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retinol skincare

What is retinol and why should you be adding it to your skincare routine?

Dermatologists recommend it, skin gurus swear by it, brands are going crazy for it, and it's J-Lo secret ingredient for her ageless skin.

Hello, retinol.

What is retinol?

Retinol comes from the family of retinoids of which Retin-A is part of. Retinoids are just another form of vitamin A, which are the only proven ingredient that helps with the production of collagen as well as producing new skin cells for plump and youthful skin—basically, a holy grail.

I bet J-lo ageless skin makes more sense now!

Retinol or Retin-A?

Retinol and Retin-A are like siblings, they work in the same way, except retinol has a lower concentration which makes your skin less prone to irritate or burn and it's easily accessible. Retin-A at the other hand has a higher concentration and you can only get it with a medical prescription.

Why should you use it?

Retinol is ketolytic, which means that it exfoliates the top layer of the skin. The exfoliating process, removes the dead skin and the brown spots, making them less visible and lighter. This is what dermatologists advise you to use retinol for:

  • acne prone skin
  • acne scars
  • age spots
  • wrinkles
  • sunspots
  • clear pores
  • hyperpigmentation
When and how should you use it?
View this post on Instagram

It's all very confusing but we'll do our best to simplify (please bear with us ?). Peptides are made up of amino acids holding hands (peptide bonds). As more peptides come together, they begin to form proteins, and proteins are a fundamental building block of the skin. Being a natural component of the skin, peptides play a big part in maintaining skin firmness, texture and elasticity. Without them, the skin isn't able to bounce back as it used to, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles and loss of firmness. As we move through life, the natural peptides within our skin lessen in quantity - however, various topical peptides are available to offer mimicking effects: ⁣ ? Argireline Solution 10% - a super lightweight solution that targets signs of aging by improving the appearance of areas of the skin prone to dynamic folds (i.e. around the eyes & forehead).⁣ ⁣ ? Matrixyl 10% + HA - a very high-strength peptide formula to visibly target the look of static (always there) and dynamic (forming with muscle motion) wrinkles. ⁣ ⁣ ? “Buffet” - If you're not too sure which peptide to go for, "Buffet" is an excellent choice to begin with. It features a comprehensive array of complex technologies within a single serum to target various visible signs of aging all at once (such as static or dynamic lines and wrinkles, sagging and loss of elasticity). ⁣ ⁣ ? "Buffet" + Copper Peptides 1% - All the goodness of "Buffet" with the additional benefits of a 1% concentration of GHK-Cu (Copper Tripeptide), which focuses on the maintenance of general skin health by encouraging the skin to enter a constant state of repair. This aims to ward against loss of skin elasticity, firmness and plumpness and to help ‘undo’ the impact of our stress-filled, busy lifestyle. ⁣ ⁣ We know it's tempting to use our peptide products all at once, but we do suggest beginning with one and seeing what makes your skin happiest ?. If you’re struggling to make a choice, "Buffet" itself contains both Argireline and Matrixyl, making it a great place to start. ⁣ ⁣ Thank you for coming to our “pep” talk. ❤️

A post shared by THE ABNORMAL BEAUTY COMPANY (@deciem) on

Retinol sounds like our answered prayers but it has is cons, if used incorrectly it can do more harm than good.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work well in the sunlight, because UV light deactivates the ingredient making your skin more sensitive to the sun, causing it to be dry, flaky, red and overall irritated. So it's best used at night, and during the day a good SPF will keep your skin glowing and protected.

While there is not a set time to use it, dermatologists advice introducing the product from your mid-twenties especially if you're fighting acne scars and pigmentation.

If you are a beginner, you might want to start by using products that have at least 0.1% of retinol. From there, according to how your skin reacts, you can progress in using higher concentrations. In order to notice a big difference, use a concentration between 0.5% and 2%.

If you used it in the past and felt like it didn't do anything for you, maybe it because you were using in combination with products containing  AHA's BHA's and Benzoyl Peroxide. This ingredients reduce the productivity of retinol and can compromise your skin as they are all acids, so don't mix them.

Boujee and affordable
View this post on Instagram

I started using #theordinary Retinol 0,2% in Squalane and my skin loves it❣️It is a water-free serum that contains 0,2% pure retinol, ingredient that can reduce the appearances of fine lines and general skin aging❣️As retinol can cause irritation, TO recommends beginning with lower concentrations such as this to allow skin to build up tolerance❣️ ***** I apply a small amount to face in the PM and I don’t forget to use sunscreen every morning❣️ At first, it is a bit greasy, but it is really effective and I love how hydrating it is❣️I am very pleased with it, my skin has never felt so good❣️No irritation, no redness, easy to apply and it makes my skin smooth and even❣️ ***** I will repurchase this product and I do recommend it❣️I’m loving the Ordinary #skincare line, the products are so affordable and effective❣️ . . . . #theordinaryretinol #skincareroutine #skincareaddict #theordinaryreview #40plusskincare #instaskincare #theordinaryskincare #retinol #365inskincare

A post shared by Gabriela Ceciu (@gabrielaceciu) on

Retinol definitely sounds like it's going to be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Our favourite drugstore and beauty brands are giving us the opportunity to get our hands on this superhero ingredient without having to break the bank.

The Ordinary by Deciem has a range of retinol in different concentration for £6 on ASOS and if that is too expensive for you, the Revolution Skin Fine Line Correcting Serum with 0,2% Retinol by Revolution Beauty it's currently on sale for £3,95—so you don't have any excuses now!