Which Strength of Retinol Do You Need?

Which Strength of Retinol Do You Need?

Retinol is a skincare ingredient proven to provide impressive anti-ageing results that can benefit everyone. This high performing ingredient does come with some instructions of use due to its different strengths available and if used incorrectly can cause some skin reactions such as dryness, flaking and inflamed looking patches. Though it may all sound rather confusing, it will make more sense after you finish this blog post as we are going to share with you some information about which strength of retinol you need.

How much retinol is the right amount?

This all depends on a selection of things, such as your skin type and concerns. Retinol products can be found in a variety of different strengths and textures making it easier to find the right product for your needs. As mentioned previously retinol comes with some precautions which are best to follow, especially when you are introducing the product to your skin for the first time. Retinol comes in percentages, from 0.01% up to 2%. Choosing a lower strength to start your retinol journey will help you and your skin become adjusted to it without any reactions or irritation. Here is the best way to introduce retinol to your routine without any problems:

  1. Start out with lower strength retinol to allow your skin to get used to the product
  2. Use it in the evenings once a week to begin with
  3. If you don’t experience any irritation begin to use it twice a week in your evening routine
  4. Work your way up to every other day until finally, you are able to use it every night
  5. Once your skin is used to that percentage you can begin to introduce a higher strength
  6. Perform steps 2, 3 and 4 with the new strength retinol to build your skin's tolerance 

Though retinol is a proven ageing fighting product, it is always advisable to team it with a mixture of ingredients, such as AHAs or BHAs, to help restore and rejuvenate the skin whilst improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

If you are wanting to know more about retinol and the results you will see you can find out more on our blog post about the skincare benefits of retinol.

Low strength retinol

This should be the starting point of using retinol for the first time. You will also see a number of benefits using this strength if you have a more sensitive and dry skin type.

Using low strength retinol mixed with other ingredients such as antioxidants, AHAs and BHAs will give your skin the armour to combat any damage from daily stresses such as pollution, dirt, bacteria and debris that can clog the pores and prematurely age the skin. Whilst your skin is building up its tolerance to the retinol you will notice the following results:

  • Pore size and visibility will reduce
  • Increased collagen and elastin production
  • Reduction in fine lines and wrinkles
  • A glowing youthful complexion
  • Reduction in pigmentation and uneven skin tone
  • Uneven texture improved

You will find these results will be across all the strengths of retinol as well as their own effects.

Always Remember: To use an SPF during the day, even on overcast and rainy days as UVA rays are constantly present and damage the skin.

Moderate strength retinol

Once your skin had gotten used to lower strength retinol you can now move up to moderate, the percentage of which can usually from 0.04% to 0.3%. If you found a lower concentration of retinol hasn’t given the desired results on any pigmentation or uneven skin tone now is the time you will really start to notice a difference. Allow some time for your skin to build a new tolerance to the stronger formula and use the same routine previously mentioned by introducing it slowly once a week, then twice and so on, you should expect to start seeing results in 8 to 12 weeks.

One other benefit of retinol to remember is that you can use it on the eye area too, there are specially designed eye serums and creams that will diminish fine lines and wrinkles in that area. Apply them under the eyes and also under the eyebrows to help firm and rejuvenate the delicate skin. Retinol does not exfoliate so you have no need to worry of any thinning of the skin, you will find that the improved collagen and elastin production will make the entire face appear plumped and youthful.

High strength retinol

By the time you have reached the point to move on to the highest strength, your skin should be completely comfortable with retinol. Higher concentrates come at 0.5% - 1% and are highly effective at correcting any sun damage that the lower concentrates were not able to treat fully. Blemish prone skins and those with enlarged pores will also find that high strength retinol will have a considerable impact on these skin concerns.

You must not at any time use high strength retinol if you haven’t started with lower concentrates first of all, by not allowing your skin to build its tolerance for such a potent product you will experience a reaction to the skin, such as inflamed rashes, itching and flaking patches to name a few. 

Can I use an AHA and BHA with retinol?

It is perfectly safe to use retinol with other skin ingredients such as AHAs and BHAs, you will find you get the best results if you alternate in between the products, for example, use a face wash containing glycolic acid (AHA) in the mornings or a salicylic acid (BHA) serum before your retinol in the evenings. Try not to overload your skin with too many products, instead, try introducing a well-balanced and high performing skincare routine gradually over time. If you are wondering which acid will work for your skin, check on our blog post all about AHAs and BHAs.

Now that you are fully aware of the what to expect from retinol and its variety of strengths you can start your skin journey whenever you are ready to and as exciting as it may be, always remember that slow and steady win the race to a glowing face! 


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