One of the most popular ingredients in the market, retinol is often referred to as the gold standard in anti-ageing skincare and most skincare experts and enthusiasts name retinol as their holy grail product. However, most people have heard of retinol, but few know what it actually does. Read on to discover more about this powerful ingredient, its long list of benefits and how best to add it to your skincare routine.
Retinol was first discovered in the early 20th century and was approved in the 1970s to be used for acne patients. Retinol falls under the umbrella of compounds called retinoids, which are all derivatives of vitamin A. Retinoids are stronger which means they are prescribed, and retinol is a milder retinoid which is why it’s available over the counter. When applied topically, retinol converts into retinoic acid through enzymes that are found in the skin. It works by binding to specific receptors in the skin which initiates a cascade of reactions that lead to a wide range of benefits.
THE BENEFITS OF RETINOL
Retinol is probably best known for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as controlling acne and improving the overall appearance of the skin. When applied to the skin, retinol causes natural exfoliation which helps to clear blocked pores and increase cell turnover. This process is what makes it an ideal product to treat acne and prevent breakouts. Retinol also helps to keep the skin looking youthful and wrinkle-free as it increases the skin’s natural production of collagen, a protein that boosts the firmness and elasticity of the skin. People who experience uneven skin tone also rely on retinol to achieve a smoother and more even complexion as the powerful ingredient prevents the overproduction of melanin which leads to hyperpigmentation.
HOW TO ADD RETINOL TO YOUR ROUTINE
While retinol provides the skin with many benefits, it is a harsh ingredient that needs to be used correctly to avoid side effects such as dryness and sensitivity. If you want to start using retinol, skincare professionals recommend starting off with a mild concentration and only using it a few nights a week so your skin can build up its resistance and adjust to it gradually. It is important to be cautious about using retinol alongside other strong skincare ingredients as this can increase the risk of irritation and sensitivity and using retinol can make the skin even more sensitive to UV rays, so always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day. Before introducing a new ingredient to your routine, it is always advised to consult with a dermatologist first to ensure that it is suitable for your skin and its unique needs.