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What is retinol? And why you should be using it!

Retinol, you may have heard of it, you may even use it in your skincare routine or perhaps you have no idea why you should be using retinol at all. This is why I have decided to put together a simple explanation of what this wonder ingredient is good for and why you should be using it!

Why should I use retinol?

Retinol is extremely beneficial for the skin and more multitasking than a parent of three children! If you have concerns with your skin such as enlarged pores, fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and texture to the skin. Believe it or not, retinol will fix all of that!

After using it for roughly 4 weeks you will see a huge difference to your skin, with a significate difference if you continue to use it religiously after 3 months. Your skin will feel firmer, look plumper and youthful. Fine lines and wrinkles will be ironed out with an all-over smoother appearance to the skin. Finally, any hyperpigmentation of the skin from any left-over sun damage or acne scarring will be noticeably reduced. Yes, it really is that good!

What is retinol?

Retinol is a form of vitamin A and by adding it to your skincare routine it will promote skin renewal. By giving skin renewal a helping hand you will find your skin has a healthy glow all year round as dead skin cells that have a tendency to linger on the surface of the skin giving it a dull, lack lustre appearance. Retinol is also able to penetrate its way down in the lower layers of the skin and aid collagen production, vital for keeping your skin looking youthful and healthy. The rate that collagen is produced begins to decline by the time we reach our 30s. As depressing as that may sound, retinol is a great first step to take with tackling this and the sooner you add it to your routine the more prevention benefits you’ll have! Other concerns such as sun damage will be significantly reduced, one thing to remember about sun damage is that you won’t be able to make it disappear completely but the pigmentation will become lighter in appearance and so less visible to the naked eye over time.

When should I use retinol?

There are a lot of contrasting opinions and information out there on the web, all regarding many things when it comes to retinol! The most common would be how using retinol during the day will in fact speed up premature aging and even cause the skin to become irritated and possible burning. This isn’t true and the only problem you may face with using retinol during the day is that sunlight diminishes the strength of retinol making it useless to apply! To really reap the benefits it’s best to use it in the evening before bed.

How do I use retinol?

Retinol is a complicated product, mainly because of the different levels of strengths available and the reactions it can cause to the skin if used too much. Here is the best way to introduce retinol into your routine without any irritation, burning or discomfort. 

  • Start by choosing a low percentage of retinol, for example, 0.3%
  • For the first two weeks use it twice a week in the evenings
  • The following two weeks you can then use it every other night
  • For the weeks after this your skin is adjusted enough to use product every night
  • By now your skin is used to the retinol and so the level of percentage can be increased, building up to 0.5%, 0.6%, 1% and 2%

Following this routine is best if you wanted to introduce retinol without causing any reactions. It is one of the most confusing and complicated ingredients on the market, but once you understand a good starting point with using it, there’ll be no looking back!

Can I use retinol if I have spots?

Retinol is a very powerful ingredient, it has the ability to unclog pores, promotes skin renewal and aids cell turnover. All of these will benefit a blemish prone skin by allowing it to be at a healthy state and easier to maintain whilst battling any breakouts. If you follow the steps previously mentioned you will find any spots or blemish concerns will be significantly reduced.

Retinol will also help of you have any remaining hyperpigmentation left from acne scarring and after 3 months of use you will find the pigment appearing less visible to the naked eye.

All skin types will see a noticeable difference when using retinol, from the signs of ageing, sun damage, uneven skin texture and many more. If you are still concerned that retinol won’t work for your skin go and visit your GP or Dermatologist for professional advice.

If you are pregnant, breast feeding or taking a medication that cannot be taken with vitamin A you can’t use retinol in your routine.

Can I use AHA and BHA with retinol

There is a lot of contrasting information when it comes to using a liquid exfoliant, such as an AHA or a BHA whilst using retinol. Many claim that using both products will cause over exposure to the skin and cause uncomfortable reactions. Let me give you the peace of mind by telling you this isn’t the case. Both products work on different levels of the skin, retinol working down with the celluar movements in the lower levels of the skin and liquid exfoliants, such as AHA and BAH’s work hard at riding the face of dead skin cell build up on the upper layer. Due to the fact they are not battling against each other and over-exposing the skin to stripping formulas, they in fact become a power duo and work in conjunction with each other to make your skin healthy and glowing.

 

So there you have a summary of retinol, hopefully now you have a little more knowledge and understanding of this powerful (all though be it complicated) ingredient.

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