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Retinol is a form of vitamin A, which is a powerful ingredient that speeds up cell turnover, and protects the skin from free radical damage. Retinoids work by prompting surface skin cells to turn over making way for new cell growth underneath. The skin normally takes about 28 days from the first formation of a cell until that cell naturally sheds. This process slows down as we age, which can lead to dry, dull skin as well as clogged pores – which can all exacerbate the appearance of fine lines. Retinol speeds up this process to 14 to 16 days. This effect has been linked with a better looking skin and improvement in the appearance of fullness in the skin. 

Retinols give skin a rosy appearance, fade age and sunspots, and help reduce wrinkles in problem areas on the face and neck.

Retinoic acid, which is what retinols are converted into, work to increase cell turnover, stimulate collagen and elastin production, fade hyperpigmentation, and help skin stay hydrated and glowing.

If you’ve never used Retinol before, you should be aware of initial side effects, such as skin dryness and peeling. This will subside as your skin gets used to the product, and then you’ll start to see the amazing benefits. When you first start, wait 3-4 days before you use retinol cream again, to avoid your face drying out. Then, after a couple of weeks, use it 3 times a week for about 3 weeks. Slowly increase your usage for 6 months until you build up your tolerance and are using it every day.

Retinoid, Retinol and Retin-A  are all part of the same family. A retinoid is the name of the group that lots of products are formed from. It’s a chemical class. Retin A and retinol are just forms of the retinoid. Retinol is the over the counter version of retinoid so therefore it contains a lower concentration of the retinoid. Retin A is the prescription form of a retinoid, it’s also known as tretinoin. While a retinol may not work as quickly as a retinoid, it does yield the exact same results. There are several benefits to using retinols which include: 

  • increases cellular turnover
  • increases collagen and promotes elasticity
  • decreases fine lines and wrinkles
  • refine skin texture and tone
  • treat acne
  • clears pores
  • brightens skin

Things to know about retinols:

  • Retinols should be applied at night, since sunlight will degrade the retinol and minimize its effects. Plus, since we sweat and touch our skin less while sleeping, it allows the retinol to work on your skin uninterrupted. If worn in the daytime make sure that you use a sunscreen.
  • Studies actually show after 2 to 3 weeks of applying retinol, your skin cells adjust to the retinoic acid and the irritation will subside; so if you’re skin gets a little irritated at first- hang in there!
  • Retinol is an antioxidant that enhances multiple aspects of skin, to help it look healthier, smoother, and more radiant. Depending on the strength, retinol can cause temporary flaking as a side effect, this isn’t the same as exfoliation. 
  • Keep in mind, too, that a small amount, about the size of a pea, is all you need for your face. More is not better when it comes to this product.  It’s all about consistency of use.
  •  It can take 4 to 6 weeks to see any results. If you’re using an over-the-counter product, versus one prescribed by your dermatologist then you’ll probably be waiting closer to 12 weeks to see those results.
  • If the irritation is totally unbearable, though, then just decrease the amount of times you’re using it per week. Or drop to a weaker formula.
  • Doctors will recommend that you avoid using a retinol or retinoid while pregnant or breastfeeding.

The order in which you should apply retinols may vary depending on if you are using a retinol cream or retinol serum and what other products you are applying to your face. The general rule of thumb is to apply retinol product the same way you would any other skincare product, i.e., from the thinnest consistency to the thickest. If you are unsure it’s best that you ask. If you would like a skin consultation then please contact us on 07779 739 488.