Retinol

It has an ingredient that stimulates the natural production of collagen and hyaluronic acid, fights wrinkles, reduces pore size, and lightens blemishes. Could it possibly offer us more solutions to problems we face every day? Maybe, and how else – introduce retinol!

What is retinol?

Retinol is a form of vitamin A used as a cosmetic active. It belongs to a family called retinoids, which can be found in various products on the market, with variations in purity and concentration. It has been used in cosmetics for about 40 years, initially as a treatment for acne, and later for wrinkles and age spots.

When applied topically, retinol treats wrinkles, age spots, and improves the overall texture and appearance of the skin. For this reason, it is found in many facial creams, serums, and toners aimed at combating signs of aging and sun damage (photoaging).

In most cosmetic products, this active ingredient is present in low concentrations, making it safe for home use. However, some individuals with younger or more sensitive skin may experience redness or irritation with its use.

The benefits of retinol in a nutshell:
  • Highly effective against sunspots and other types of hyperpigmentation.
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Smooths and lightens scars caused by acne.
  • Stimulates the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, improving skin firmness, elasticity, and hydration.
  • Regulates sebum production.
  • Boosts cell turnover, removing dead cells, improving skin texture, and tightening pores.
How does it work?

Retinol penetrates the deep layers of the skin thanks to its light molecular weight and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. What makes it unbeatable is its ability to improve the appearance of the skin’s top layer as well. It promotes cell regeneration, quickly eliminating dead skin and revealing healthier skin underneath. However, retinol can irritate sensitive skin, so it should be used with caution, especially when combined with sun exposure.

How to use cosmetics with retinol correctly?

Products that contain this ingredient can generally be used by any skin type. However, it is important to follow some basic recommendations to prevent unwanted effects, such as skin irritations.

Study the composition of the product:

When using cosmetics with retinol, you should approach them carefully. It is important to familiarize yourself with the specifics of the product in question – the concentration of the ingredient, which active ingredients or products it should not be combined with, and the best time for its use. Its effectiveness and action depend on these parameters, as well as the degree of irritation it can cause. It is also important to apply only a small amount (about the size of a pea) to avoid redness and skin irritation.

Gradually add retinol to your daily routine:

Retinol is an active substance, so more sensitive skin may react. If this is the case for you, experts recommend incorporating it into your routine gradually – use it once every three days for the first applications or start with low concentrations and build up over time.

Be patient and give your skin time to adjust.

Apply retinol in the evening:

It is recommended to include products with retinol in your evening skincare routine, as this is the time when the skin actively recovers and regenerates.

Don’t skip sun protection:

In spring and summer, it is advisable to choose products with lower concentrations of retinol, as it thins the stratum corneum, making the skin more susceptible to sunburn. Therefore, when using retinol cosmetics, it is important to apply sunscreen with a high SPF during the day – SPF 30 or 50. In some cases, it is even recommended to stop using the product during summer months.

What ingredients should we not mix with retinol?

Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid:

Retinol and popular acne treatment ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid should not be mixed as their effects cancel each other out. Their combination can dry out the skin and cause irritation, sensitivity, and peeling. Therefore, it is better to focus on only one of these ingredients and address it accordingly.

Alpha-hydroxy acids:

You might think that retinol and alpha-hydroxy acids (including glycolic, lactic, and citric acids) would work well together as they both target fine lines and wrinkles. However, this is not the case because these ingredients have strong exfoliating properties that can lead to redness, irritation, dryness, and flaking.

What to combine retinol with?

Hyaluronic acid:

If you use retinoids, you may notice that your skin starts to lose its top layer. Consequently, the dermis becomes more sensitive or especially dry. Therefore, it’s advisable to incorporate a product with hyaluronic acid into your routine to prevent irritation and ensure hydration.

Sunscreen:

If you include a product with retinol in your routine, it’s imperative to use daily sunscreen. Retinol improves cell renewal, making new skin more susceptible to UV radiation. For maximum protection, apply a daily (!) cream with SPF 30 or higher.

Ferulic acid:

Ferulic acid is a plant-based antioxidant that enhances the properties of other vitamins for healthy skin and protects against sun damage. When combined with retinol, it boosts its action even further. While retinol firms the skin and adds radiance, ferulic acid allows it to penetrate even deeper into the skin and stimulate collagen production.

Vitamins A, C, and E:

These powerful antioxidants can work together to make your complexion even more radiant. Adding all three vitamins to your skincare routine will help prevent collagen breakdown.

There is no doubt that retinol is one of the most powerful and effective anti-aging agents in the cosmetics industry. However, approach it with care, as you would any other ingredient. Test a small amount of the product on your skin, and if there is no adverse reaction after 24 hours, you can incorporate it into your routine.

While it’s true that laboratories conduct tests on cosmetics before they reach the market, personal inspection is the best way to avoid irritation and ensure harmony and health for you and your skin.

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