine is vital.

What is RETINOL?

Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A and an antioxidant. This powerful antioxidant has a keratolytic effect, meaning it helps to accelerate skin renewal by encouraging the outer layer of skin to shed and new skin cells to be created. In skincare, retinol works by affecting gene expression which enhances collagen production and results in an evening of the skin’s tone.

This effective multi-tasker does everything from targeting hyperpigmentation to diminishing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. By preventing pores from becoming blocked through promoting cell regeneration, retinol helps reduce blemishes. The brightening properties are also a key characteristic of Vitamin A, so if radiance is an area of concern for you, it could be worth looking at incorporating a retinol into your routine.

 

Why do we need it?

Retinol requires consistent use before seeing active results and the multitude of benefits that long-term retinol use provides suggests that anyone from their mid-20s should begin incorporating it into their routine. Traditionally, we all tend to shift towards anti-ageing products at age 30, when collagen reproduction starts to slow down, but retinol can also be used earlier as a preemptive measure.

However, it’s important to note that women who are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy, are advised not to use topical or oral retinol as it can be harmful to the unborn baby.

HOW TO MAKE IT EFFECTIVE?

As UV radiation can break down retinol, rending them inactive, it’s recommended to use them at night as that is when they will be most effective. However, once you use retinol, it is very important to wear an SPF30 or higher as retinol can also increase photosensitivity.

 

WHEN starting out

It’s recommended to start slowly when using retinol – recommending once or twice a week until your skin adapts to the formula. As retinol is a very powerful ingredient, it can often cause irritation to the skin. This can be anything from purging to causing redness, flakiness, dryness and slight burning. But this discomfort will pass as your skin adapts to the product and like with any other skincare product, consistency is the key to seeing the best results.

 

WHEN APPLYING ...

When layering your skincare products after cleansing and toning, the general rule of thumb is to order them from lightest to heaviest. The lightest formula could be a serum and the heaviest can be a moisturiser. Therefore, with the form of retinol you can choose where it sits as a step in your routine but ensure you leave 10 minutes for the potent formula to work into the skin or the following product will counterbalance it. Don’t forget to apply to the neck and décolletage, this is often where signs of ageing show most and can sometimes be overlooked.