Retinol is a top-tier ingredient, so understandably, it’s one of our favourites! However, it’s powerful, and care should be taken when integrating it into your routine. We get this might seem daunting. What ingredients does it pair with? How should you introduce a Retinol serum? How do you know if you’re reacting? 

So, we’ve compiled all the skintel, from Retinol tips for beginners to advice for seasoned users – and everyone in between. Scroll down for our 10 golden rules. 

What Is Retinol?

Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A – in fact, all Vitamin A derivatives are referred to as Retinoids

Retinoids can vary in strength, ranging from pure Retinoic Acid to milder Retinol Esters. Simply put, the stronger the retinoid, the fewer times it needs to be ‘converted’ by your skin to be effective. Retinol sits in the middle, meaning it needs to convert once to become Retinoic Acid, the compound that interacts with our skin. Because of this, Retinol delivers big on benefits but there’s less risk of irritation, which is why it’s so popular in the world of skincare. 

Why Is Retinol Such A Skin Hero?

Where do we even begin? Retinol is one of the most clinically studied cosmeceutical ingredients, and it comes with a stack of proven benefits. The main drawcard is that it works to regulate cell turnover, a process that slows as we age, or because of lifestyle and biological factors.

By increasing cell turnover, and bringing new skin to the surface, Retinol improves the look of fine lines, deep wrinkles, pigmentation and uneven texture. It’s also effective in the reduction of acne because a build-up of cells can clog pores, triggering pimple formation.

Retinol Tips For Beginners

Now the important stuff. Retinol is highly active, so it’s not an ingredient you can dive right into. This skin superhero requires a level of care when incorporating it into your routine, especially if you’re doing so for the first time. 

Read on for our five rules to live by when trying Retinol for the first time.

Introduce It Slowly

It’s important to let your skin acclimatise when introducing Retinol, or you risk redness, irritation and flaking. Start with applying just once a week, on clean, dry skin, and after cleansing in the evening. If you're especially dry or sensitive, you can even apply Retinol on top of moisturiser, as the extra layer acts as a buffer. If your skin shows no adverse reaction, you can increase the frequency to twice a week after a fortnight, and three to four times a week the fortnight after that. 

If you do experience discomfort that lasts longer than 14 days, dial things back to once a week. 

Rotate Retinol With Other Active Ingredients

If you’re introducing Retinol to your skincare regime and you are using other active ingredients, alternate it with them within your routine (this includes Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid and physical exfoliants). Over time, you might like using them together, but during the adjustment phase, it’s best to go slow. Exfoliate the night before you apply Retinol for best results.  

Pair It With Barrier-Boosting Ingredients 

On the flip side, your Retinol experience will be even more beneficial if you pair it with barrier-boosting ingredients like Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerin, Aloe Vera and plant oils. We’re also often asked, “Can I use Niacinamide with Retinol?” The answer is “absolutely!” Because this combo supports skin resilience and repair, it is particularly effective.

Be Diligent With Sun Protection

Because Retinol brings fresh cells to the surface, it can increase your skin’s photosensitivity, so we strongly recommend you wear broad-spectrum sunscreen daily and cover up with a hat when you’re outside. 

Understand The Difference Between A Purge And A Breakout 

When introducing Retinol, it’s common to experience purging, which occurs when underlying congestion is rapidly pushed to the skin’s surface. Rest assured, this is the product doing its job and your skin should clear up in a few weeks. If it doesn’t, chat to an expert and pare back your routine. 

Retinol Tips For Experienced Users

Even if you are already using Retinol, it’s worth implementing these tips into your regime, to ensure you are getting the most out of the product. 

Think About Skin ‘Cycling’

Even if you’re a seasoned skincare connoisseur, you should never skip skin nourishment. This is where the idea of skin ‘cycling’ shines: if you alternate Retinol nights with ‘recovery’ nights (think: hydrating serums, face oils and nourishing moisturisers) you give your skin the best chance of being healthy because this sandwiching of products ensures results without stripping or dehydrating your complexion. 

Rotate Your Products With The Seasons 

We have two Retinol formulas in our line-up: Retinol Serum and Expert Reveal Retinol Face Oil. You might have a firm favourite, but we’re also advocates for switching between the two, based on the time of year. Retinol Serum is lightweight and quickly absorbed, so it’s the perfect texture for summer. Expert Reveal Retinol Face Oil, on the other hand, has additional nourishing benefits, making it perfect for Autumn and Winter. 

Amplify Results With A Complementary Skin Treatment

Serious about skincare? Zero in on concerns with an in-clinic skin treatment. What you choose will depend on your skin type, but chat with one of our trusted dermal clinicians at Laser Clinics to explore the best treatment plan for you. 

Don’t Stop At Your Face! 

Your neck and chest are often the first places to show signs of ageing, so when applying Retinol to your face, be sure to take any excess product right down your decolletage. The same goes for sun protection!

Consider Alternatives When Necessary 

Pregnant or breastfeeding? Swap our Retinol Serum for Rejuvenate 15 Serum. While retinoids aren’t considered safe for use during pregnancy or when breastfeeding, Rejuvenate 15 contains Lanablue extract, a botanical formulation with similar benefits. Bonus: it’s super hydrating. 

Formulas To Try

Retinol Serum: This formula contains a 0.25% concentration of active encapsulated Retinol. It’s best applied on clean dry skin after cleansing but before other serums and moisturisers in the evening. 

Expert Reveal Retinol Face Oil: This innovative product has a 0.9% active Retinol suspended in a plant-oil base. It’s best used at night on clean skin and beneath your moisturiser. And before you ask, yes this is one oil that should go on before moisturiser – not after – thanks to its active ingredient concentration and lightweight texture. 

Want to learn more about Retinol? We’re deep-diving into all things Vitamin A, Retinoid and Retinol alternatives right here.

Older Post Newer Post