Retinol- The Over 25's Club
Updated: Nov 19
Do you use retinol in your daily routine? If you’re part of the 25 and over club, you really should.
Retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A, first hit the skincare market in the 1970's as an acne fighting drug. It has since been used to fight wrinkles, sun damage, blotchiness and many other skin ailments.
I have highlighted 3 key benefits below that come with using this ingredient, where to incorporate it into your routine, important things to note and which products feature in my top picks.
Retinol works by prompting surface skin cells to turnover and die more rapidly, allowing for new cell growth underneath the surface. As our natural cell turnover slows down with age, we need extra help to sustain this process, in order to keep our complexions looking fresh and bright.
Retinol is also credited with thickening the deeper layer of the skin (where wrinkles start to form) and for stimulating collagen production. Our collagen production naturally starts to decrease from our mid-twenties onwards, hence why this is a good time to start.
Although some people are more acne-prone than others, most of us will have suffered the wrath of a few breakouts in our lives. Retinol has been proven to help fight acne. The increase in cell turnover, not only helps our skin to appear younger, it also prevents our pores from clogging which is one of the main triggers for acne. It can also regulate sebum production, which additionally curtails "the inflammatory cascade" that would otherwise lead to further breakouts.
*Please note, if you are dealing with severe acne you would need to use a prescription strength retinoid (another Vitamin A derivative, within the same family). In such cases, these are proven to be much stronger and more effective than over-the-counter solutions.
Helps to Improve Skin Texture
If you are dealing with acne scarring or simply uneven texture with your skin, retinol also addresses these concerns. In helping to speed up the sloughing of dead skin cells and encouraging new cells to appear to the surface, this results in a brightening and a refinement in the texture of the skin. Thus retinol is a key solution should you wish to rectify unevenness, unwanted texture and also scarring.
When to Use It?
Always apply your retinol at night, as this ingredient will make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
Cleanse, tone, apply your retinol, then wait for it to sink in before applying your moisturiser.
*Important Things to Note*
1. As this ingredient makes our skin sensitive to sun exposure, you really must insure you are utilising SPF during the day. To read more on the importance of wearing SPF every single day, click HERE to read our blog post.
2. If you're about to enjoy a fabulous beach trip, where your usual exposure to sun will be increased, I would discontinue use up to 2 weeks prior in order for your skin to normalise somewhat as retinol will make your skin more sensitive to sun rays and could cause unnecessary damage. If you're enjoying a milder form of retinol in the form of a bio retinoid, you will be fine to continue use, only those with the chemical ingredient should be discontinued until you return.
3. There is an unpleasant adjustment period that your skin may go through when you first start using retinol. They say if you are starting with the chemical retinol you should start by using it one night a week, then keep adding a night as each week goes past. This allows your skin to adjust to the formulation without going completely berserk. Please note this adjustment period should take around 6 - 8 weeks typically, during which it is not uncommon to experience some small breakouts, redness or irritation as your skin adjusts. It's an unpleasant thing to have to go through but once you do, the results will be all worth it. The dermatologists all advise to introduce it gently and push through!
4. Finally, if your skin is just too sensitive, feel free to dilute your retinol by combining it with your moisturiser in order to allow your skin to slowly adapt whilst still benefitting from this ingredient.
See below to check out our #SkinFood favourite products!
Ren - Bio Retinoid Oil
If you're new to the retinol game, I highly recommend Ren Clean Skincare's Bio Retinoid. It is packed with Rosehip oil, which is a natural form of Vitamin A, as well as other skin loving ingredients to make you glow. I used this for years before moving onto the stronger stuff and cannot recommend this enough to anyone getting started. Click the image to be redirected to Ren's website, this can be purchased from Sephora and a variety of different retailers.
Neutrogena - Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream
If you're looking for a drug store alternative Neutogena's Rapid Wrinkle Repair is scientifically proven to reverse signs of ageing and is a fool proof retinol which not only scores major points on the best over-the-counter versions you can buy, but also is the winner of the Cosmetic Executive Women award. Click the image to be redirected to Neutrogena's website. This can be purchased from a variety of different stockists and drug stores.
Shani Darden - Texture Reform
Finally, celebrity facialist Shani Darden swears by the nightly use of retinol and prescribes it to all of her A-list clients such as Jessica Alba and Rosie Huntington Whiteley. She has two versions which she sells, Retinol Reform which is her original formulation made with 5% retinol and this slightly milder version called Texture Reform which is made with 5% retinyl palmitate (a milder retinoid). I have tried both but I personally prefer the milder formulation. It also comes with 7% lactic acid which is also known for refining the texture of one's skin. Click the image to be redirected to Shani's website. For UK based customers, this can now be purchased from Cult Beauty.