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Retinol can transform your skin - here's a simple guide to finding the right product


Retinol is like the bronzer of skincare. If you apply it too hard, it's obvious you've gone too far, but as long as you hit the right spots, your skin will glow.

However, the biggest obstacle to fully utilizing retinol is the mystery that still surrounds it and other vitamin A derivatives (collectively known as retinoids), and how to survive weeks of sensitivity and irritation while your skin adapts.

But don't let that put you off. With the market for this skin-care ingredient alone estimated to reach $1.5 billion by 2022, retinol is praised by dermatologists for several good reasons.

It's a slick multi-tasking tool that not only fights hyperpigmentation, but also plumps fine lines by accelerating cell turnover and stimulating collagen production. It can even help treat cystic acne and blemishes. So this is definitely worth looking into.

Aesthetic doctor Dr. Ewoma Ukeleghe is a true retinoid expert. "They treat a range of skin concerns, from acne, to roughness and dullness, to minimizing pores and aging. It really does it all."

Plastic surgeon and founder of 111Skin. Yannis Alexandrides believes that a vitamin A serum or cream should be an integral part of your daily routine. “For skin to be healthy, it needs to have vitamin A.

Retinol is an ingredient that can be used all the time because it continues to work,” he points out. To help you out, we’ve put together a simple guide on how to best use retinol. Here you will find everything you need to know.

What is retinol? Retinol is a form of vitamin A, a key vitamin in the body that promotes cell renewal. The retinol market is expected to reach 1.5 billion by 2022, with 7.2 billion views on Tiktok as a search term.

It belongs to the retinoid family—all different types of vitamin A that come in different concentrations and work in slightly different ways in the skin.

Retinoic acid (also known as Retin-A or tretinoin) is the most powerful retinoid. According to cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Sam Bunting, "It penetrates the skin cells and works immediately because it activates the retinoid receptor gene."

Our skin also naturally contains retinoic acid, so this This form of vitamin A is "bioavailable," meaning it does not need to be converted into our skin cells to function. Other retinoids, from strongest to weakest, include retinaldehyde, retinol, and then retinyl esters (such as retinyl palmitate).

Once they reach our skin, our cells have to convert them into retinoic acid, a process that also makes them "less effective," says Dr. Bunting. What are the benefits of retinol? Retinol can reduce fine lines, treat acne, reduce hyperpigmentation, unclog pores, reveal brighter skin—basically, it does a lot of things.

Retinoids work by increasing cell turnover. In other words, it exfoliates the skin, increases collagen production, and stimulates the skin's self-renewal—which helps achieve all of the above.

Retinol for Acne Treatment. "Retinol is great for congested or acne-prone skin because it clears bacteria from pores and reduces sebum production," says Dr. Alexander.
Retinol Treats Acne Scars. Acne scars occur due to injury to the skin and the body's natural wound healing response, sometimes resulting in uneven skin texture and pink or dark patches. Retinols and retinoids improve the appearance of dimples and discoloration by accelerating cell turnover and boosting collagen production.

Retinol for pigmentation. These dark clover-shaped spots on the skin are the result of excess melanin (pigment) building up on the skin due to sun damage or inflammation. "We know that retinol slows melanin production and therefore is beneficial for pigmentation," notes Dr. Alexander.

Retinol anti-wrinkle. As we age, our skin changes its behavior. The rate at which fresh skin cells come to the surface slows; the skin struggles to retain moisture, and elastin and collagen (the source and filler of the skin) begin to break down.

"Retinol is the best because it rewards the skin, making it thicker and tighter," adds Dr. Alexander added. Which tretinoin is right for me? When it comes to retinoids, there are three things to consider. Form (e.g., retinol vs. retinyl ester), concentration, and method of administration.

Retinoid: A powerful retinoid prescribed by dermatologists to treat acne, hyperpigmentation, and signs of aging. It's about 20 times more powerful than retinol and contains retinoic acid, so unlike over-the-counter retinoids, it doesn't need to be converted into retinoic acid through a skin reaction.

