When shopping for skincare, it’s easy to get bogged down with all the technical jargon and leave the store baffled and empty-handed. On the other hand, it’s also easy to see scientific-sounding promises and think, ‘Yes! That’s the one for me!’ without really understanding what it is you’re buying. Fear not: we’re here to clear up any confusion you may have over these mystery ingredients. Here, we take a deep-dive into retinol, looking at exactly why it’s a bit of a wonder in the beauty world, and how it can help you.
What is retinol and what does it do?
Retinol is an ingredient derived from vitamin A that helps with skin renewal and collagen production. The protein collagen is one of the many factors in giving skin that much-coveted ‘plump’, ’bouncy’ or youthful look, but as we age, the body’s production of it slows down. Step in retinol; with regular use, it can actually encourage the body to create more collagen, which means an improvement in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, areas of pigmentation and more. Plus, it can even help to prevent further signs of ageing in the future.
When should I start using it, and how often should I apply it?
Collagen production in the body starts to decline from mid to late 20s. Therefore, it’s recommended that you start adding retinol to your skincare routine from around then. Products containing retinol come in all different strengths, and so – because it can be irritating at first – it’s recommended that you start using a lower strength to begin with, following it with a good moisturiser. To allow your skin to get used to retinol, it’s best to start by using it a couple of times a week and, as it can increase the skin’s sensitivity, we recommend applying it at night.
So where do I start?
We stock a wide range of products containing retinol in a variety of different strengths.
If you’re a beginner, try SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3%. This powerful treatment has been developed to minimise irritation, while addressing fine lines, blemishes, discolouration and wrinkles. We also recommend Sienna X The Retinol Serum – which also contains 0.3% retinol – a lightweight yet powerful product.
Used to lower-strength retinol and looking for the next step up? Try Dermalogica AGE Smart Overnight Retinol Repair 0.5% with Buffer Cream. The formula not only contains retinol to address age-related skincare concerns, but uses vitamin C and a copper amino acid to improve skin tone and discolouration. Follow up with the Buffer Cream for a soothing boost of hydration.
Retinol veteran wanting something stronger? We recommend Skin Regimen 1.5 Retinol Booster, which contains 1.5% retinol, silybin and antioxidants – ideal for skin showing signs of sun damage – or The Organic Pharmacy Retinol Night Serum, which contains 2.5% retinol.
Want to target the signs of ageing on your hands? Step in Skin Republic Retinol Hand Mask. These product-packed gloves deliver a hit of retinol and they’re super nourishing, too