Nearly every skin care brand boasts some form of retinol product. So what’s all the fuss about? In this article we look at why Retinol is essential for your skin and when and how it should be included in your skin care regime.

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A which is essential for your body to maintain healthy skin and eyes. Vitamin A cannot be produced by the body and therefore must be attained through food or when it comes to skin care through a topical cream/ serum.

When retinol is applied to the skin the body breaks it down into retinoic acid which is the active ingredient that can be absorbed and utilised. Retinoic acid effectively:

  • Exfoliates and resurfaces the upper layer of the skin
  • Increases skin cell production (proliferation)
  • Helps unclog pores
  • Stimulates collagen production, therefore improves skin density, elasticity and smooths and plumps wrinkles.

With so many benefits, it’s no wonder it’s such an essential in skin care. 

Retinol vs Retinoic Acid

Retinol is a gentler form of retinoic acid and is readily available in many creams and serums, without a prescription. That being said it is still a potent ingredient and should be introduced into your skin care regime slowly. We recommend starting with a 0.2 to 0.5% retinol cream before increasing to 1 – 1.5%

Most Retinol products are now formulated with additional ingredients to suit different skin types.

Introducing Retinol To Your Regime

We recommend for both men and women to start using retinol rich products from the age of 30 (or even late 20’s). At this age, your body decreases it’s production of collagen and therefore your skin begins to lose elasticity and volume. Alas the ageing process begins and wrinkles are easier to form.

Retinol however is both preventative and restorative with proven results.

Many people are nervous to start using retinol as skin can be dry and slightly flakey initially when you start using products with this active ingredient.  However we do recommend persevering and layering with a nourishing moisturiser, (ideally with no other actives or AHA’s) and always use a sunblock throughout the day.

In 3 – 6 months your skin will look radiant and the appearance of fine lines and hyper-pigmentation much reduced. The best results are attained within 6 – 12 months.

If you do find you have a more severe allergic reaction to a retinol, all you have to do is stop using it. 

Many Retinol Products have been developed to suit various skin types, including sensitive skin. Therefore look for products that compliment your current skin care regime. We stock a variety of effective anti-ageing products that both include and compliment products with Vitamin A derivatives.

  • Oily/ Combination Skin –  Look for Retinol products containing Zinc & Vitamin C which will help balance your skin.
  • Acne Prone Skin – Use Alpha Hydroxy Acid products in you skin care regime, (just don’t layer them) and retinol products containing Zinc.
  • Dry Skin – Use retinols enriched with Vitamin C & E, and use additional products containing Hyaluronic Acid.
  • Dehydrated Skin – The best method is to layer products. Start with a 0,5% retinol and cover with a moisturiser or serum containing Hyaluronic Acid.
  • Sensitive Skin – Those prone to eczema and rosacea,  or skin that tends to be reactive should focus on building up your skin’s barrier. You can introduce a good retinol that contains ingredients such as Vit E and/ or Panthenol to help hinder any reactions. The Dermaceutic Activ Retinol 0.5 and iS Clinical Pro-heal Serum are our top choices for sensitive skin.

Retinol Do’s and Dont’s

  • Do introduce it gradually
  • Do apply a sunblock daily
  • Do use a Vitamin C or antioxidant serum during the day
  • Do gradually increase your concentration once you are using a lower dose daily.
  • Don’t layer retinol with Alpha Hydroxy Acid products
  • Don’t use retinol if you have known allergies towards it
  • Don’t apply it to the delicate eye lids or lips
  • Don’t use retinol if you are on medication for your skin (contact your dermatologist)
  • Don’t use retinol if you are pregnant or breast-feeding

Here are a few of our top selling retinol products: 

Contact us for further information and recommendations. 071 679 5242  |