What exactly is retinol and why is everyone raving about this skin care ingredient? Skin care ingredients tend to focus on improving one particular aspect of the skin: niacinamide calms sensitivity and hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin. Retinol, however, seems to treat a variety of different ailments - from reducing acne to improving skin dullness and treating pigmentation.
We share all about retinol and its benefits, along with possible side effects and whether its for you in this post.
What is retinol?
Retinol is a synthetic derivative of vitamin A, the group of fat-soluble vitamins common in carrots, eggs and sweet potatoes. It converts to retinoic acid when applied topically on the skin - and increases skin cell production, unclogs pores, exfoliates the skin and increases collagen production.
Benefits of Using Retinol in Your Skin Care Routine
Retinol works by altering the behaviour of aged cells and stimulates collagen production. This improves the skin's elasticity, plumpness and smooths out wrinkles and fine lines.
Applying vitamin A topically in the form of retinol can include the following benefits:
- Anti-ageing benefits: it reduces the appearance of ageing by increasing skin cell production and collagen production. Your skin cells divide more slowly as you age and the middle layer (dermis) of your skin starts to thin - making it hard to retain moisture. Collagen and elastin production also slows down. Using retinol can help slow the breakdown of collagen and increase production to keep your skin smooth and plump.
- Improve skin dullness: brightens dull skin by exfoliating at a cellular level, which results in brighter and smoother new skin.
- Reduce acne and oily skin: it regulates sebum production and unclog pores to effectively treat acne and oily skin as acne is caused by excess sebum production. Retinol helps to prevent clogged pores and improve acne. In addition, it also helps to reduce the swelling, redness and inflammation that comes with acne.
- Lighten hyperpigmentation: dark spots, also known as hyperpigmentation, can come in the form of age spots, freckles and uneven skin tone. Developed as a result of sun damage and even hormonal changes such as menopause and pregnancy, retinol helps to lighten these discolouration and exfoliates the skin for brighter, radiant skin.
Possible Side Effects of Using Retinol
Retinol, with all its benefits, is an extremely strong skin care ingredient. The stronger the concentration of retinol, the more likely the skin reacts negatively. It is best to use retinol at the prescription of a skin expert to avoid redness, flakiness and dryness.
Incorporate the product containing retinol slowly and determine if its suitable for your skin. If there is visible redness or peeling, you might want to consult an aesthetician or dermatologist.
It is also essential to use sunscreen everyday after incorporating retinol into your skin care routine.
Retinol accelerates skin cell turnover and exfoliates the skin - this means that the skin cells on the surface are young and require more protection from harmful UV rays and external aggressors. Using a sunscreen is crucial to protecting your skin from sensitivity, increased pigmentation and even burns.
How can you manage the side effects of retinol?
These are some of our best practices when using skin care products containing retinol:
- Use only one retinol product at a time and monitor its effects on your skin. Using too many different retinol products at once may not only increase chances of sensitivity - it also makes it harder for you to identify the product causing it.
- Use the product as prescribed, and reduce the frequency if needed.
- Use a good toner to balance your face's pH after washing your face.
- Do not use retinol products if you have a sunburn, broken skin or other skin irritations. It is also important to avoid retinol if you are pregnant, or trying to get pregnant.
- Use SPF 30 and wear sun protective clothing and hats to reduce your exposure to the sun.
Our Favourite Skin Care Product with Retinol
For acne-prone and oily skin:
300 Velvet Skin-Mattifying Cream has been developed with the complex anti-ageing requirements of combination and oily skin in mind. The product’s active ingredients supply intensive moisture and smooth wrinkles and lines, while gently mattifying shiny areas – long-lastingly. With its light texture, it is rapidly absorbed and leaves the skin feeling silky-soft. Enjoy the wonderful floral fragrance of this very special day-and-night cream, and experience a mattified complexion for many hours!
For ageing and dry skin:
An indispensable night care for dry skin. Revitalizing and protective active ingredients work in synergy to regenerate the skin overnight. The skin's lipid barrier is repaired - keeping the moisture locked in and protecting the skin from external aggressors for stronger, healthier skin.