There may be a host of ingredients that are used on the skin today, but if you are one of those keen to find the best ingredients for ageing skin, then you may have already heard of retinol. Aside from sunscreen, retinol is one particular ingredient that many dermatologists have recommended for years, and rightly so. But what makes retinol so special, and why has it gained the esteemed reputation of helping many people gain back the fountain of youth? What are the real benefits and advantages of retinol for the skin? Here, your top questions are answered.

What it is

Retinol is actually a vitamin A derivative, and it is known for boosting the production of collagen and helping in the turnover of the skin’s cells. With retinol use, you can have smoother and more even skin, and it can also help decrease the appearance and formation of fine lines, sun spots, wrinkles, and other imperfections on the skin. It’s because of its properties that retinol has long been used for acne treatment, and some studies have shown that retinol can even prevent certain skin cancers as well.

You may have heard of retinoids too, but retinoid is simply a term that refers to both over-the-counter retinol along with prescription-strength retinoic acid. Retinol you can buy over the counter isn’t as strong as the prescription version, because retinol will work in a more gradual manner compared to prescription retinoids. The results are the same with both, however, although, with retinol, the results can show up longer, after around three months of use. The results will be cumulative over time, though.

The best way for you to use retinol

Regardless if you opt for a cream (such as SkinCeuticals Retinol night cream for example), a serum, or other retinol product, the best way to use it – and maximise its benefits – is to apply it in the evening. Most of the retinol products available today are formed with ingredients that hydrate the skin so the skin will not become irritated or dry, but if you are new to retinol, your skin may well need time to get used to it. It’s best, then, to use it at night so your skin can aptly rejuvenate itself and recover. Specialists recommend using a pea-sized amount of the cream or serum for your face, applying it every other evening as your skin adjusts to the product. Then follow it with a moisturiser so you can alleviate skin flakiness and dryness. Here’s another tip: you can apply retinol once you apply your moisturiser so you can create another barrier to help minimise skin irritation.

What you may expect

Retinol may show some side effects when you first use it, especially during the first two weeks to a month, and it can cause dryness, a burning or stinging sensation, or peeling. When you first use the product, you can put on your moisturiser before the retinol so you can reduce its rate of absorption on your skin, but once you know that your skin can adequately tolerate it and has gotten used to it, then you can go back to applying the retinol product first. Since retinol can also make your skin more sensitive when it comes to sun exposure, make sure you use sunscreen every day. Avoid using retinol a week prior to waxing so your skin will not become irritated.

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