Welcome back to Skincare School, today’s class is a lesson on Retinol. We’re going to answer all of your burning questions: What is Retinol? What does Retinol do? What are the benefits of Retinol? How do you use Retinol? Let’s get started!
Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A, there are a handful of different forms (Retinol, Retinal, Retinoic Acid and Retinoids) and each sit at different levels of potency and differ in how they’re processed by the skin in order to do their job, but ultimately all have similar benefits to skin – preventing and minimising the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, increasing collagen production and elasticity, reducing breakouts and oil production.
There’s also Bakuchiol – the natural or plant version of Vitamin A, with studies showing it has similar effects as its synthetic counterparts. In fact, when you pair Retinol and Bakuchiol together they’ve been shown to work even better as Bakuchiol works to stabilise Retinol, allowing it to work more effectively for longer.
Vitamin A is known as the gold standard of anti-ageing skincare ingredients and has been more extensively studied than any other skincare ingredient.
The benefits of retinol are (almost) endless: They refine skin texture, increasing cell turnover to leave skin smooth and radiant. Clears clogged pores, reducing excess oil and balancing sebum production to minimise both the appearance of pores and the potential for pimples and breakouts. Reduces fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen production to keep skin plump and firm at deeper levels of the dermis. Retinol also improves skin tone, reducing the appearance of uneven patches, dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
When it comes to how to use Retinol it pays to be educated. One of the most common side effects is irritation, where you’ll experience a period of redness, dehydration and peeling. It does take a short time for skin to adjust, but it’s normal – we’re talking two to three weeks depending on how your skin reacts and how you look after your skin in between applications.
Hint: Look to calming and hydrating products.
Dr Naomi recommends applying a pea sized amount to clean, dry skin (avoiding the eye area) three times a week in the evening, slowly building up your skin’s tolerance. Once you’ve worked up your tolerance you can use Retinol up to five times per week. It’s important to note here that it can take around 12 weeks for your skin to start showing signs of improvement and results.
Aside from going easy on this highly active ingredient, there is an application technique you can try if your skin is sensitive or prone to inflammation. It’s called buffering, and it’s as simple as combining Retinol with moisturiser to dilute it so your skin can adjust, while hitting it with an extra dose of hydration to help reduce redness and flaking.
There’s also the topic of photosensitivity – which is why Dr Naomi likes to go hard on Retinol in Winter when skin is exposed to less sun. Retinol increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so you must always apply an SPF during the day – no excuses.
Dr Naomi Skin Vitamin Amen is more than just an anti-ageing serum, this multi-level Vitamin A serum combines three forms of Vitamin A; Retinoate, Encapsulated Retinoid and Bakuchiol for a highly-potent dose. Paired with a Calming Peptide Complex to reduce skin sensitivity and reduce irritation for optimal results.