Sunday, 9 August 2020

A guide to retinol

I wanted to talk about retinol because I had SO many questions and I never really feel like I understood what it was. I have tried to summarise a lot of research I have been doing, but I would also recommend watching the queen of skincare - Caroline Hirons - youtube videos about retinol as she has done a couple of Q&A videos about retinol. 

Retinol is a concentrated from of vitamin A.  There are loads and loads of retinol products on the market now, and they all come at different strengths and concentrations of retinol. Retinol soaks into the skin and promotes cell regeneration which is why it is so great for anti-aging. 
You should probably start using retinol from ages 26+ but it does depend on your skin and your lifestyle. The primary function and use of retinol is for anti-aging purposes which explains why you don't need to use it in your teens or early twenties - skin is pretty good at cell regeneration when we are young. 

I use a serum containing backuchiol (a weaker and natural form of retinol) from the beautybay skincare range. As I am only 23 I felt I wanted to try out a retinol but didn't want something super strong. I use this some around 2-3 times a week. 

When it comes to how to use retinol... 

Use on clean, dry skin, before putting any other products on your skin. Only use a small amount as too much can irritate your skin. Focus the products on your cheeks, forehead and chin, avoiding the sensitive eye areas.  

You should start with a weak retinol, using it occasionally, and build up to using a stronger one or using every day. You can get retinol combined with oils which are weaker formulas and then build up to stronger products. 

Benefits to retinol:

- collagen production - encourages plumpness and firmness in skin by promoting the regeneration of skin cells. 
- reducing signs of ageing, such as smoothing fine lines and wrinkles.
- acne and breakouts - smoothing uneven skin and reducing the look of dark spots or scars from acne.
- brightens skin - retinol works as an exfoliator to reveal fresher and brighter skin

Important things to note:

- Make sure you wear SPF as your skin is more sensitive! Ideally use retinol at night to give your skin lots of time to absorb it and recover before it gets any sun exposure. 

- Do not apply retinol in combination with other acids. This will overstimulate you skin... (both exfoliate your skin so you don't need to use both products). 

- Reactions to using retinol at first could be nothing, could be a bit of redness or sensitivity, but could be flaky and dry skin if you are using a very strong retinol. 

- If you're skin feels very sensitive after using retinol, use natural oils and moisturisers to hydrate the skin - stick to products without fragrance where possible to reduce the chance of increasing sensitivity. 

- You need to use retinol consistently for 2-3 months to see any difference in the skin, although some studies suggest it can take significantly longer, so don't expect to see results over night. 

- If you have very sensitive skin or conditions such as rosacea or eczema it's probably best to skip the retinol step in your skincare routine and stick to hydrating products. 

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  1. This post couldn't have come at a better time! I've been reading a lot about Retinol lately for it's anti-aging properties as people always say to start earlier, but I was always under the impression that it was only suitable for oily skin. I'm very eczema prone, so I'm glad you've put that in here as well! I might have to recommend it to my mum instead haha :D xx

    1. I'm so glad I could help! There is so much information about it's super confusing! I'm sure your mum will appreciate the advice aha! Thanks for commenting xx

  2. Thanks for sharing, this is really useful. I love finding out about skin care :) x

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment! I'm no expert but I love sharing what I know x

  3. Great post. I'm a big fan of Retinol toners and this was really informative.

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback! I think I am really seeing a difference!

  4. This is so informative! Thank you so much for sharing this. And such a good note that it takes a while, I think so many people expect instant results from skincare products, but that's just not realistic.

    1. I totally agree, you aren't going to see changes overnight. I think I struggle with this because I love trying new products and probably don't give everything enough time to really see a difference sometimes x

  5. This is a really helpful and informational post. I don’t know a lot about products in skincare that are good and what the benefits are and I am trying to learn so I can tailor my skincare. Thank you for sharing this helpful post.

    Lauren |

    1. Thank you so much! I'm not an expert but I just about figured out the basics since there is sooo much information out there, sometimes its hard to work out whats right! x