No one uses retinol anymore—because this ingredient is better

From mandelic acid to niacinamide, it seems like there's a new glowing ingredient to wow you every week. Some exfoliate, some plump the skin, but nothing grabs attention like retinol.

Dermatologists recommend it to patients, influencers dedicate entire videos to it, and TikTokers make it go viral (the hashtag #retinol currently has 5.6 billion views on the app). There's no denying it, it's the goat.

When used regularly, retinol can treat sun-related damage such as dark spots and fine lines, minimize hyperpigmentation (such as skin discoloration left by acne), smooth skin texture (even improve acne), and boost collagen

Protein production (making the skin more visible). strong and elastic).

But what if we told you there might be something better? Retinol will always have a place in skincare, but experts like esthetician Alicia Lartey and science-backed beauty brands like Medik8, Youth To The People and Avène are

shelving it in favor of other uses.

Enter: Retina. Before you roll your eyes, hear us out. The name may differ by just one letter, but retinaldehyde is a souped-up version of the popular skin-care ingredient with even more impressive properties.

What is retinaldehyde? How is it different from retinol? "Retina should not be confused with retinol," says Dr. Osman Bashir Tahir, aesthetic doctor and founder of Halcyon Aesthetics. Retinol and retinaldehyde are forms of

vitamin A, says Dr. Tahir

“But Retinal’s powerful ingredients mean it can achieve the results you’d see from using regular forms of retinol products and enhance them.”

Alicia isn't taking you to a chemistry class, but she says that when retinol is applied to the skin, it slowly but surely converts into retinoic acid, which creates all of the great skin-care benefits mentioned above. Retina,

on the other hand, skips some steps so it works faster and more efficiently.

What are the benefits of retinal care for skin care? Daniel Isaacs, director of research at Medik8, says retinal (sometimes called retinaldehyde in ingredient lists) works 11 times faster than traditional forms of retinol.

"There is a wealth of published research supporting its effectiveness. "It remodels the skin's surface while helping to rebuild collagen," says Daniel, who likens it to prescription skin care you can only get from a dermatologist.

Compared to other forms of vitamin A, retinal is an ideal ingredient for blemish-prone skin, Daniel says. Why? Alicia explains: "Some people would say that retinal is better for acne-prone skin because it has antibacterial

properties and kills bacteria.

Bacteria are known to be responsible for the killing of acne-prone skin." This bacteria may be a factor in reducing acne. method. "

Retina isn't just great for treating acne quickly. "Retina is a skin rejuvenation superstar and is perfect for use on mature skin," says Dr. Tahir. It speeds up the formation of shiny new skin cells and promotes collagen formation.

Both can "plump skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and brighten skin for a more even-looking complexion," he says. How to use Retinal? Are there any side effects? While retinol is great, it can cause irritation.

Symptoms include redness, flaking and pain on skin exposed to the sun's harmful UV rays. So are the retinas the same? "Generally speaking, the potential for skin irritation is greatest if you apply too much vitamin A to the

skin or apply vitamin A to the skin too early," Dr. Tahir.

PhD. Tahir, Alicia, and Daniel recommend slowly introducing retina into your skin care routine. "Your skin needs to build a tolerance to the ingredient before you can start using higher doses," explains Dr. Tahir.

He recommends starting with a product that has a lower retinal percentage or concentration (such as 0.03%). "Perhaps use once or twice a week for the first few weeks, then increase to every other night for the next two weeks," says Dr. Tahir.

With this application, your skin should slowly adjust to the retina. PhD. Tahir explained that some people may use it at night and can upgrade to a higher intensity. However, because it is so effective, retinol-based products

may be better suited than retinol for people with younger-looking skin.

However, Alicia explains that retinal formulas tend to be higher quality, so the formulas are more likely to contain other skin-friendly ingredients.

"These ingredients can include peptides [skin repair proteins], ceramides [holding the skin barrier together] and emollients [moisturizing, soothing and moisturizing the skin]. Alicia says this formula can reduce the irritation

of retinal products than retinol products.

If you experience irritation or are concerned, Alicia recommends using a moisturizer before using Retina Buffer. As Dr. Tahir mentioned, it is best to use retinal products at night. Alicia says wearing sunscreen during the day is non-negotiable.

"This is especially true when using retinoid products," since these products can make the skin very sensitive to sunlight. What are the best retinal skin care products? Retinal may be relatively small compared to retinol, but

the best skin care brands are getting in on the action.

Alicia and Dr. Tahir recommends Medik8's Crystal Retina Night Serum, £45. There's a reason this serum is one of the brand's best-selling products, and it's available in five benefits so you can customize it for your skin type.

Daniel recommends strength 1 for those who are very sensitive, but if you want to increase the effect, it is recommended to start with strength 3 and work your way up. Besides the retina, there are a few other things that make

this product special.

The retina is coated with moisturizing ingredients that dissolve on contact with the skin. In other words: the skin gets supplied by the retina over time, but not too quickly. "This avoids the well-documented side effects of vitamin A that can occur with stronger formulas, such as flaking and redness," Daniel explains. Alicia often recommends to her clients Avène Triacnéal Night Moisturizer (£23) for acne-prone skin, or Avène Physiolift Smoothing and Regenerating Night Cream (£34.99) for aging skin (one client said this moisturizer Cream improved her skin texture). If you have money to spend, Alicia also likes Allies of Skin Retinal & Peptides Repair Night Cream (£115) or Youth To The People Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum (£64), which contains 5% niacinamide for hydration and Moisturize. Moisturizing Ceramides. Have a budget? Try AHC Youth Focus Pro Retinal Lotion, £22, which has lots of five-star reviews.

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