You’ve probably heard about what seems to be the most magical skincare product ever invented: retinol. Just a tiny amount daily, and it’s able to smooth skin, minimize hyperpigmentation, and keep acne at bay. But – what is retinol exactly? And are there any truths to its claimed benefits?
What is retinol?
Retinol is a retinoid – a derivative of vitamin A which occurs naturally in your skin. Due to its ability to deliver visible beautifying results, retinol is one of the most sought-after skincare ingredients available today.
Benefits of retinol
When applied topically, retinol’s absorption speeds up cell turnover, and this causes your body to churn out ‘newer’ skin. As a result of this, you can look forward to the following benefits:
- Reduced fine lines – Not only does retinol smoothen your current wrinkles and fine lines, but it also minimizes the new ones that form.
- Brightened skin – Retinol exfoliates your skin on a cellular level, revealing smoother, brighter, and newer skin.
- Acne treatment – In addition to regulating your skin’s sebum production, retinol also prevents pores from clogging. You’ll, therefore, suffer from fewer blackheads, cysts, and pimples.
- Minimized dark spots – Retinol evens out your complexion, fades acne scars, and dark spots over time.
And – we’re not done extolling retinol’s benefits.
A large percentage of your skin is made up of collagen. When you’re young, your body produces sufficient amounts of collagen Your skin appears plump, vibrant, and tight. But as you get older, the falling levels of collagen cause your skin to sag, wrinkle, and crack from dryness. Yikes.
Thankfully, the regular application of retinol has been shown to enhance collagen production, leading to younger-looking skin!
How to use retinol
Wait – before you slather on a palm-sized amount of product onto your face, here are three tips for you:
Tip #1 – Start slowly
Your skin will typically take several weeks to adjust to the product, so use it sparingly at first. Start with a pea-sized amount every other day. Once you’re sure that your skin is tolerating retinol well, you can gradually increase both the amount used and the frequency of application.
Tip #2 – Expect some skin purging
As with most skin care products available, retinol follows the cliché of ‘making things worse before it gets better.’ Due to the enhanced cell regeneration, blemishes that were already forming underneath your skin are surface much sooner than they would have. Fortunately, skin purging only lasts for a few weeks.
Tip #3 – Cut back on other products
If you know that your skin is sensitive, it’s best to avoid combining retinol with other potentially irritating ingredients, such as alpha or beta hydroxy acids (AHAs/BHAs). What you can use retinol with, though, is a no-frills moisturizer.
So – when will my wrinkles disappear?
Okay – we want you to dial back your expectations a little. While your wrinkles will not disappear, you’ll see visible reductions in fine lines in two to four months – provided you consistently and diligently incorporate retinol into your skincare routine.
And with this new-found knowledge, you may now go forth to purchase yourself a bottle of retinol cream. We look forward to seeing a younger-looking version of you in a few months.