If there’s one single ingredient that acts as a hero in any product or skincare routine, it’s retinol. A coveted ingredient in skincare, retinol increases the rate of cell turnover in the skin and assists just about any skin concern from fine lines, pigmentation and even breakouts – it’s an all-rounder.
Get to know this hailed ingredient so that you can get it into your skincare routine pronto!
What is retinol?
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, a powerhouse vitamin that works at a deep cellular level to help boost collagen and elastin production, reduce cellular ageing, regulate sebum production, stabilise pigment and much more. Our body is unable to generate this vitamin on its own, therefore we need to supply it through our diet or topically through our skincare.
For dietary intake, retinol can be sourced from fruit and vegetables including papayas, oranges, leafy greens, broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes. These sources of beta-carotene are converted into vitamin A by the body.
And when it comes to topical application through our skincare, retinol can be sourced from animal ingredients such as milk and egg enzymes, or, from carotenoids (a plant-derived source) such as carrots and carrot seeds.
What are the benefits of retinol?
The cell turnover and regeneration that retinol sparks can result in a multitude of benefits, assisting many skin goals and skin types. It’s the ultimate multi-tasker, assisting to:
- Boost collagen and elastin production
- Increase skin firmness
- Improve overall skin texture
- Smooth dry skin
- Reduce the appearance of pore size
- Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Reduce the appearance of pigmentation and age spots to even skin tone
- Regulate sebum production
- Treat breakouts
How to use retinol
Assisting many skin goals and skin types, retinol is the backbone of nearly every good skincare routine, and it can be used from your mid-twenties onwards (as long as daily moisturiser and sunscreen form an integral part of your routine, too!).
But because of a process called retinisation (where peeling and redness can be observed while the older, damaged cells are replaced with new cells), retinol does come with some specific instructions to be mindful of. Retinisation is completely normal and nothing to be worried about, so follow our tips below to help your skin become rightly acquainted.
- New users: If you’re new to using retinol, introduce it to your routine gradually starting with just twice a week
- Familiar users: After gradually incorporating retinol into your skincare routine, you can work towards applying it every second day
And when it comes to your routine, familiarise yourself with these tips, too:
- Apply in the evening: As retinol can make your skin sensitive to the sun, it is advised to use retinol as part of your evening skincare routine
- Order of application: After cleansing and toning, apply a pea-sized amount of retinol to your skin. Apply a moisturiser after your retinol to minimise any totally normal side effects (e.g. redness, peeling, dryness) you may experience from the retinol while your dead skin cells are being replaced. If your skin isn’t sensitive, you can apply retinol around your eyes, after applying your eye serum
- Eye treatment
- Facial Treatment (Retinol)
- Facial Oil
- Lip Care
- *Routine caution: Retinol is not recommended for use in conjunction with deep exfoliation ingredients or facial peels – e.g. on evenings that you’re using a retinol, avoid the exfoliating and mask steps for your routine so as to avoid any preventable sensitivities
- Use a sunscreen: As retinol can make your skin sensitive to the sun, ensure that you use a sunscreen product as the last step in your morning routine, each and every day
General retinol tips
- Check the percentage of retinol in your product: Make sure your retinol is at a maximum of 1% concentration
- Look for vitamin C: Vitamin A and C work synergistically together, so you’ll get the benefits of both when it comes to building collagen (The Foundation: Flawless Retinol & Vitamin C Lotion is formulated with both, for this reason!)
- Avoid drying ingredients: If your retinol has denatured alcohol, find another product as this can lead to unwanted skin irritation or increase the risk of a skin reaction
Pregnancy: Retinol is not suitable for pregnancy
Storage: Store your retinol away from direct sunlight and do not expose the lotion to air
How long do results take?
While retinol gets to work immediately, results can take from four weeks (the span of a regular skin cycle) to six months, depending on your skin goal. For example, if your skin goal is to…
- Improve breakouts: Retinol can make improvements within about four weeks
- Improve hyperpigmentation: Up to six months
The Foundation: Flawless Retinol & Vitamin C Lotion
We recommend checking out our plant-derived retinol, The Foundation: Flawless Retinol & Vitamin C Lotion. Formulated with both vitamin A and vitamin C, The Foundation packs a double whammy punch to build collagen while the inclusion of avocado and sunflower oils assist to increase the absorption of vitamin A into the skin thereby increasing the overall effectiveness of the product!