Why Your Skin Needs Retinol

If we all had a pound for every new ‘anti-ageing’ miracle ingredient launched promising to work wonders on our wrinkles – well, we’d be rather wealthy indeed.

ordinary retinoid serum

The fact is very few of these ingredients penetrate deeply enough to really make a long-lasting difference.

Hyaluronic Acid can plump up fine lines temporarily, and exfoliants like Glycolic Acid do shift dead skin cells leaving you looking more radiant, whilst the jury is out on Peptides but if you ask any dermatologist there’s only only truly effective ingredient for wrinkle reduction (and you’ve probably known about it for years):

Retinol.

There’s a reason that historically Retinol was given a wide berth though.  Those ‘of-an-age’ have invariably heard tales of red-raw faces and days long irritation and feel a surge of discomfort when someone suggests applying even a small dose to already challenged skins.

First discovered 85 years ago, it was in the early 70s that Tretinoin, the more potent form of Retinol was discovered.  Retinol is derived from vitamin A, a key component of the skin’s molecular structure. It was noticed that acne patients trialling the treatment not only benefitted from reduced breakouts and scarring, but their skin appeared remarkably line-free and glowing.

What resulted was the understanding that Vitamin A has the power to alter the skin’s DNA, reversing ageing. Result, right? Wrong.   It was also discovered that if used in too high a dose Retinol can lead to peeling, itching and worst of all, increased sun damage.

Retinol is derived from vitamin A, a key component of the skin’s molecular structure.

And so, a 40-year love-hate relationship was born.

With modern technology and research budgets being what they are, the days of face-hiding are fortunately much improved.  In fact, in a piece by Stylist magazine, Dr Leslie Baumann, a US dermatologist suggested retinol is now increasingly beneficial to all skin types, saying:

“When used with SPF retinol protects skin from the sun’s damage and thickens and plumps the dermal layer by increasing collagen”.

The key fact there is ‘with SPF’.   Retinoids work by encouraging the rapid increase of cell turnover, revealing new cell growth underneath. They support the longevity of collagen (the building blocks of elasticity in the skin) and thicken the deeper layer of skin where wrinkles get their start.

However, this means that the revealed skin is more prone to sun damage, so must be effectively protected, even in wintertime.

Another clever development is the creation of time-release ingredients in skincare, meaning that those who struggle with sensitive skins (up to 60%) avoid a massive hit all at once and reducing the risk of reaction.

If you see a dermatologist for anti-ageing or acne you can be prescribed Tretinoin, reputed to be 100x as potent as over-the-counter Retinoids, but this doesn’t always equate to better results.  The majority expert verdict is that the over the counter options can work just as well, but over a longer period and with fewer uncomfortable side effects.

How to use Retinol?

The simple answer here is ‘sparingly’.

Most experts recommend starting with a low percentage (0.1% or less), every other night until the skin can tolerate it.

Even with this strength you can find the skin irritated but this usually clears within a couple of weeks.

Because it works with the skills own repair mechanisms, it must be used at night – a tiny amount of serum or moisturiser is enough.

Most experts recommend starting with a low percentage (0.1% or less), every other night until the skin can tolerate it.

You must avoid sun exposure, especially between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense. Choose a broad spectrum SPF30 sunscreen and wear a hat and glasses if you must go outside.

If you’re using prescription tretinoin, use it exactly as your doctor prescribed. Ask your doctor if you should avoid using other medications on your skin at the same time.

Retinol products with the same stated percentage can deliver very different results depending on how the formula is formulated, packaged, stabilized and delivered

Cleanse your skin thoroughly before applying the retinoid and whatever you do, don’t mix it with skincare containing the following:

  • benzoyl peroxide
  • sulfur
  • resorcinol,
  • salicylic acid.

As it can cause severe skin irritation.

Which Retinol Percentage is Right?

There are lots of good Retinoid products on the market so it’s more about what is right for you. PCA Skin explains that:

“As Retinol is an unstable molecule (meaning it’s easily broken down before you want it to), the way a product is formulated, stabilized and delivered into the skin impacts how much of the active ingredient penetrates to provide benefits to your skin. “

“Retinol products with the same stated percentage can deliver very different results depending on how the formula is formulated, packaged, stabilized and delivered – the more stable the retinol – and the formula, the better your results will be. C

“Conversely, without a stable formula, the ingredient activates before the product ever reaches your skin, resulting in less retinol when applied.

Have a chat with a skin professional to get a better understanding.

alphah

For anti-ageing we like Alpha H Beauty Sleep Power Peel with 0.5% Retinol: £54, Look Fantastic

ren

For sensitive skins, REN Bio Retinoid Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate Oil is a popular option: £44, Ren Skincare

the ordinary serum

For intense results, The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid is a super cost-effective stable option with 2% Retinoid: £8 Cult Beauty.  

 

SOURCES:

http://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/retinoids-for-aging-skin#2

http://www.stylist.co.uk/beauty/dont-look-now-its-the-return-of-retinol

http://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/skincare-advice/paulas-choice-product-tips/which-strength-of-retinol-do-you-need.html

http://www.vogue.com/article/the-return-to-retinol

https://www.pcaskin.com/what-strength-of-retinol-gives-the-best-results