Hair & Beauty

Is Retinol The Answer To All Your Skin Woes?

By Rachel Stevenson - 07 May 2016

retinol vitamin a

Probably, yes.

Retinol is the word on every beauty lovers’ lips at the moment, but did you know that this magic little ingredient is no new kid on the block? Fact: it’s been used in beauty products since the ‘70s. No? It was news to us too. With such a buzz around retinol at the moment, we thought we’d do some research and find out all about it (mainly so we can impress our friends with our knowledge on chemicals. We’re fun like that). 

So, first things first, what is retinol?

Glad you asked. Basically speaking, retinol is the purest form of Vitamin A (in our opinion, one the best of the vitamins). It belongs to the retinoid family, is an active ingredient and is so tiny that it is one of the only substances that is able to penetrate the top layers of your skin, enabling it to work its beauty magic from the inside out. Whatta guy.

How does it work and what does it do?

As retinol is able to get into the deeper layers of your skin, it’s therefore able to reach the layers of collagen and elastin (the things we need lots of for younger looking skin). Once it’s reached them, it then encourages these skin cells to turnover, as well as thickening the skin underneath, meaning that plump, healthy and glowing skin is produced on top and is what you (and others) will see. Win!

And that’s not all; this little vitamin works its socks off to protect your skin by repairing any damage from the sun, acne scars and other ailments. It also encourages the growth of new cells, and targets those pesky fine lines and wrinkles, as well as improving skin texture and tone. 

As if this wasn’t enough, retinol clears the skin of dead cells and cleans out pores, so it’s a winner for those with problem skin or acne too. 

Who should be using retinol? 

With its many benefits, everyone! But seriously, anyone wanting to minimise the visible signs of ageing (um, everyone then), those hoping to repair damage caused by the sun or acne, those with annoying red marks that linger after a breakout, those looking to brighten their skin tone. Basically, retinol is the cure to any skin-related issue you may have. You can thank us later. 

Any side effects I should know about?

It’s advised that people first foraying into the world of retinol use the product every other day until their skin gets used to it, just in case it’s a little harsh and stings or causes skin to flake. 

Okay, I’m sold, where can I get my hands on some?

As you can imagine, there are lots of products including retinol out there. Here are our faves:

Medik8 Retinol 3TR Professional Strength Advanced Night Serum

Aside from being a bit of a mouthful to say, this gem is a super-fast absorbing Vitamin A serum that rejuvenates your skin, improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as targeting problem areas. All while you sleep. Brill. 

Alpha-H Vitamin A 0.5% Serum

This gorgeous brand has a huuuge range of Vitamin serums to choose from, all packed with wrinkle fighting Vitamin A. Try their Vitamin A 0.5% Serum to really combat those pesky first signs of ageing. 

asap Super A+ Serum

Another winner, this serum promises to encourage skin to produce collagen, in turn creating firm, youthful skin. Again, use this overnight to wake up with perfectly plump skin. 

Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair

This little beauty from Dermalogica repairs your skin while you sleep, so you wake up with wonderfully plump and re-energised skin. It also includes a buffer cream to help your skin get used to this level of retinol.


Image credit: Nabi Tang

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