The Beginner's Guide to Retinol


Retinol is the hottest buzz word in skincare. Retinol is a potent anti-aging ingredient. Think of it as another form of vitamin A and because it's tolerated so well—unlike retinoid, using it every day makes for great results such as reducing fine lines and decreasing the appearance of pores. 

"In writing this article, I tried retinol products for 3 months and conducted extensive research on it."

WHAT IS RETINOL? 

There are few skin care ingredients out there that are as heavily talked about and debated as retinol. Retinol has been around for years but there is still a learning curve to using it simply because it is very potent. In writing this article, I tried retinol products for 3 months and conducted extensive research on it. I learned it regulates and normalizes skin cell functions, prevents collagen breakdown by inhibiting the rise of an enzyme called collagenase and reduces fine lines. Retinol speeds up skin cell turnover that slows down aging. This skincare superstar (as I like to call it) is touted by dermatologists everywhere as the fix-all for fine lines, dark spots and overall laxity and is the closest thing to the proverbial fountain of youth we can get. If you are terrified of injecting botox, retinol is your new best friend. 

"If you are terrified of injecting botox, retinol is your new best friend."

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The reason behind the use of retinol for acne control is that it easily gets absorbed by the skin due to the presence of certain retinoid acid receptors in the outer membrane of the skin. If you suffer from hyper-pigmentation or other dark spots on the skin like me (I have a mean upper lip mustache or at least that’s what it looks like with my hyper-pigmentation), you may wonder, “What does retinol do for my uneven complexion? Can it restore my skin tone?” ABSOLUTELY! Because retinol helps to slough away dead skin cells and reveal new growth underneath, continuous use can help to reduce the symptoms of hyper-pigmentation by peeling away the top layers of skin and slowing the production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color.

If you’re considering the use of a retinol cream or serum as a part of your skin care kit, you may ask, “What does retinol do to help my dry flaky skin on face?” Retinol is not only a cell communicator, but it also helps your skin slough dead cells and creates new ones, which in turn creates new collagen. Over time, this can lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as the new skin cells that are created fill them in.

"For me, prevention is far better than treatment. The earlier you start, the better."

WHEN SHOULD I START USING IT?

There are so many debates in the skincare world about when to begin using retinol. Some sources recommend getting started with it as early as 20 or so, while many others suggest waiting until the mid-30s to start using it. For me, prevention is far better than treatment. The earlier you start, the better. I didn’t feel pressured (and neither should you) to jump on the retinol train until I started seeing deep lines around my mouth which was a bit after my 30th birthday. Once you start, consistency is the key here. You should use retinol all year round.


HOW TO APPLY? 

I personally apply retinol every night before moisturizer. After washing face and applying serum, wait till skin is almost dry before applying retinol. Why? If retinol is applied on damp skin, it might cause irritation. I wait about 15 minutes after applying retinol then apply moisturizer to lock it in. Remember to use SPF in the morning to avoid flakiness. 


CONS?

Because consistency is key with this tribal and you will need to use retinol on a daily basis in order to see positive results, this may increase your risk of retinol side effects. One certain side effect I recognized was it was pretty irritating for the first twelve weeks or three months give or take. So you’ll have to hold on tight, friends. Like most great things in life, it's worth the wait. Retinol can also be pretty drying, so my advice is to use a tiny drop at nighttime and lots of moisturizer to lock it in. Yes, you can absolutely go into the sun with retinol on. However, with retinol, it’s important that you never skip sunscreen as it can make you more susceptible to sun damage, so if sunscreen isn't in your routine yet, you're certainly not ready.


In conclusion, this skincare all-star needs to be in your anti-aging routine. I hope you enjoyed this article and made a new best friend called retinol!  Thank you so much for reading!

Stay Fabulous!!!

-Niké