Be an A student: All about retinol
Lauded as one of the only effective ingredients to combat ageing, Sarah Simpson from beautyheaven.co.nz explores what makes this the gold standard in skincare and why it should become part of your beauty arsenal
WWhile retinol can sound like an aggressive ingredient and may conjure up images of red, raw skin it is, in fact, the Holy Grail if antiageing is on your wish list. With its ability to exfoliate the skin and promote an increase in collagen production, it’s essential for anyone in their thirties or over who wants to combat fine lines and wrinkles.
WHAT IS RETINOL?
Vitamin A is the name of a group of fat-soluble retinoids that include retinol, retinal, and retinyl esters. “This vitamin is a multitasker with its involvement in immune function, vision, reproduction, cellular communication and when it comes to our skin, promoting skin renewal and collagen stimulation,” explains Katy Bacon, education and sales manager for Murad Asia Pacific. Put simply, as it’s designed to help support cell growth, retinol is one of the most critical vitamins to add to your skincare regime if anti-ageing is a priority.
WHO SHOULD USE IT?
Anyone who wants to combat the signs of ageing would benefit from incorporating retinol into their day-to-day skincare. “Skin renewal and collagen production start to decline in our thirties, hence the reason why fine lines and wrinkles start to crop up over this time. Thanks to its ability to increase cell turnover and build collagen, retinol is the ideal product to be using at night,” says Katy.
IS THERE AN AGE YOU SHOULD START USING IT?
It’s said that collagen levels start to decrease one percent per year from the age of 20, so starting to add this hero ingredient into your daily regime will hold you in good stead for combatting any signs of ageing that begin to appear. “In your twenties, retinol is great for defending skin while addressing the first signs of ageing. In your thirties, it will continue to aid in preventing further damage, and in your forties and fifties it’ll stimulate cell turnover and collagen production, and target other age-related concerns,” Katy explains.
It’s the Holy Grail if anti-ageing is on your wish list
HOW DO I BEST APPLY IT?
When dealing with an ingredient that’s as active as retinol, it’s only natural that there are some conditions attached. No matter what form of vitamin A you’re using, and in what formulation, it’s best applied at night. This allows it to work to its best abilities at a time when the skin is most permeable. Katy also suggests that a slow and steady approach to retinol is best. “I generally recommend retinol products be introduced gradually, starting with a couple of applications a week, before building up to a daily usage.” Another vital point to keep in mind is that using this ingredient can result in the skin becoming photosensitive, meaning that using an SPF is an absolute must, if it’s not already part of your skincare regime.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES?
In a nutshell, yes. While you’ll be most familiar with retinol, there are different variations that all fall under vitamin A – these include the likes of retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde, retinyl retinoate and retinyl proprionate, which are widely used in skincare products. Some of these derivatives contain a higher concentration of retinoic acid, which produces faster results but is less tolerated on the skin, hence the need to build your tolerance gradually. And while we’re preaching patience, don’t expect miracles to happen overnight. It’s a process, but one that will pay off in the long run.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT USING RETINOL?
Keep your product out of direct sunlight – vitamin A is extremely sensitive to light so exposing it to too much sun will degrade the product. On this note, packaging is key. Preferably, you want your vitamin A products to be in an opaque container and, even better, in an airtight one.
Remember, little and lightly is best. It may take longer, but your skin will thank you for it. Once or twice a week is ample to begin with if you haven’t used this ingredient before.
You can use vitamin A on your hands too. It’s the perfect product to tackle those dark spots when they start to crop up. A word of caution though, always wear an SPF on hands during the day if you apply vitamin A to hands at night.
Your retinol arsenal With the hero ingredient retinol and other potent vitamins besides, it’s worth introducing these wonder workers into your skincare routine if fighting fine lines and wrinkles is your aim USING AN SPF IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST, IF IT’S NOT ALREADY PART OF YOUR SKINCARE REGIME
1 O COSMEDICS RETINOL CONCENTRATE 1%, $130.2 ENVIRON FOCUS CARE YOUTH + CONCENTRATED RETINOL SERUM 2, $83.40. 3 ELIZABETH ARDEN RETINOL CERAMIDE CAPSULES LINE ERASING NIGHT SERUM, $85 (30 CAPSULES)AND $162 (60 CAPSULES). 4 DERMALOGICA AGE SMART OVERNIGHT RETINOL REPAIR, $180. 5 SHISEIDO BENEFIANCE WRINKLERESIST 24 PURE RETINOL EXPRESS SMOOTHINGEYE MASK, $93. 6 MURAD RETINOL YOUTH RENEWALSERUM, $189. 7 ESTÉE LAUDER PERFECTIONIST PRO RAPID RENEWALRETINOL TREATMENT, $175.8 SKIN PHYSICS DRAGON’S BLOOD ULTRA PLUMPING NIGHT CREAM, $80.