So, you’re a retinol newbie? It’s never too late to start reaping the benefits of this holy grail of ingredients and, to ensure your anti-ageing journey runs smooth, we’ve put together a beginners guide, to ensure you get the results you’re after and avoid the ones you don’t.
Read on for our retinol rule book and choose from our favourite products.
What is retinol?
Retinol or retinoids are a derivative of vitamin A, which increases skin cell turnover within the skin, changing the way skin cells function in the dermis and epidermis (clever).
Why use it?
It’s the holy grail of anti-ageing skincare! Retinol helps to unclog acne skins, increases the production of collagen and elastin, therefore, improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (and acne scars), plumps the skin, stimulates the metabolism of skin cells to even out skin texture and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, fade sunspots and brighten skin. So, almost everything!
How do you start?
The key to a harmonious relationship with retinol is to start out slow, only increasing frequency and then concentration as your skin acclimatises. Start with a low concentration formula that feels good on your skin 2-3 times per week, and increase an extra day, every 2 weeks, while your skin adjusts to the increase in cell turnover. Give it 12 weeks to notice a change – it takes time!
Rules of engagement?
- Retinols are not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding mamas.
- Use only at night. Not because it makes you susceptible to sunburn, but because vitamin A is broken down by light and becomes ineffective.
- Apply moisturiser 20 mins after your retinol to give it time to absorb.
- Don’t stop if your skin becomes irritated. While this contradicts skincare use, most irritation is due to an increase in cell turnover. Just reduce the number of days you’re using it and your skin will adjust.
- Be careful what you mix it with. Not all skincare ingredients play nicely together so do a patch test if you’re using with another product.
Our favourite retinol skincare
Cosmedix Serum 16
Cosmedix Serum 16 is perfect for retinol newbies, this rapid renewal complex loaded with Vitamin E, gently introduces Vitamin A your skin. The non-irritating, hydrating formula normalises and renews skin.
GOOD FOR: Dry, sensitive and reactive skins.
Aspect Dr Exfol A Plus
Aspect Dr Exfol A Plus is a concentrated Vitamin A and exfoliating treatment for the treatment of acne, congestion, ageing, dull, thickened or pigmented skins.
GOOD FOR: Non-reactive skins.
Cosmedix Refine Plus
Cosmedix Refine Plus is a high-strength anti-ageing retinol serum, fortified with skin hydrators to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, balance sebum production, minimise pores, plump and firm the skin.
GOOD FOR: Oily and acne-prone skin.