Retinol: Everything You Need to Know About This Powerful Anti-Aging You’ve Been Neglecting Until Now


Retinol has entered the world of anti-aging care in the 1970s, and today this fat-soluble form of vitamin A remains an essential safe bet. Distinguishing itself from the inexact science of anti-aging products, it actually works: by stimulating the production of cells (its “proliferation”, if we want to use the appropriate term), retinol increases the level of collagen to replenish the skin . Your face is thus smoother, more elastic and younger.

That doesn’t mean you have to buy a barrel and apply it all day. It takes a bit of patience and not overusing it as it can lead to unwanted reactions (flaking, redness, dryness – that kind of disgusting stuff you just don’t want to hear about). Also, retinol is not always compatible with other active ingredients in your skincare routine. It is therefore necessary to inform yourself well before integrating it into your care.

To define exactly what retinol is, why to buy it, and what are the best retinol products, Alexander Johnston of John Bell & Croyden tells us all about it.

What is Retinol?

“Retinol is basically a topical vitamin A, which belongs to the retinoid family. Retinol is the strongest retinoid you can buy without a prescription. Weaker retinoids, such as retinyl acetate and retinyl palmitate, are often present in treatments for more sensitive skin, but their effects are slower and less dramatic.”

What does retinol do?

“Basically, retinol resurfaces the skin by accelerating cell turnover and promoting collagen production. This is why there is some softening of wrinkles and fine lines, as retinol activates the plumping effect of collagen, while revealing a fresher complexion. From a more technical point of view, retinoids communicate with cells to encourage them to renew themselves faster than usual, which can treat sun-damaged skin, age spots, pigmentation problems and redness. Using retinol actually encourages the production of red blood vessels in the skin, which helps even out skin tone.”

Who is retinol for?

“Retinol can be used by anyone who wants to improve the texture of their skin, which has sun damage, acne or pigmentation issues. There are many different dosages and variations, so it’s always best to seek advice from a skincare expert (or at least read a few reviews online) before taking the plunge. I always recommend that you start gradually, maybe once or twice a week at first, before working it into your evening routine. The problem with retinol is that you have to use it regularly for four to six weeks before you see any noticeable results. There are, however, products on the market containing other ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, which may have a more immediate effect and be gentler on the skin, allowing you to jump straight into daily use. .”

Are there any risks in using retinol?

“Retinol at low dilution is likely to cause a reaction on first use, but as long as you start with a low concentration before progressing to higher concentrations, you will be fine. Diluted retinols are often gentler on the skin because they contain additional ingredients that help calm and soothe the skin. It is recommended, if you use retinol before bedtime, to also use a good day cream, with a minimum SPF index of 30as the skin may become more sensitive.”

What should you not mix retinol with?

Given the photosensitivity of retinol, try to avoid products containing vitamin C. This acts as a barrier for the skin, and retinol does the opposite by repairing collagen levels. Instead, apply vitamin C products in the morning and retinol at night before sleeping.


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