What is Retinol? - Here's everything you need to know

4 March 2022

United Kingdom

The world of skincare can definitely be a complicated one to navigate. We've just wrapped our head's around the difference between a serum and an oil (serum's absorb deeper, fyi), and now we have to think about specific ingredients to use to benefit different needs of our skin! 

Well, if you're like me and have been noticing some fine lines recently, or maybe you've been having some bad breakouts? Then one ingredient you need to look into using is RETINOL! This is best added into your skincare routine when you're in your late twenties - thirties as it prevents signs of ageing, but that's not all. In this post I'm going to explain exactly what Retinol is, how to use it and why you should add it into your routine, too.

So, what exactly is Retinol?

Retinol is a type of Retinoid, and Retinoids are compounds that are derived from Vitamin A. A bit confused? I was too. It's a lot of scientific terms which basically means - an active ingredient that can be used in skincare.

Ok.. so how do you use it?

Retinol should be used as part of your night time routine, let it work it's magic while you get your beauty sleep! It can be used at a higher percentage through prescription, however in most cases you will use it in skincare in the form of a serum or in your moisturiser. Personally, I started out with Super Facialist's night cream (can normally be found in TK Maxx for half the price, thank me later!) as this way the Retinol was diluted and was automatically getting worked into the skin with that moisture barrier, and then I moved up to using The Ordinary's Retinol 0.2% in Squalene serum when my skin had gotten used to the ingredient.

Retinol can be harsh on the skin, and can cause irritation, redness and even peeling in the first few weeks of use. This is why a higher dosage would have to be used under doctor advice, whereas the percentage found in skincare brands is weaker, but still does a good job and is more kind to the skin. For more sensitive skin types, I would recommend starting with a smaller dosage and then move up in percentage when you feel that your skin is more tolerant to save irritation.

What exactly does Retinol do? 

You might of heard people say that once you reach 25 it's time to introduce yourself to Retinol, and that's because the main purpose of using this ingredient is for it's anti-ageing properties. The other key benefit of Retinol is that it renews cells, which is why it provides so many of the dreamy results that it does. Once you reach the age of 30, your cells stop renewing as they used to and that's the main cause of wrinkles and dull skin, so this is where Retinol comes in to start that cycle back up. 

With tired cells being turned into new ones, it is constantly overturning the badness in your skin to make way for new, fresh skin cells. With your skin regenerating and essentially having it's own glow up party, it smooths over wrinkles, brightens hyperpigmentation, prevents break outs & blackheads by keeping pores from clogging and gets rids of dry skin cells.

Here's a handy little infographic to show you exactly what the key benefits of Retinol are:

I hope this beginner's guide to Retinol was useful to you. Trust me, your skin will definitely thank you for adding this dream ingredient to your nightly skincare routine, I know mine has!

Lucy x