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The Anti-Ageing Benefits of Retinol - What You Need To Know

Woman with young looking skin touching face after applying retinol serumWho doesn’t love a gorgeous, glowing complexion? We all chase skin that looks clear, congestion-free and effortlessly beautiful and with a plethora of anti-ageing serums on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right ingredients to help us achieve the skin of our dreams.

You might have heard of retinol - one of the powerhouse anti-ageing ingredients that almost every single skin type will benefit from.

But what exactly is retinol, and should you be using a retinol serum? Today, we’re breaking down the different types of retinol, how retinol helps the skin and how to use it… be warned, you’ll soon be in love with this potent antioxidant! 

What is retinol?

Retinol is a synthetic derivative of Vitamin A, and if you know your way around beauty and skincare blogs, you’ll have heard skincare experts refer to retinol as one of the ‘holy grails’ of skincare. And with good reason!

It was once an ingredient that was limited to professional use in the dermatologists office, but now it has become a key part of over-the-counter skin care lines, serums and home treatments in a variety of strengths and formulations.

Falling under the broader category of retinoids, retinol is a potent antioxidant that packs a serious punch when it comes to anti-ageing. It works by increasing the rate of cell turnover in the skin and helps with almost every skin concern, but most notably, fine lines and wrinkles. 

There are three categories of retinoids: retinyl palmitate (the weakest of the retinoid family, typically found in supermarket and chemist anti-ageing products as its low-concentration is easily manufactured), retinaldehyde (a stronger version of retinol), and retinol (a strong but stable and tolerable retinoid that is suitable for most skin types), all of which are available over-the-counter and suitable for the vast majority of skin types. There is also a prescription-strength retinoid known as tretinoin. 

The retinol available over-the-counter will be a sufficient strength for most skin concerns, however people with very deep scarring, textural irregularities caused by hormonal issues or very significant wrinkles may wish to speak to their GP and dermatologist about whether a prescription strength retinol is right for them. 

But for the vast majority of people, over-the-counter retinol will be enough to give serious glow, smooth the skin and keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay. 

What are the benefits of retinol?

Retinol for wrinkles is widely known, but the benefits of retinol are far more widespread! Retinol works at a cellular level to boost the skin’s natural production of collagen and elastin, whilst also reducing cellular ageing and pore congestion. Retinol, as part of the Vitamin A family with its anti-inflammatory and free-radical fighting properties, also regulates sebum production, keeps bacteria at bay and stabilises the pigments in the skin, helping to control hyperpigmentation.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause damage and premature ageing to our skin. Free radical molecules are missing electrons from their outer shell, which causes them to search for other atoms or molecules that have these electrons, in order for them to become stable.In order to stabilise themselves, free radicals try to bond to other atoms or molecules - such as those in your skin - and this results in oxidative stress which can damage DNA and other parts of the cell.

This is why it’s so crucial to include free-radical fighting agents in your skincare routine, such as the Vitamin A family, to prevent oxidative stress and DNA damage that can cause premature ageing. 

Retinol is so effective as a skincare ingredient because Vitamin A cannot be made by the body, so it normally needs to be supplied by our diet and topically via our skincare. 

Woman in bathroom doing skincare routine and washing her face

Retinol can:

  • Treat acne
  • Decrease hyperpigmentation
  • Clear pores
  • Speed up cellular turnover
  • Diminish and prevent fine lines and wrinkles
  • Refine skin tone and texture
  • Brighten skin
  • Increase collagen production and elasticity

What are the side effects of retinol?

When using a retinol product, you can expect an almost immediate ‘glow’ from within and over a course of a few weeks, most people will begin to see a reduction in fine lines, a tightening of pores and overall ‘refreshed’ look to the skin.

There can be some side effects that it’s important to be aware of - retinol can be an irritant to the skin, so if you’ve never used a retinol before, you may wish to start by using it only a few times a week, or by diluting it with a hydrating serum like hyaluronic acid. If you rush into too high strength of a retinol formulation too quickly, your skin may experience irritation that includes patchy redness and some skin flaking. 

The vast majority of retinol products that you’ll find on the shelves are diluted with other ingredients to minimise irritation, which is great - but this also reduces the potency of the retinol. Serious skincare users will want to opt for a retinol serum that they can customise to their own needs - diluting it with other serums when they want a gentle refresh of the skin, or using it on its own as a targeted treatment for their skin concerns. 

When it comes to choosing the best retinol for anti-ageing, we recommend choosing a serum formulation that allows you more control over how much you use and any other ingredients that you mix it with. 

When do you need to start using a retinol?

The sooner you start using retinol, the better! When it comes to skincare, preventative action always pays off in spades and it’s far easier to keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay with consistent effort and investment into the right active ingredients for your skin.

Collagen and elastin production in our skin begins to naturally slow down in our early to mid twenties, so the chances are that if you’re here reading this blog and interested in skincare already - now is the right time to introduce a retinol serum to your routine!

It’s also never too late to start reaping its benefits, so if you’ve not been using retinol before but are curious, why not try it and see how it benefits your skin. 

How do you use retinol?

Retinol is an active ingredient and as with all active ingredients, the application is key. We recommend only using retinol at night, as it does significantly increase the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays.

In the PM, after you cleanse and tone, apply your retinol serum, then a gently hydrating night cream. 

Good quality retinol serums absorb quickly into the skin, so there’s no need to wait around to apply your moisturiser. If you’re a retinol newbie, start by applying retinol once a week - this will give your skin time to adjust to the effects of the retinol with minimal irritation - and then slowly build up to every other night.

Where do I start with retinol?

Whether you’re a newbie to retinol or a seasoned pro, we’ve got the perfect anti-ageing bundle for you to get your skin glowing with retinol. Introducing our Anti-Ageing Serum Pack of Three, containing:

  • A retinol serum for anti-ageing
  • A vitamin C serum for brightening and re-texturising
  • A hyaluronic acid serum for deep hydration

This serum pack of three is perfect for all stages of your skincare journey, allowing you to mix and match - dilute the retinol and vitamin c with the hyaluronic acid for a gentle refresh to the skin, or use them individually for a powerhouse treatment option- the choice is yours! 

If you have any questions about retinol and how to best maximise its results for your skin concerns - or if you have any queries about your skincare in general, we would be more than happy to assist you! Our in-house beauty consultant is here to answer all of your questions and our friendly customer service team are ready to assist.  Click here to contact us.

Supported by real people

From our in-house Beauty Advisor to the warehouse staff that package your order with love and care, we are invested in your results. We are here to help you and be a part of your skin journey. 

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