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Retinol: Everything you need to know

If you’re constantly on the quest for great skin (erm, who isn’t?), and have tried every lotion and potion under the sun to no avail, you might – nay, need – to take heed of this advice.

Celebrity cosmetic skin doctor, Dr Ross Perry, has revealed his single best piece of skincare advice.

The skin guru maintains that there’s just one ingredient that is super effective on lines and wrinkles.

Hello, retinol.

As the craze for actives and breakthrough skincare ingredients shows no sign of slowing, retinol is one of the few ingredients that has been proven to actually work. And brands are going crazy for it, striving to offer the highest quality version in their products. In fact, you can even get a good dose of retinol in your eye cream now. Plus, even supermarkets are catching onto the trend, with Asda’s in-house beauty brand, Nspa, launching the £10 Expert Nightly Revitalising Retinol Capsules, making it the first supermarket to develop and sell these in the market. The supermarket is so confident about its product that they’re offering money back if you don’t see results in four weeks.

So why is everyone pumping their products with retinol? It’s all due to retinol’s ability to impressively decrease wrinkles, but it seems there may be another miraculous benefit to the wonder ingredient. Retinol comes highly recommended by dermatologists for its ability to clear up acne. Just take a look at this before and after:

In a post titled “Hard work and retinol rlly make a difference,” a Reddit user named Egotr4p posted this snap of her skin before and after using retinol – and the results speak for themselves.

Writing in the comment, she said: “I never thought I would be where I am now. I did not go to a derm, although I had access to RX retinol.”

The user explained that she uses tretinoin .025 percent that she gets via prescription.

While the transformation took two years, she’s certainly delighted with the result.

But – as with any skincare ingredient that will actually impact your skin, you need to use it with caution. Here’s everything you need to know before adding retinol to your own skincare regime…

What does retinol do?

First thing’s first – let’s start with what retinol actually does. Many refer to it as the only proven anti-ageing ingredient and that’s kind of on the money – Dr. Murad, dermatologist and founder of Murad Skincare, neatly summarises the action of a retinol as ‘exfoliating, aiding in the production of collagen, and fighting free radicals.’ Those three jointly are a pretty powerful skin overhaul.

That said, retinols don’t work equally as well on everyone – you shouldn’t touch the stuff if you suffer from rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis as retinol can make you more vascular – meaning that you will end up with more inflammation and thereby worse symptoms of whatever it is you are suffering from, (though clinical trials have shown PHAs to offset some of the negative sides of using a retinol).

How do you pick a retinol product?

For starters, in the case of retinol, you kind of do want to judge a book by its cover – or, rather, consider the packaging as integral to the product. Dr. Maryam Zamani explains: “Packaging and formulation is key in determining which form to use. Retinol generally can be sensitive to air and light; however, if encapsulated, retinol is less affected by these factors…”

And that’s where things get even more confusing – all retinols aren’t equal, with brands relying far too heavily on the fact that it is included rather than on the form in which it comes and how effective it’ll be when using. Consider that cosmeceutical retinols (which need to be converted into retinoic acid before the skin can use it and which generally come in concentrations of between 0.1 and 0.5%) use around ten times more retinol content than prescription retinol and you get some idea of how key formulation is.

This lends some credence to naysayers who question the importance of percentages but rather insist on choosing a retinol from a brand who formulates well. “There’s a big focus on how much retinol is in the product you end up buying – but that’s really not the full story,” explains Pam Marshall, Clinical Aesthetician at Mortar & Milk, “there’s way more to consider than just the percentage of retinol: molecular weight (which brands don’t have to disclose on packaging) is a massive factor, as is how often you use your chosen retinol.”

https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/gallery/retinol-what-you-need-to-know