For skincare enthusiasts, it is always a dream when a critically acclaimed ingredient actually delivers on its promises. Enter retinol! When used properly, this complexion powerhouse can truly transform the look and feel of your skin over time. Read on to learn all about the benefits of retinol for skin and how to use it in your skincare routine.
IN A NUTSHELL
Ingredient Category: Antioxidant, Exfoliant
Main Benefit: One of the most used and most well-studied anti-aging ingredients on the market, retinol transforms the look and feel of your skin by encouraging collagen production and increasing cell turnover. This makes it the perfect answer to combatting the emergence of fine lines and wrinkles, acne breakouts, and uneven skin tone.
What Is Retinol
To best explain retinol, it would help to first understand a bit about retinoids. Retinoids are a powerful form of vitamin A. There are different topical retinoids available today: retinol, tretinoin, adapalene, tazarotene, alitretinoin, and bexarotene. Highly regarded as “fountains of youth” due to their impressive rejuvenative effects, topical retinoids come in cream, gel and liquid forms.
For decades, these magical little molecules have been scrupulously studied and widely acclaimed for their intense and expansive range of skin benefits. Most retinoids are applied topically, but there are some versions that are actually consumed orally, with the most potent retinoids reserved for prescription products. To get your paws on Rx strength retinoids, schedule a visit with your physician or dermatologist.
Luckily, you don’t need a doc to get in on all the goodness. Retinols are a type of retinoid whose atomic structure is somewhat altered from traditional retinoids; this form of vitamin A is more readily accessible.
Retinols are found primarily in over-the-counter products. They are more gentle on the skin than prescription-strength retinoids and work more gradually. For first timers, retinols offer a gentler segue into the world of retinoids and can be easier on the skin. OTC retinol is also often blended into beneficiary cocktails that offer more nourishment than a standard retinoid cream.
Retinol Skin Benefits
Originally marketed as an anti-acne treatment in the 70s, retinoids quickly proved to have considerable anti-aging effects. Retinol is one of the most used and most well-studied anti-aging ingredients on the market. Here are the three major benefits of incorporating a retinol in your skincare routine:
1. Retinol stimulates collagen production.
As we age, the collagen our body produces slows down significantly, resulting in loss of firmness in the skin. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, “When applied topically, any deficiency in collagen that exists in the skin is partially improved.” Because retinol is known to stimulate collagen production, it can help firm the skin and minimize the appearance of existing fine lines and wrinkles, resulting in a more youthful look over time. The work is gradual, so it can take three to six months to start seeing results.
2. Retinol increases surface skin cell turnover.
When applied consistently, retinol helps clear away dull and dead skin, revealing a brighter, smoother, more even tone. Look for a silky smooth retinol serum or moisturizer to add a fresh and natural glow to your complexion without the use of abrasive beads or a granular exfoliant. Retinol also helps fade the look of age spots and other forms of hyperpigmentation that are often considered signs of aging.
3. Retinol helps keep pores unclogged.
Because retinol stimulates skin cell turnover, it keeps pores unclogged. This means that retinol is effective at helping to clear the skin and prevent further breakouts from occurring. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology states that “retinoids also act as comedolytic agents and work by unclogging blocked pores.” Comedolytic agents inhibit the formation of comedones, which are blemishes that form when oil and skin cells become trapped in the pore.
How to Use
Retinol requires ease and gradual incorporation into one’s routine; any other approach can lead to irritation and increased redness. However, it is also important to know that these side effects may occur even if you introduce it slowly, and they are not necessarily indications that you should hightail it out of retinol town– it might just mean that the formula is working.
As earlier stated, retinol helps get rid of dead skin by increasing cell turnover. Similar to what your skin experiences after an injury, it may not look its best before it regenerates. So, don’t stress and allow time for your skin to adjust (a period known as “retinization”).
As always, consult with your dermatologist about when and how to incorporate retinol or any new ingredients into your regimen, always following manufacturer’s instructions. Be prepared to practice a little patience when it comes to retinol, knowing you may need to ride out the retinization wave.