Retinal/Retinaldehyde: The second strongest retinoid. Retinaldehyde is just one step away from retinoic acid, says Dr. Bunting, which has the same anti-aging benefits as retinol, but faster (up to 11 times) and less irritating. Retinal is also the only vitamin A with antibacterial properties, making it ideal for oily or blemish-prone skin.

As one of the newest retinoids on the market, it doesn't have a wide range of applications, but Medik8 Crystal Retinal is a good choice for this ingredient and is available in 5 graduated strengths.

Retinol: Retinol is often used as a general term for retinoids because it is the best-known and most common product in various strengths and over-the-counter products. "The conversion of retinol to retinoic acid requires two steps," says Dr. Bunting.

"With every step you take, you lose potency, so it's a gentler beast compared to tretinoin."Although it's not as effective as prescription retinoids, retinol is known to increase collagen production and even out skin tone.

When using retinol, you should generally start with a strength between 0.1% and 0.2%, depending on your skin Tolerance level increased to 1%. Retinyl Ester (Retinyl Palmitate): A very mild retinoid, perfect for those with sensitive skin or those who are new to retinol.
Retinoid concentration determines the effectiveness of your product. "The rule of thumb is to start with the lowest percentage and work your way up to make sure your skin adapts to it," advises Dr. Ewoma. "After a while (maybe weeks or months), you'll notice that you can't really see a difference in your skin.

The product is still effective, but now it's time to switch to something more powerful." See Bigger benefit. " Shipping methods also vary greatly. Look for words like "encapsulated," "drone," or "sustained-release technology" on the packaging as these can help buffer the retinoid from penetrating into the skin in gentler formulas, or deliver the ingredient via a drip , to last for a period of time. for a longer period of time. 

When should you start using retinol?
While there's no set time to use retinoids, most dermatologists recommend adding this ingredient to your skin care routine starting in your twenties, especially if you suffer from acne or hyperpigmentation. If you're late to the party, it doesn't mean you can't make it; People of all ages recognize the benefits of using retinol to some extent.

How to use retinol? If you're wondering if you can use retinol every day, the answer is yes, but there's a caveat. Building a tolerance may be a bit of a headache at first, but it's important to gradually incorporate retinol into your skincare routine to avoid unwanted side effects, such as redness, flaking, and soreness.

"If you've never used retinol before, start by using it once or twice a week and then increase the frequency to a level you feel comfortable with, preferably every day or every other day," stresses Dr. Alexandride's consistency is key to achieving your skin goals. When mixed with other active ingredients, Dr. Ewoma: "From my perspective, it's possible.

However, if you're new to the retinol game, don't mix some vitamin C and some retinol at the same time Mix it all over your face. This is the quickest way to burn your face. However, if you are an experienced skin enthusiast and are confident that your skin is reasonably elastic, you could theoretically combine them," she continued Adds: "When combining serums, you want to make sure they complement each other and address the same skin concerns."

What are the side effects of retinol? Retinoids are suitable for everyone. If you suffer from rosacea, eczema or psoriasis, it's best to avoid retinol as it can be too harsh on skin that needs a gentle touch - in any case it can cause inflammation, dryness and sensitivity Strengthen sensitive complexions.

"Retinol overdose can easily occur," adds Dr. Just because a product says to use it every day and every night doesn't mean you should. Listen to what your skin can tolerate. " Typically, these side effects only last a few weeks until the skin adjusts to the ingredient.


However, new technology has helped overcome some of the problems. Brands like Murad, La Roche Posay and No7 are working on developing smart delivery systems and buffers, like encapsulated retinol, to deliver ingredients seamlessly into the skin without causing irritation. 
 Granular active retinol is a new kid on the block, and it's making a splash because it doesn't have the nasty ingredients that retinol does (more on that below). What is the difference between granular retinol and regular retinol?


Granactive Retinol or Hydroxypinazone Retinoate (HPR for short) is a popular new retinol alternative that people with reactive or sensitive skin rely on. Because it is essentially an ester of retinoic acid, unlike retinol, it works immediately and does not need to be converted by our skin cells to work. 

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