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> What is retinol?

Retinol is a form of vitamin A and is basically a magical ingredient, because it combats all of these things:

Skin Notes
Retinol - a guide to the wonder ingredient
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Retinol is one of those beauty buzzwords that most of you have probably heard of, but are still slightly confused about what exactly is, when to use it, how you should introduce it into your routine. Well let us clear a few things up for you…

What is retinol?

Retinol is a form of vitamin A and is basically a magical ingredient, because it combats all of these things:

  • fine line
  • wrinkles
  • large pores
  • uneven skin tone
  • rough skin texture
  • acne

* Cue ridiculously shocked faced *

That’s right. Retinol is the ultimate anti-ager. Using a retinol cream helps to boost collagen levels and dramatically improves the skin’s appearance. Dr Anne Wetter, Clinicial Dermatologist and Co-Founder of Allel explains how: "the molecules of retinol are extremely small, facilitating its transport through the outer layer of the skin epidermis, down to the deeper layer, the dermis, where the action is happening."

You might also have spotted the word retinoid – this is prescription strength vitamin A.

Can anyone use retinol?

You can use retinol at any age if you are worried about ageing skin, however older skin with visible signs of ageing – fine lines, deep set wrinkles – will see a bigger difference. "Skin needs to get used to retinol," explains Dr Wetter. Using retinol can cause dryness and irritation; everyone will have a difference tolerance to retinol, but a good rule-of-thumb is those with sensitive skin should only use it a few times a week.

How do you use retinol?

You can use retinol in many forms, but mainly it’ll come in a serum or a cream and occasionally in an oil. It’s best to slowly introduce it into your routine and should be used at night. If you’ve never used a vitamin A product, then your skin will have a bit of a shock if you start applying retinol every day. So it’s best to start using it twice a week for two weeks, then increase it to every other evening for a further two weeks and if your skin doesn’t have dry patches or is quite literally falling off your face at this point then you’re good to go with using it every night.

This must, must, really must, be followed the next morning by a high SPF as your skin will be a little more exposed to the dangers of the sun’s rays. Dr Wetter agrees with us: "Retinol has an exfoliating effect on the skin which makes the skin extra light sensitive, increasing the risk of pigmentation. Therefore always use with a good SPF of at least 30, also try to avoid the direct sunlight as much as possible."

Who should and shouldn't use retinol?

If you have sun damaged skin, uneven skin tone, fine lines and/or and oily, acne-prone complexion, you will reap the benefits of retinol. However if you're pregnant, give it a miss until you've had the baby, as Dr Wetter doesn't recommed pregnant women use retinol.

Not been using an SPF? Don't worry, we won't tell anyone. We'll just tell you which SPF you should be using dependent on your skin type...




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