COVID-Face? Incorporating a retinol product into your skincare routine may be the answer. But it’s not like trying a new lipstick; it is a serious commitment.
It’s frequently hailed as the ultimate anti-ageing miracle worker. I first heard of Retinol a few years ago; apply in the evening and wake up with glowing, smoother skin thanks to its proven abilities to prevent dullness, promote plump, firm skin, and minimise lines.
One child, three businesses, too much screen time and a global pandemic later and fine lines are absolutely making their mark on my face. It was time that I brought out the Retinol.
What is Retinol?
“Retinol is a type of retinoid, derived from Vitamin A. It exfoliates the skin and helps the skin to produce collagen and to fight free radicals,” says cosmetic doctor, Dr Rekha Tailor.
Retinol, or retinoids, work by prompting surface skin cells to turn over and die quickly, making way for new healthy fresh skin underneath. It helps to prevent collagen from breaking down and thickens the deeper layer of skin to help prevent wrinkles.
“Retinols exfoliate the skin by increasing cellular turnover and help to stimulate collagen production, revealing healthy fresh skin underneath,” says cosmetic doctor, Dr Paris Acharya. “They also reduce pigmentation, fight free radicals and thicken the deeper layers of the skin, reducing wrinkle formation.”
“It’s worth bearing in mind though that retinol may not be for everyone and can exacerbate conditions such as psoriasis, eczema or rosacea if not used under a clear treatment plan provided by a cosmetic doctor or dermatologist,” adds Dr Tailor.
Am I right to be using Retinol now?
I’m in my late twenties with a birthday looming to kick me into the next decade, and I’m becoming increasingly aware of my skin changing as the ageing process kicks in. But am I at the right age to be incorporating a retinol into my skincare routine?
“I would suggest that you should start using Retinol in your late twenties, because that’s when your collagen levels typically start to decrease. It’s particularly good if you suffer from pigmentation or breakouts. For most people, Retinol can be incorporated into your evening routine along with a broad-spectrum SPF in the morning,” says Dr Tailor.
What to expect?
According to the experts, if you’re first dipping your toes into the world of Retinol, you may find that it makes your skin worse before it gets better. ‘The side effects typically include dryness, tightness, peeling and redness, especially at first, says Dr Tailor. ‘These side effects usually subside after six weeks as the skin gets used to it. Even sensitive skin can be trained to acclimatise to Retinol, so really the only people who shouldn’t use it are women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.’
How do I use it?
It’s best to use it in the evening. Make sure your face is washed with a gentle cleanser and wait a few minutes for your skin to dry. Then take a pea-sized amount of Retinol and starting at your chin apply it with your fingertips in upward and outward motions. Avoid using Retinol in your morning skincare regimen and always use SPF when you’re using Retinol because of the fact that it makes skin more sensitive to sun damage.
Since getting the intel on Retinol from my dermatologist, I’ve begun using it at least three times a week, and, after a few weeks of a little peeling and redness, it’s now as essential to my night-time routine as a tube of toothpaste. The fine lines around my eyes have significantly diminished and Shop some of the other top-recommended Retinols from experts below:
Skinician Ageless Overnight Retinol Powerbalm
This one is a game-changer when it comes to targeting visible signs of ageing. Fortified with a blend of powerhouse Peptides and Retinol this overnight treatment will actively reduce pigmentation, lines and wrinkles while refining pores, firming skin to provide a younger-looking complexion. It’s also cruelty-free and vegan.
PCA Skin Intensive Age Refining Treatment®: 0.5% pure retinol night
Specifically formulated for ageing, this advanced retinol formula features a delivery system often used in pharmaceuticals, yet entirely new to skincare. The patented 10-hour time-release OmniSome delivery system stabilises and carries a unique blend of ingredients deeper into the skin for superior results. This innovative formula minimises the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and reduces age-related skin yellowing.
Skinceuticals, Retinol 0.3
Recommended for retinol newbies, this potent night-time cream features 0.3% pure retinol but is formulated to minimise irritation and specially packaged to preserve its potency.
ZO Skin Health, ZO Skin Health Retinol Skin Brightener 1%
With a unique and potent blend of Retinol, vitamin c, antioxidants and melanin inhibitors, this is a comprehensive multi-action formulation to minimise redness and maintain restored skin. It’s prescription-only, so you’ll have to see a cosmetic doctor or dermatologist to get it though.
If you can’t face a skincare regimen to include Retinol, what about taking tablets? Don’t take them if you’re pregnant and be warned; they’re made out of beef gelatine if you’re vegetarian.
The Organic Pharmacy, Lifting Serum
If you want to sparkle, then this is the serum for you. Uplifting and energising, the serum works to give your skin a more radiant luminosity, combatting various signs of ageing to deliver a brighter, smoother surface. Formulated using only the highest quality ingredients, the serum uses both Hibiscus and Tripeptide to support levels of elasticity for increased suppleness.
Added Grape Stem Cells are rich in antioxidants, working to protect your skin from environmental aggressors and external damage. And what’s more – 65% of its ingredients are organically sourced, and it’s cruelty-free.
Carbon Theory, Tea Tree Oil and Vitamin A
Designed to treat breakouts associated with ‘maskne’, Carbon Theory’s lab formulated breakout control Spot Paste is an intensive direct blemish treatment that eliminates spots and reduces redness. Antimicrobial Silver helps kill acne-causing bacteria, Vitamin A stimulates the production of your skin’s natural proteins, Tea Tree Oil, reduces inflammation and keeps skin clear and healthy. Apply a thick layer to the affected area and wait for it to work its magic.
Read more health and beauty guides in our dedicated section here.