Retinol is a skincare favorite that combats acne & stops aging in its tracks. Do you know how retinol can change everything you knew about skincare?
Introducing one of our favorite skincare ingredients—retinol. Often deemed as a “restorative,” “regenerative” and “revitalizing” treatment, retinol is a widely accepted favorite among skincare gurus and professionals alike.
Retinol, an ingredient derived from Vitamin A, encourages the production of collagen and promotes cellular turnover. These processes rid dead skin cells to reveal layers of firm, rejuvenated skin. Retinol actually changes the way cells operate, prompting them to shed and regenerate at a faster pace to unveil the youthful, resilient skin cells beneath.
You may have heard retinol referred to as ‘retinoids’ too. Simply put, a retinoidis the concentrated form of retinol. Retinoid is the chemical class that composes the less concentrated ingredient, retinol. Used as a broader term to encompass prescription-strength products and OTC (over the counter) products, retinoids are considerably potent and can be quite harsh on the skin.
Both retinol and retinoids are derived from vitamin A and transformed into retinoic acid. Compared to retinol, retinoids contain a higher concentration of retinoic acid, which is what makes retinoids the more intense treatment that often requires a prescription.
If you’ve already integrated retinol into your skincare routine, it’s likely that you’re reveling in the near-magic effects retinol has on your skin. Known for its anti-aging, acne-fighting, skin-tone-evening powers, retinol is highly acclaimed for its ability to turn back the clock and reverse the signs of aging.
Retinol comes in an array of potent products, from natural retinol serums to gentle creams and moisturizers. In fact, retinol products have flooded the market lately as more and more benefits of retinol have come to light. Many people who swear by anti-aging face masks have hopped on the retinol bandwagon.
Retinol cream is exactly what it sounds like — cream infused with concentrated amounts of retinol. These treatments are typically night creams with differing amounts of retinol to accommodate various skin sensitivities. (As sunlight deactivates retinoic acid, retinol creams are to be used at night to elicit the full effects of the ingredient.) These creams work to smoothen out fine lines and wrinkles, to reduce hyperpigmentation, uneven texture and age spots, and to brighten the skin through cellular exfoliation.
Including retinol in your skincare routine can revive your skin to its most vibrant and luminous state.
When it comes to elevating the appearance and health of your skin, what does retinol do? The better question might be: what doesn’t retinol do for your skin?
Retinol works below the surface, altering the cell turnover process to heal the skin and restore its natural radiance on a cellular level. From uneven tone, to acne-ridden skin, to wrinkles and frown lines, retinol benefits are transformative. This ingredient is worthy of joining your nightly skincare routine.
As with many potent ingredients, retinol can cause some irritation on the skin. When you first begin experiencing retinol benefits, your skin may react with redness, dryness, flakiness, peeling or minor acne. It’s recommended that you incorporate retinol into your skincare routine as a gradual process to reduce the chance of side effects and allow your skin time to adjust.
If you use retinol too often or merge it into your skin regimen too quickly, the skin can become increasingly sensitive and may burn in the sun, flake, crack or peel more than normal. People with highly sensitive skin should be cautious of their retinol usage. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use retinol, as high concentrations of vitamin A have reportedly led to birth defects.
It’s important to consider how your skin is reacting to retinol to understand if this treatment is right for you. If you have an extreme reaction, or your skin starts to crack or break into sores, this could indicate an allergic reaction. In this case, you should stop using retinol immediately to prevent further irritation.
To bypass the few side effects of retinol, don’t use it every day or in heavy doses when you’re first starting out. Your skin is gentle, and it has gotten used to its natural composition. Adding an extra ingredient will inevitably spark a change in the way your skin cells behave and appear overall. Allow your skin to transition smoothly by introducing retinol little-by-little.
When you apply retinol topically, the skin becomes considerably sensitive. As you mix retinol with sunlight, this sensitivity increases. The new skin cells generating and rising to the surface are delicate. They require some extra TLC, especially from the sun’s intense UV rays. This sensitive reaction is why retinol should be used before you go to sleep, not before you bask in the sun.
Include retinol in your nightly skincare routine 2 nights a week when you begin your retinol regimen. Apply your retinol treatment before bed, allowing 20 to 30 minutes for your skin to absorb the ingredient. After a half hour, you can incorporate gentle products to keep your skin hydrated and properly moisturized. Any product you add must contain gentle ingredients to avoid any added stress on your skin.
You can remove other exfoliants and masks from your nightly routine, because retinol works as a natural exfoliant on its own. Doubling up on exfoliants can harm the cell turnover process and leave you with dry, raw skin.
After using retinol 2 nights a week, monitor your skin’s reaction and consider adding an extra night of usage. As your skin becomes tolerant of retinol, you can bump up your usage to every other night.
Everyone’s skin is different, so it’s imperative to listen to your skin. Determine the appropriate usage for you based on the side effects you’re experiencing. Some people are able to use retinol every night (over time), while others stick with 2 to 3 nights a week to preserve hydration.
Myth 1: Retinol is merely a skin exfoliant, which is why it works.
Myth 2: You’ll see results immediately, or at least within a month.
Myth 3: Stop taking retinol if your skin is irritated.
Retinol benefits the skin’s texture, tone, elasticity, complexion and brilliance. The retinol benefits for skin cells and their turnover process make it a truly effective treatment. If you’re wondering how to get glowing skin (like every other urban dweller out there), it might be time to adopt retinol into your nightly / skin regimen / .