Everything you need to know about retinol

There is no ingredient in skincare more lauded than Retinol, with good reason! The revolutionary youth-enhancing, skin-smoothing, pore-refining power house should be the cornerstone of every anti-ageing skincare regimen! Despite the praise it receives, and how many people now use it, it still seems to mystify, with many either under-utilising it or misusing it. We have shared everything you need to know below.

What is it? Vitamin A and the retinoid family are the most potent antioxidants for the skin to combat free radical damage, while stimulating collagen production. They also target many of our skin concerns like fine lines, discoloration, enlarged pores, blackheads, acne, as well as having a mild protective action against the development of certain types of skin cancers.

When to begin? Ideally start in your early 20s, well before the first signs of ageing.

Start Slowly: Many people are wary of the peeling produced by retinoids but almost everyone can tolerate Retinol if it is introduced in the correct way. Start with a gentle formula if you have sensitive skin – like @skinbetter Alpharet Overnight Cream- using a quarter pea-sized amount to your forehead and outer cheeks (avoid your nose and around your mouth), followed by a good moisturiser or serum every 3rd night and gradually increase the frequency to every night. The sooner you start, the better!

Monitor any side effects: While mild irritation, dryness, and sun sensitivity are normal as your skin adjusts to an active ingredient, intense flaking, redness, and burning are not. So those with especially sensitive skin, or who struggle with conditions like Rosacea or Eczema, should be wary and may have to avoid retinoids altogether. But we can help with recommendations on other anti-ageing ingredients and products if so.

Wear an SPF every day: As Retinol makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays, the product is only used at night and must be followed in the morning by diligent and daily SPF application! A broad-spectrum SPF 30+ is recommended. If you are on holiday or expecting to spend a lot of time in direct sunlight (which we don’t advise!) it is worth pausing your Retinol use during that time.

Don’t forget your neck! When applying your retinoid, don’t neglect your neck and décolletage, which are often overlooked. If you think your neck and chest are too sensitive for your facial formula, consider mixing it with a ceramide-enriched moisturiser before smoothing it on or go for a formula targeted to sensitive skin, like the skinbetter Alpharet Overnight Cream referenced above. A unique combination of an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and a retinoid it provides visible skin rejuvenation with little-to-no irritation.
Choosing your product: Finding the right Retinol product for your individual skin will optimise results. For less sensitive skin, we recommend Revision Retinol Complete which is a revolutionary 1% Retinol containing facial serum designed to brighten and smooth skin's texture with the power of five antioxidants and a proprietary blend of botanical extracts to boost the effectiveness of Retinol while minimising irritation and providing long-term hydration. It contains the antioxidants Bakuchiol, Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q), THD Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Tocopherol and Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E).
Both products mentioned are available on our online shop.