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What Is Retinol & Why Your Skin Needs It

Let's learn about Vitamin A for the skin

What Is Retinol & Why Your Skin Needs It

Best Retinol Skincare Products

I’m sure like us, you have seen the word retinol everywhere lately!

It’s as though this product has been hiding under a rock at the bottom of the ocean, and now it has resurfaced for ALL to see.

All of our favourite influencers are plugging the benefits, uses, and best Retinol brands, but what actually is Retinol? Or, Retinoids because we know you’ve heard that word too. After Sunscreen, many dermatologists recommend retinol to be the next must have product in your skincare routine, so let’s delve in!

So, What actually is Retinol & Retinoid?

We bet you have heard of Vitamin A before right? Well, Retinol or Retinoic acid actually stem from a group of vitamin A’s called Retinoids.

Although Vitamin A is found in some foods like broccoli & carrot, Retinol can also be found in foods that derive from animals such as full cream milk. This is because Retinoic Acid often comes from milk or egg enzymes. If you are seeking a vegan Retinol that is, it can come from plant-derived sources instead, called “carotenoids”.

What are the benefits of Retinol and why should you be using it?

Retinols & Retinoids are often considered the apex or holy grail product. The benefits are endless.

Anti-aging properties

Properties that reduce fine lines, wrinkles and the size of pores. Retinol, unlike your daily moisturiser, contains enzymes that we don’t naturally produce in the body, this helps to increase collagen production.

Helps clear & prevent acne

Retinol also acts as a stimulant for new blood vessels, fading acne scarring, brightening dull skin by exfoliating at a cellular level, which results in brighter and smoother new skin.

Assists with evening skin texture

Another great benefit that is relevant to people of ALL ages is that Retinol can be prescribed by dermatologists to prevent acne. Retinoids can unclog pores, allowing other medicated creams and gels to work to their best. They also reduce acne outbreaks by preventing dead cells from clogging pores.

How Often Should You Be Using Retinol?

Don’t confuse Retinol with your daily AM & PM moisturiser. Yes, it’s benefits are mind-blowing but because of the enzymes our skin needs time to react and adjust to the product.

Using the product once or twice a week to begin with is the best way to see what brand or % of retinoid works for your skin type. Once skin is adjusted you can build up a tolerance to It, eventually using it up to three to four times a week.

Retinols & Retinoids should only be used when the sun goes down, this is because the properties in the serum or cream make your skin more sensitive to UV. The importance of SPF protection has been mentioned in some of our other articles so you know that it’s a daily necessity. This is especially important when using Retinols & Retinoids, you MUST always, always be using SPF when incorporating these products into your skincare routine.

How to Apply Retinol for Best Results & How to Integrate It Into Your Skincare Routine

Let us break it down for you in steps:
Firstly, you should always apply a patch test of any new skin product to see whether or not your skin is compatible with it’s ingredients.

Step 1:

Wash & Cleanse your face twice with your everyday cleanser, & pat dry your face.

Step 2:

Apply an eye cream to protect your delicate skin. If you are using niacinamide in your routine then go ahead and apply that first, if not that’s ok but you want your eye cream to be fully set before moving forward.

Step 3: (Where Retinol Comes In)

Once your skin is fully dry (it must be dry to prevent irritation), go ahead and take a pea-size of your Retinol serum or cream and apply to the face in an upwards and outwards motion.

Step 4:

Once applied, you can now apply any other hydrating serums & moisturisers that are in your skincare routine, (this is pretty essential as Retinol can be drying on the skin).

Step 5:

Always remember to apply SPF the following morning and everyday after. We recommend the Ultra Violette Supreme Screen 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen.

Who should use retinol?

Ok, so we bet you’re thinking, ‘I’m only in my early 20’s, and this product is for women with wrinkles, not something I need to be using yet.’ Do not get it twisted gf!

Starting early helps to prevent deep lines and wrinkles from settling into your skin. Sun damage, acne scarring and the premature breakdown of collagen in our skin are only a few reasons as to why dermatologists recommend it’s use early on.

Retinol is often prescribed to girls in their early to late teens for stubborn acne, girls who are prone to oily-skin are also encouraged to use Retinols & Retinoids to help balance out the texture in their skin. However, there are various products in the market that have been designed for women with dryer skin more sensitive skin.

Things to Know Before Using Retinol: Possible Side Effects

Retinol is not for the faint hearted, you must know your stuff before diving into the deep in. Although Retinol is one of the proven anti-aging products that really does work, if used too much it can hinder the top layer of the skin – the protective barrier. We need our protective barrier to function at it’s best to make sure pollution doesn’t damage or age our skin. Using too much serum can mean crippling the way our new skin cells reproduce. Remember to only apply it once or twice a week, especially when you’re first introducing it to your skincare routine. Retinol can make the skin appear or feel more sensitive, you may be more prone to irritation, flaking or peeling.

1% Retinol Treatment

Paula’s Choice

Our favourite Retinol for acne prone skin is the Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Treatment. We love this one because it has a creamy consistency that is designed to soak into pores acting to unclog them, and attack those stubborn blemishes.



A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream

Drunk Elephant

Our most recommended Retinol for anti-aging is the Drunk Elephant A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream. We love this one as it is formulated to specifically smooth skin texture, fine lines and wrinkles. It’s light formula blends perfectly into the skin, restoring bounce and radiance, oh this one is also vegan!



Retinol 1% in Squalane

The Ordinary

Lastly, we wanted to mention The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane. Not only do we absolutely love the brand The Ordinary for their affordable and quality products, but we love this product because it’s designed for all skin types!



Have you tried using vitamin A in your skincare routine? Let us know what products have worked or what brands you might have tried!

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