Five things you need to know about Retinol. Image via Adobe Stock.
In your quest for healthy skin, there are some key ingredients that play an important part in the process and Retinol is one of them. However, working with ingredients such as this has its pros and cons, it will be good for some people and not so good for others. So, we’ve investigated what you need to know about Retinol, so you can decide for yourself whether to include this powerhouse ingredient into your skincare journey or whether to switch it out for something more suited to your skin.
What is Retinol?
Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative. It is a powerhouse ingredient and used to combat many skin concerns, such as fine lines and wrinkles to pigmentation and acne. It works by breaking down Retinoic Acid – this acid impacts the cell structure in the skin and helps to stimulate collagen production. Increased collagen production can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, fade dark spots and even out texture and skin tone.
What is the difference between Retinol, Retinoids and Retin-A?
Retinol and Retin-A are both forms of Retinoids. Retinol is the most common form that you will find in many store-bought skincare products such as oils and serums. Retin-A is a prescription topical cream used to treat acne, though it should be used with caution as it is very potent and can cause dehydration in the skin. Retin-A would be used in cases of more severe acne, whereas, Retinol is more commonly used and will still result in the treatment of acne and scarring, due to its exfoliating properties. It helps to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.
Who should use Retinol?
Retinol, although it is a stronger skincare ingredient, can be used by most skin types. The important thing when using Retinol is to make sure you are using the right percentage and formulation for your skin type – especially if you have sensitive or reactive skin. If you have extremely sensitive skin, such as rosacea or psoriasis then you might want to consider a Retinol alternative. Also, it is not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers to use Retinol as Vitamin A has been proven to cause birth defects and even during breastfeeding, it is not known what effects Vitamin A have on the baby when passed through breastmilk or when used topically on the skin during pregnancy. It is best to choose a Retinol alternative if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What is a Retinol alternative?
There are now Retinol alternative products that are derived from natural ingredients – which make them much safer to use for those with sensitive or reactive skin or pregnant and nursing mothers. Bakuchiol is a great Retinol alternative. It is a gentle, non-irritating ingredient that will give you the same effects as a Retinol product. To find out more about Bakuchoil, you can read our article here.
When should you use Retinol?
It is recommended to slowly work Retinol into your skincare routine as not to disrupt the skin too much. You essentially need to build up a tolerance to this ingredient. As a general rule of thumb, you can start with a percentage of 0.25% – 1% Retinol and slowly work your way up to a higher percentage as per your skin’s tolerance and reaction to the product. It is also best used at night as it can make your skin more sensitive to the sunlight, potentially causing sun damage.