For those who need a quick refresher, retinoids (a blanket term for all vitamin A derivatives) are a potent anti-aging skincare ingredient. Retinol is one of the four Vitamin A creams in the Retinoid family and is available OTC. While we only carry over-the-counter retinol, prescription-strength retinoic acids can also be prescribed by a dermatologist.
With regular use, it minimizes fine lines and wrinkles, helps the skin produce more collagen, improves skin texture, fights acne AND hyperpigmentation by promoting extracellular turnover. Essentially: we love retinol!
WHO BENEFITS FROM RETINOL?
A common misconception is that retinol is not made for all skin types, while in reality, everyone can benefit! While reputed for being harsh on the skin, this is only the case if used improperly.
On that note, we put together a little guide about how to properly use retinol, depending on your skin type and concerns:
Dry and/ or sensitive skins: Believe it or not, using retinol on sensitive skin is entirely doable!
There are, of course, a few key things to keep in mind.
- “Using milder formulas makes the retinol easier to tolerate”, says Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, as “they contain ingredients that moisturize and support the skin barrier.”
- Always use a professional-grade moisturizer in your skincare routine when using retinol. New York City-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner explains how those with highly sensitive skin benefit from using a moisturizer before the application of retinol. "Moisturizing first should not interfere with how well the retinol absorbs into the skin [and] can protect it from potential irritation,” he says.
- Another trick is the “retinol sandwich”, where you apply a hydrating serum first, then put on your retinol and follow up with a moisturizer. You then have a barrier of protection underneath and then your moisturizer locks in hydration after you apply the retinol.
Mature skin: Those with mature skin benefit greatly from using retinol as the boost of collagen caused by increased cellular turnover gives a plump, youthful appearance to the skin. Not to mention the additional benefits, such as the fading of age spots and the smoothing of fines.
Oily, acne-prone or combination skin: Retinol can work wonders on acne-prone skin! The sped-up cellular turnover helps keep pores unclogged, which in turn, reduces acne breakouts. Results can appear in as little to 4 to 6 weeks. Important to keep in mind that while acne-prone skin can be oily, it can also be sensitive. Hence, the use of a moisturizer should never, ever be overlooked!
Uneven or dull skin: Again, because retinols boost cellular turnover, smoother and healthier skin cells rise to the surface––giving you that even, healthy glow you’ve always wanted.
A FEW REMINDERS
Retinol is an incredible ingredient, but it’s also no joke! Here are a few final reminders when it comes to introducing retinol-based products in your routine:
- It is always recommended to begin your use of Retinol gradually. This period, called "retinization," allows the skin to adapt. To prevent redness or irritation in the skin, it is recommended to use your Retinol Serum once every 2-3 nights for about a week to ten days. If your skin can tolerate more frequent use, you may increase use to every night.
- Benzoyl peroxide and alpha hydroxy acids may deactivate retinoids, so it’s important not to layer them.
BSE TOP RETINOL PICKS
If you’re looking to incorporate retinol into your routine, here are a few of our favorites:
- Skinceuticals - Retinol 0.3 - $82
- Vivier Skin - Retinol 1% Night Complex - $116
- ZO Skin Health - Retinol Skin Brightener 0.5% - $140
- SkinMedica - Retinol Complex 0.25 - $66
Have any retinol-specific concerns? Don’t be afraid to drop a comment below, reach out through our social media or book your virtual consultation for an answer tailored to your needs.
Until next time,
The BSE Team