Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and is most commonly used as an anti-ageing and skin perfecting product. It has been shown to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage and pigmentation, reduce acne and combat post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation left on the skin after breakouts.

Retinols are the most effective product when it comes to anti-ageing. Using an SPF daily and a retinol a few times a week will work wonders for your skin in terms of protection and enabling it to age well. Dr Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, a New York City-based dermatologist, goes as far to say that “there is not a single class of ingredient that can rival the track record that retinoids have for proven scientific results” (Harpers Bazaar, 2018).

To work effectively our skin needs retinols to be broken down into retinoic acid which enables the regeneration of skin cells and stimulates the production of collagen. To achieve these results prolonged use is crucial; initially retinols can irritate skin and at times result in dryness and redness, however perseverance is key; retinol use should be built up over time while listening to your skin and assessing your own tolerance to the product.

For example:

Week 1 & 2: Use one evening

Week 3 – 5: Use two evenings

Week 5-9: Use three evenings

Week 10- onwards: Use four evenings a week if tolerated well.

The percentage of active retinol in a product can also be built up over time; brands such as The Ordinary and Le-Roche Posay offer excellent Retinols with 0.2-0.3% which are perfect for introducing this product into your routine- over time this can be increased to 1-2% or kept at a lower percentage and used more frequently, again depending on your skin’s tolerance.

Finally, keep your skin safe ladies and gents , if you have a retinol in your skincare routine it is crucial to use an SPF daily as your skin is more susceptible to burning. We love Heliocare SPF 50 however any broad spectrum SPF over factor 30 should do the trick!


Other retinols that we love…


Medik8 (arguably the queen of retinols):