Retinol is powerful and versatile, with the ability to treat a variety of skin concerns. Here’s what you need to know about it, and how to incorporate it into your routine safely and strategically for gorgeous, glowing results.

We all know that our skin loses its youthful glow as we age. Fortunately, there are a variety of different treatments and products available to slow down the process. Injectables, such as fillers and Botox, can help to prevent the formation of and fill in fine lines. But when it comes to skincare, there is one ingredient that beats them all and offers visible results. Say ‘hello’ to retinol.

What is retinol?

Retinol is part of the retinoid family and is a derivative of vitamin A. This molecule is one of the most effective ingredients when it comes to targeting early signs of aging. It does this by encouraging skin cell turnover and promoting the production of collagen.

While retinol, which usually comes in the form of a serum or cream, has for a long time been a staple of anti-aging products, this powerhouse ingredient can treat a host of skin concerns. These include uneven skin tone and texture, acne and enlarged pores.

But if this ingredient is so great, why isn’t it in every skincare product? That’s because it uses requires some know-how in order to use it effectively and not damage your skin. Because it is a powerful molecule, it can lead to redness, sensitivity and peeling when you first start using it. It is also not safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to use.

Here’s how to incorporate it into your routine, safely:

Want to take the plunge and see how retinol can transform your skin?

  • The first time you use retinol, don’t use any other actives, such as acids, in your routine and apply it to a clean, dry face.
  • It should only be used at night as it makes skin more photosensitive. It’s also important to wear and reapply sunscreen during the day.
  • Using just a pea-sized amount, dab it gently around parts of the face you wish to target, avoiding sensitive areas.
  • Initially, use your retinol product once a week to allow your skin time to adjust, gradually increasing the days, to avoid severe irritation.
  • After allowing it to absorb, follow up with a nourishing, skin-barrier preserving cream to keep your skin moisturized.

 

Product

Looking for a retinol product to add to your skincare collection? Here are five we recommend, depending on your budget:

  1. First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Retinol Serum 0.25% Pure Concentrate, $58
  2. The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion, $17.18
  3. SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream, $122.29
  4. SkinMedica Retinol Complex 1.0, $93
  5. Paula’s Choice Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum, $42