Retinol - All you need to know!

There is no doubt you have already heard about ‘retinol’. At Dermetics we LOVE this ingredient and feel it deserves a special highlight. Here is our in depth look at Retinol and why we consider it one of the superior ingredients in the world of skincare and anti-aging.

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A, used to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, blemishes and discolouration. It promotes the production of healthy skin cells by stimulating collagen production, elastin and increasing cell turnover.

What is the difference; Vitamin A, Retinoid(s) and Retinol?

Vitamin A is an essential vitamin needed for many important functions in our bodies. Retinoids and Retinols are derivatives of Vitamin A, they are ideal for use in skin care products because of their antioxidant properties. Retinoids are generally stronger than Retinols and are usually only available by prescription. Retinols, on the other hand, are available in many over-the-counter skin care products. Making them accessible for many to use in their regular skincare routines.

You are able to customize your product choice to your specific skin as retinols are available in both serums and creams with varying strengths. If you have acne prone or oily skin you should opt for the serum formats. If you are looking to focus on anti-aging benefits, we recommend you opt for the cream based products.

What does Retinol Do?

Benefits of adding retinol into your skincare routine include; the promotion of healthy skin, improving the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, evening skin tone, reducing pore size and additionally reducing breakouts. A true game changer when it comes to anti-aging and skin quality.

Retinol - Need to Knows!

Side effects that are expected when starting to introduce a retinol into your skincare routine are; redness, irritation and/or dry flakey skin.

100% of patients starting to use retinol will experience at least 1 of these side effects. The reason being is it takes time to condition our skin to this powerful ingredient. This is why we suggest starting slowly. 

If you are using a retinol and have not experienced any side effects you should take another look at the product you are using. The process of manufacturing retinol products is a delicate one in order to maintain the ingredients effectiveness. Making the investment into a good product is worth it, only then, will you see the true benefits of this ingredient.

Retinol Dangers!

With any active ingredient product there are some cautions and warnings to consider. Here are a few things we would like you to be aware of and avoid.

  • Layering Retinols with AHA or BHAs is not recommended. The combination of these ingredients can increase the chance of irritation and dryness.
  • You cannot use retinols if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. 
  • Do not, Wax, shave or exfoliate the area of application prior to use. This will worsen the side effects experienced
  • Apply Retinol in your nightly skincare routine only. Retinols do not mix well with sun exposure. There are a couple reasons for this; 1. The newer skin cells have a higher chance of burning and worsening the effects of sun damage to the skin.  2. ​​Retinol breaks down in the sun. This breakdown would decrease the effectiveness of the ingredient, which is counter-productive to what we are wanting to accomplish 🙃.

How to use Retinol

If you are new to retinols, you MUST start slowly! Once a week only for the first couple of weeks, just a pea-sized amount is enough. Creams with retinol should be applied to the forehead, cheek, chin, nose and above the lip. It should only go under the eye and on the crows feet area. NOT on eyelids.

Where to Apply Retinol Cream on the face

There are retinols designed specifically for eyelids as well as the neck/chest, to maximize results and minimize irritation in each specific area.

Retinol should be applied at night and it should be the last step in your nightly routine. Better yet, it should be applied right before you fall asleep, waiting 15-20 minutes after your previous steps in order to get optimal absorption.

You may have heard that in the summer you cannot use retinols because of the risk of sun exposure. This is actually not true. If you are using retinol at night and maintaining your daily sunscreen in the morning, Retinols are safe to use all year round.

In the winter, retinol users might find their skin extra dry. During the cold weather months pulling back on your frequency will help reduce the effects of the cold weather. Pairing the use of your retinol with a moisturizer such as the SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 will help support your skin through these side effects.

When should you start using a retinol? Who should use retinol?

In and around your early 30s is a great time to start adding a retinol into your skincare routine.

Retinol can be used by all skin types. The frequency and potency of the retinol you choose should depend on your specific skin type.

Applying retinol after moisturizer is a great way for sensitive types to get the benefits of retinol with less risk of irritation. Once again, pairing with a moisturizer such as the SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 has been proven to help support your skin while it gets used to retinol. The downside to adding moisturizer first is that you reduce the potency, so this order should only be used if you know you have Sensitive/Dry skin.

Patients that don’t have sensitive skin can apply retinol before their moisturizer to benefit from a stronger action. As always, monitor the skin to see how it is tolerating, and reduce frequency as needed.

Let's get started...

You have read this far, it seems retinol might be in your near future. If you are still hesitant or unsure about how to get started we are here to help. Reach out to book a call with our Aesthetic Consultant Mckinlee. She will happily answer your questions and get you started on the right track in your retinol journey!

Retinol Products that are Dermatologist Approved and Dermetics Approved:

First Time User

Yay!! Get ready to glow. Starting out with a milder form of retinol is best to start until your skin is comfortable and conditioned to the retinol. Starting slowly and gradually increasing frequency as your skin becomes conditioned is key to a successful implementation of this product to your routine.

  • SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3
  • ZO Retinol Skin Brightening 0.25
  • SkinMedica Retinol Complex 0.25
Next Step

Been using retinol for a while and wanting to take the next step? Try some of these products with a stronger form.

  • SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5
  • SkinMedica Retinol Complex 0.5
  • Vivier Retinol 0.5
Seasoned Veteran

Okay, so you know what you are doing when it comes to retinol. Your skin has been conditioned and you want to give it a boost. Move to a 1.0 strength retinol.

  • SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0
  • ZO Skin Health Radical Night Repair
  • Vivier Retinol 1.0 Night Complex

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