How Often To Use Retinol
When it comes to high dosage retinol products, new users with lighter complexions should start incorporating a retinol product no more than once every three nights. When your skin adjusts, increase to once every two nights, and ultimately ease into daily use. Those with more pigmented skin should go even slower, as any associated redness may lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
You can also opt to start with a low dosage retinol face cream, making the transition a bit easier on your skin. Our Youth Fairy retinol moisturizer is formulated for beginner retinol users, offering nourishing hydration as well as a small but effective dose of retinol to impart its benefits without the irritation.
All in all, it’s generally best to follow the instructions as printed on the label, or as given by your dermatologist or skincare professional.
How To Incorporate Retinol Into Your Skincare Routine
It is advisable to avoid using retinol during the day. There is a long exhaustive debate as to whether or not retinol makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays; while recent years have led to more research that debunks this idea, sunlight is at a minimum said to decrease the efficacy of retinols. Therefore, when first adding it into your routine, reserve retinol for your nighttime regimen. If you do apply your retinol product in the morning, always follow up with sunscreen.
When you apply depends on what type of retinol product you are using. Follow manufacturer directions, or follow the basic rules of a skincare regimen:
- Step 1: Cleanser
- Step 2: Toner
- Step 3: Treatment (serum, Rx cream, eye cream, etc.)
- Step 4: Moisturizer
Avoid the eye area unless using a product specifically designed for that region, and don’t layer your retinols with other could-be-harsh ingredients, such as vitamin C, unless otherwise directed by your dermatologist.
Who Can Use; Potential Side Effects
It’s clear that incorporating retinol into your routine can have profound effects on the look and feel of your skin. The good news is that with the exception of those who are pregnant, nursing, or using another product that is either contraindicated or deactivating (specifically- AHAs, BHAS, benzoyl peroxide and vitamin C), retinol will work for most. However, as with most ingredients, there could be some potential side effects. The most common side effects include dryness, redness, and irritation, so those with ultra-sensitive or dry skin should proceed with extra caution.
Youth Fairy Retinol Moisturizer
If you are new to using retinol, or have skin sensitivities, the thought of using a product on your skin that could cause flare-ups can seem daunting. Fleur & Bee’s Youth Fairy retinol moisturizer is the perfect gateway retinol face cream. We’ve combined a small, yet highly effective dose of retinol (0.03%) with over a dozen anti-aging and nourishing botanical ingredients, while keeping our formula clean, vegan and cruelty free. Evening primrose, plant stem cells and squalane revitalize the skin and reduce the risk of irritation that is common with retinol use. The result is smoother, well-moisturized and younger looking skin.
‘A’ Game Retinol Serum
When you are ready to level up to a slightly more potent formula, add ‘A’ Game retinol serum to your routine. Featuring 0.1% retinol, this gentle serum is combined with soothing aloe vera and nourishing rosehip oil to effectively smooth your skin without the usual side effects of harsher retinoids. It was created to perfectly pair with Youth Fairy retinol moisturizer and is best used during your evening skincare routine. With 22 nourishing active ingredients, it will truly up your skincare game.
Because retinol is known to cause dryness and irritation, we have included a magical combination of botanicals to nourish and protect the skin, including:
- Plant Stem Cells: Plant stem cells have a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect, helping to protect against sun damage and prevent wrinkles
- Sea Buckthorn Oil: Antioxidant rich sea buckthorn oil provides hydration, evens out skin tone, and improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Evening Primrose Oil: The key ingredients in evening primrose oil are essential fatty acids that help strengthen the skin barrier and reduce moisture loss.
These nourishing actives, along with 13 others, partner harmoniously with retinol to gently yet effectively transform your skin. Not only is this anti-aging face cream completely vegan and cruelty free, it’s also free of parabens, sulfates, artificial fragrances or any other nasties, making this your safest entry into the retinol game.
Fancy a visit from the Youth Fairy? Get ready for your skincare wishes to come true.