5 Benefits of Retinol & How to Use It

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5 Benefits of Retinol & How to Use It | Retinol is one of the most popular skin care products today. Not only does it have superb anti-aging effects, it can help clear acne, reduce pigmentation, boost collagen, and brighten skin tone. With that said, it can also be an irritant, increase sun sensitivity, and lead to breakouts if you don't introduce it into your skincare routine with care. Click to learn more about retinol - whether it's for you and how to use it safely and effectively.

Retinol is, unquestionably, one of the most popular skin care products today. Not only does it have superb anti-aging effects, it can help clear acne, reduce pigmentation, boost collagen, and brighten skin tone. But since retinol can be an irritant and increase your sensitivity to the sun, it’s important to introduce it into your routine with care. Want to know more about this superstar skin care ingredient? Here are five benefits of retinol and how to use it.

What Is Retinol?

Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that promotes cell turnover and increases collagen production resulting in healthier, more youthful looking skin. An over-the-counter version of retinoids, retinol is applied topically to the skin to reduce the effects of aging and acne. The small molecules that make up retinol go deep beneath the epidermis (outer layer of skin) to your dermis. Once it’s in this middle layer of skin, retinol helps neutralize free radicals, which boosts the production of elastin and collagen. This creates a plumping effect that can reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores. It also has an exfoliating effect on the skin that can help improve texture and tone.

What Is Retinol Used For?

Retinol targets some of our most vexing skin care concerns. It promotes skin renewal, brightens skin tone, reduces acne, and boosts collagen production. It also functions as an antioxidant to fight free radical damage, which leads to visible signs of aging. It helps regulate skin cell turnover, which approves the appearance of both skin tone and texture, and helps resurface the skin to give it an overall improved appearance.

Retinol is known to deliver noticeable results in as little as four weeks, but it typically takes 10 to 12 weeks to really notice changes in skin texture and tone. If you have sensitive or dry skin, it’s recommended to use a lower strength retinol product as it may take more time for your skin to build up a tolerance to it.

5 Benefits of Retinol

1. Promotes Anti-Aging 
Retinol is lauded for its anti-aging benefits. Our skin changes its behaviour as we age. The rate at which fresh skin cells reach the surface slows down as skin struggles to hold onto moisture, and elastin and collagen start to break down. Retinol gives back to the skin, making it thicker and firmer. Its ability to enhance skin turnover and penetrate the skin’s surface layers makes it super effective for anti-aging.

2. Boosts Collagen Production
The body naturally produces collagen, which promotes youthful, plump skin. However, collagen production typically starts declining in your mid- to late-twenties. Retinol helps boost collagen production in the body, which increases skin elasticity while reversing aging by reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

3. Helps with Acne
Thanks to its powerful cell renewal property, retinol can be super helpful for those who struggle with acne. It helps to normalize cell turnover and has an exfoliating effect that stops pores from clogging and pimples and blackheads from forming.

Just be careful not to mix retinol with other ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or a prescription topical that may have some sort of retinoid. This can overdo its effects and irritate the skin. Make sure to use these products on different nights of your routine.

4. Reduces Acne Scars and Pigmentation
Acne scars develop as a result of injury to the skin and the body’s natural wound healing response, which can lead to uneven texture or dark or pink spots on the skin. Retinol speeds up cell renewal and kickstarts collagen production to improve the look of indentations and discolouration. Pigmentation is the result of excess melanin on your skin as a reaction to sun damage or inflammation. Retinol slows down the production of melanin, improving pigmentation.

5. Evens and Brightens Skin Tone
Since it stimulates cell turnover, retinol has somewhat of an exfoliating effect. Dull, dry skin makes way for new, brighter, more even toned skin, with increased levels of collagen and elastin. The thicker skin is stronger, smoother, and has fewer imperfections. This leads to clear, even, and radiant skin.

6 Risks & Side Effects of Retinol

Retinol comes with certain side effects that are considered normal as you first introduce it into your routine and your skin adapts to the active ingredient. These include:

  • Mild irritation
  • Dry skin
  • Increased sensitivity to the sun

However, if you experience any of the below side effects, it’s best to skip retinol altogether as your skin may not be able to handle it. While it’s a great ingredient for many skincare woes, if you have eczema, rosacea, or sensitive skin, it may not be for you. Take it out of your routine it you have have:

  • Burning
  • Itchiness
  • Intense flaking and peeling of the skin

How to Use Retinol

Retinol should be incorporated slowly into your skincare routine. It can be irritating if used too frequently or the formula is too strong for your skin. Start with a pea-sized amount of a low percentage product, and use it two times a week. Slowly increase your usage to give your skin time to adapt. Once your skin learns to tolerate it, you can work your way up to using retinol nightly.

After applying a retinol cream or serum, allow it to absorb into your skin for about 20 to 30 minutes before applying another product on top. It’s also super important to use sunscreen daily when using retinol as it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

You should skip retinol on the day before you exfoliate, since it can be abrasive and irritating and you don’t want to heighten your skin’s sensitivity. Also, if you get any treatments such as lasers, microneedling, and microdermabrasion, you’ll want to take a break from retinol.

Retinol has been traditionally used at night. Since your skin repairs itself as you sleep, the idea is that anti-aging ingredients will be more effective if you apply them before bedtime. Retinol can also increase sun sensitivity, so if you do use a serum or moisturizer with retinol during the day, make sure to apply sunscreen on top.

6 OTC Retinol Products We Love

1. LANEIGE Retinol Firming Cream Treatment
2. Versed Gentle Retinol Serum
3. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Moisturizer for Night
4. CeraVe Skin Renewing Retinol Serum
5. Necessaire The Body Retinol Anti-Age Repair Serum
6. RoC Retinol Correction Deep Wrinkle Serum

Retinol is a powerhouse ingredient that’s amazing for anti-aging and acne. Incorporate it into your skincare routine for a youthful, healthy glow.

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5 Benefits of Retinol & How to Use It | Retinol is one of the most popular skin care products today. Not only does it have superb anti-aging effects, it can help clear acne, reduce pigmentation, boost collagen, and brighten skin tone. With that said, it can also be an irritant, increase sun sensitivity, and lead to breakouts if you don't introduce it into your skincare routine with care. Click to learn more about retinol - whether it's for you and how to use it safely and effectively.

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