So What Exactly Is Retinol And What Does It Do To Your Skin

Everything you need to know about skincare's scariest ingredient...

Chances are you’ve heard of retinol; hailed as a wonder ingredient it features in skincare formulas because of its anti-ageing and brightening prowess. Yet many of us steer clear for fear it causes redness and irritation. The truth? This much-misunderstood ingredient deserves a place in your skincare arsenal. Here’s everything you need to know about the complexion clearing powerhouse.


What Is Retinol

Retinol is a form of Vitamin A. It occurs naturally in certain foods such as egg, meat and fish yet it can also be produced in cosmetic laboratories. It’s this type that you find in your skincare.


Retinol Benefits

Retinol has the unique ability to tackle several different concerns at once. Its known to refine pores, reduce dark spots, smooth wrinkles and improve skin texture. It does this by improving cell communication, which enhances the skin’s quality, and increases collagen production.


Which Retinol

There are three types, retinoic acid, the strongest type, retinol, which is less likely to cause irritation and finally pro-retinols, which are the most gentle.

Because retinol is such an effective ingredient it does have the tendency to cause reactions such as redness and peeling. However, a new wave of brands have managed to minimise these side effects.

Alumier MD Retinol Eye Gel, £53, contains microencapsulated retinol as well as Vitamin C and E that wage war on daily aggressors such as pollution.

Murad Retinol Youth Serum, £65, also contains time-released retinol as well as hyaluronic acid spheres which pump skin with moisture.

You’re advised not to wear retinol during the day because it increases the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, however the innovative formula in La Roche Posay’s Redermic R Corrective SPF30 £29.50, also protects against both UVB and UVA rays.

Finally, Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask’s, £59, are perfect for those who may have had one too many heavy nights.


The Retinol Rulebook

Those with sensitive skin might want to start off up with pro-retinols and work their way up on retinol serums or creams once they’re skin has adjusted. Make sure you introduce it into your skincare routine slowly at the start. Retinol speeds up cell turnover so an effective moisturiser is must to keep your skin’s hydration levels up.

By Perdita Nouril