Retinol is derived from vitamin A, and is a multitasking skin care ingredient with various benefits. Being a form of retinoid, you can only buy retinol of up to 2% concentration over-the-counter. Read on to find out about its skin benefits, potential side effects, and how you can safely add this ingredient to your skin care routine.
What does retinol do for your skin?
- Retinol helps in keeping pores clear by reducing the buildup of skin cells. It can block inflammation pathways in the skin. Thus, decreasing the number of breakouts you have and minimising redness and swelling, which comes with them.
- It aids in the skin cells' natural turn over by revealing fresh cells below. As you age, you will see this process get slower, so retinol can improve fine lines and wrinkles and speed up the turnover process. It also provides supple and brighter skin by going deep into the skin and encouraging collagen production.
- It can improve signs of sun damage that appear on the skin as hyperpigmentation. Just remember to apply a sunscreen with retinol to protect the skin from further environmental damage.
- It helps in removing dead skin cells, which leads to more hydrated skin. It can also treat keratosis pilaris by smoothening rough and bumpy skin textures.
Can anyone use retinol?
- Retinol is not recommended for pregnant or nursing individuals.
- You should use it with caution if you have sensitive or dry skin, rosacea, eczema, and severe acne. Make sure to consult your dermatologist before trying retinol if you have any of these skin conditions.
Does age come into play?
Due to the ageing support this skincare ingredient can provide, you can start using retinol around the age of 30. However, there’s no set time in your life when you begin noticing skin changes so it might be an individual preference too.
Your dermatologist is the best person to make the right call for which age you should start using retinol.
Risks and side-effects
- Signs of irritation may appear as the cell turnover increases in the form of dryness, redness and itchiness.
- These effects will be worse with stronger retinoids.
- If these side-effects do not disappear within a few weeks of use and you don’t see any improvement, stop using the product altogether and talk to a healthcare professional.
- If you have darker skin, keep in mind that irritation could lead to hyperpigmentation.
- Avoid sitting in strong sunlight when using retinol, and always wear sunscreen of a minimum SPF 30 daily.
How to correctly add retinol to your skin care routine?
- While starting retinol, keep two things in mind – start slow and use a low strength.
- A concentration of 0.05% is a good place to start.
- You can build up to more frequent use, so start by applying a small amount of product two or three times per week.
- Use retinol at night if you’re worried about sun sensitivity.
- If it suits your skin for one or two weeks, work your way up by using it every other night.
- You can also stick to using it two or three times a week if you are scared of side-effects. Less frequent use can still provide benefits.