What Are Retinols?
If your current skincare concerns include fine lines, wrinkles, pore size, uneven skin tone and texture, then you may want to consider adding a product with retinol to your routine.
Retinols and retinoids are both derived from Vitamin A. In general, you will find that retinols are available in over the counter products, while retinoids require a prescription from a physician. But the two are related as your skin gradually converts retinol into retinoic acid, the active ingredient in the prescription retinoid creams. In skincare, retinol is the gold standard for preserving a youthful look for your skin because it is the only scientifically proven ingredient that effectively stimulates the production of collagen. And, if you are like many people dealing with aging and acne, it has the added benefit of being extremely effective against acne. Retinol promotes skin renewal, and helps lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and reverses sun damage. Because it is such an effective product for your skin, retinol is the only ingredient the FDA will allow companies to refer to as “anti-aging” in the U.S.
Overall, there are many benefits to consistent retinol use, such as:
- Firmer, plumper skin with diminished fine lines and wrinkles.
- Faster skin cell regeneration cycle, which encourages a smoother, more even complexion.
- Less hyperpigmentation.
How to Use Retinols
Always follow the directions on your retinol products. After cleansing and toning, allow your skin to fully dry for up to 30 minutes as this helps reduce the flakiness many people experience when using retinol. Apply a small amount of your retinol product all over your face, focusing on the forehead, around your mouth, under your eyes, and along your jawline. Most manufacturers recommend using retinol products at night, as sunlight can diminish their effectiveness. You should also wear sunscreen while using retinols as your skin may be more sensitive.
Because retinol encourages new skin cell production, it also speeds up the dying of old skin cells that cause skin flakes. When you start using retinol, you should apply it to your face once or twice per week. As your skin gets used to its effects, you can increase the frequency of use until you can use it every day. Using a gentle chemical exfoliation once or twice a week will help minimize the peeling that retinol is known to cause, especially when you first begin to use it. Another option is to use a retinol oil. This is especially good for people with sensitive or dry skin as it combines the skin renewal properties of retinol with the hydrating and protective effects of oils.
If you are not using a retinol oil, and use retinol on its own, apply a gentle moisturizer after the retinol has fully absorbed into your skin. Try to wait at least 20 minutes before applying any product on top of your retinol to ensure your skin is receiving a full concentration of this powerful ingredient. Finally, there are no specific ingredients you should avoid when using retinols but try to only use one product with vitamin A in your skincare routine at a time to be sure of the amount you apply to your skin.
Things to Keep in Mind While Using Retinols
Retinols and retinoids can be an invaluable addition to your skincare routine, but you need to allow some time for your skin to adjust to these products. Retinol is notoriously irritating at the beginning phases of use, which is why a lot of women stop using these products before seeing any results. Retinol oils are a great way to deliver the benefits of retinol, while reducing the downside of dry, flakey skin and many newer forms of retinol are less irritating..
Initially, your skin may purge (bring underlying blemishes to the surface quicker), peel, and experience some mild inflammation when you start using a retinol. But once your skin settles down, it will be worth the effort. Remember to ease your skin into retinol use, and gradually phase it into your routine. For the first two weeks of using the serum apply it twice a week. Then, for the next two weeks apply it every other night and from then on apply it every evening. If you feel your skin is irritated by this, drop down a step to allow your skin to naturally adjust to the higher levels of vitamin A it is experiencing. Once your skin is able to adjust, you’ll be enjoying the benefits of smoother, more even toned and supple skin!