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What is Retinol?
- Retinol is a derivitive of Vitamin A.
- There are many different strengths of retinol, starting with very strong, prescription only ones.
- While there is a possibility they can cause irritation to the skin, retinols found in skincare products, are much safer and gentler to use.
- A common mild form of retinol, is retinyl palmitate, and is often found in skincare products. There is usually very little irritation from this.
What does a Retinol do?
A retinol will
- Prevent wrinkles
- Brighten dull skin
- Treat acne
- Fades dark spots
How does a Retinol work?
When retinol is applied to the skin in products, it converts into the stronger retinoc acid.
This works by getting the surface skin cells to die off, more quickly, allowing for new cells to grow and appear more rapidly.
So basically it is increasing and speeding up ‘cell renewal’. As we age, anything that makes this process happen more effectively, is good!
This process promotes, fresher, brighter, younger looking skin on the surface.
When should I start using a Retinol?
It is never too early to start using a retinol! However don’t fret if you have not yet started. While it takes approximately 3-6 months to notice any difference, you need to think of using this product as saving your skin for the next 10, 20 years and beyond.
What strength Retinol should I use?
- Retinol skincare usually comes in grades from 0.1% to 2%.
- The most important rule of retinol is to start slow and build gradually.
- Because of the effect that retinol is having on the skin – bringing skin cells to the surface more quickly – the skin can become sensitive, irritated and in some cases peel.
- First time users should use a low concentration – 0.3% – use it perhaps 3 times per week, increasing to 4, then 5 etc, every other week – as long as no irritation occurs.
- After this product, if your skin has not reacted, then you can progress to a 0.5% – again proceed with caution until you know how your skin is reacting, and so on.
How do I use Retinol?
- Retinol should only be used in the evening.
- Use it on clean skin, before the application of any other products.
- Allow it to absorb before applying anything else.
- ALWAYS use an SPF the following day. Those new skin cells need to be seriously protected as they come to the skin’s surface.
Which Retinol product should I use?
A retinol product should come in an airtight, light-proof container, as it can become unstable when exposed to the air and sunlight.
There are so many retinol products out there! It can be so confusing choosing. So I’ve chosen a few of my favourite, trusted brands. Remember, if you are new to retinol, start with low strength and progress from there.
Beginners - Low Strength
Intermediate - Medium strength
Advanced - High strength
- You should not use retinol products when pregnant or breastfedding, or at least consult your doctor about this.
- If you are going on holiday somewhere much hotter and sunnier than you are used to, then its advisable to pause your retinol. Stop using it approx. 4 days before you go away. This will protect your skin from extreme temperatures and sun and prevent burning and irritation.
- As mentioned, your skin may become red, irritated or in some cases peel. If this occurs, scale back on the application. Let your skin calm down and then try again. Also, look at the % of the retinol. It may be too strong.
What is granactive retinol?
Granactive retinol is a version of retinol with lower potential to irritate, therefore, better for more sensitive skins and those just starting out, using retinol.