What is retinol? The anti-ageing hero ingredient

 You may have heard of the super ingredient, retinol by now, but what is retinol and why is retinol good for your skin? As skincare experts, we often get asked questions about this must have ingredient, so we thought we’d answer some of the most frequently asked questions for you.

What is retinol?

 Retinol is derived from vitamin A and is widely used for anti-ageing and acne prone skin. Retinol reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, whilst improving the texture of the skin. Collagen is stimulated and elastin is improved, therefore strengthening the skin. There are many derivatives of vitamin A, known collectively as Retinoids. There are prescription strength retinoids, which we mainly use for acne patients and there are retinol esters (derivatives of retinol).    

What age should you start using retinol?

Start to use retinol in your mid to late twenties. This is when the ageing process starts to take place. Your own collagen production slows down by approximately 1% every year. By using retinol, collagen production is stimulated, fine lines and wrinkles are improved, and the skin is strengthened.

 What do you use retinol for?

Retinol is used for its anti-ageing benefits, as well as for acne prone skin. Retinol reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, stimulates new skin cell turnover and improves the texture and tone of the skin. Retinol also helps acne prone skin by unclogging pores and reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

What are the side effects of retinol?

 Retinol increases your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, so you must always wear an SPF30 and above during the day. Do not use retinol for at least 2-3 weeks before any increased sun exposure. Retinol can cause dryness, redness and irritation. Here at Serenity, we recommend using microencapsulated retinol. This slow time releases on to the skin overnight, without causing irritation.  

What happens when you first start using retinol?

 At first your skin may tingle. This is perfectly normal. We recommend only using retinol twice per week at first, gradually increasing to nightly, if tolerated by your skin. If your skin becomes dry, flaky or red, stop using retinol until your skin returns to normal. Slowly, reintroduce retinol into your skincare regime again.

What does Retinol do for pores?

Retinol improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and pores by stimulating collagen and elastin production. It also helps to unclog the pores, further improving their appearance.

Should I use vitamin C or retinol (vitamin A)?

Retinol and vitamin C both have a role to play in maintaining healthy skin. Retinol (vitamin A) increases new skin cell turnover, whilst improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol is suitable for most skin types, although sensitive skins should consult their skincare experts before use. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, known for protecting the skin against free radical damage. It also helps to brighten the skin by improving the appearance of pigmentation. Vitamin C is suitable for most skin types, however some vitamin C products are inferior to others and may not be suitable for you. In particular this includes sensitive or acne prone skins. Again, we urge you to consult your skincare expert before incorporating vitamin C into your skin regime.

Can I put moisturiser over retinol?

Yes, we would encourage you to use a moisturiser suitable for your skin type after using retinol. Speak to your skincare expert to ensure your regime is tailored to you.

How long does it take to see results from using retinol?

Typically, it takes approximately 3 months to see the benefits from using retinol. To ensure you maintain your results, only stop using your retinol before periods of increased sun exposure.