Retinol: Skincare Wonder Drug

The miracle ingredient that has the whole beauty world abuzz is Retinol.

Never heard of it? That’s ok, here’s the lowdown on what it is and how to use it!

This Vitamin A molecule just could be the single best ingredient in skincare. Pretty big claim, huh? Well, keep reading…

This antioxidant increases skin cell turnover rate, communicating with the skin and telling it how to look and behave younger. More than 70 years of research has clearly shown it’s one of the most effective anti-ageing ingredients for softening the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, refining skin texture, and improving uneven skin tone. It also helps minimise enlarged pores and reignites firmer-feeling skin, reduces acne, treats dark spots/mild acne scars, and reverses sun damage. Phew! I’m exhausted just hearing about what this magical molecule delivers!

Retinol is an amazing skincare must-have but there’s a catch – isn’t there always? It can be high maintenance to introduce into your skincare routine but if you do it the right way (that’s what I’m here for!), you’ll be incorporating the most fantastic ingredient and ensure your skin makes the most of all its benefits.

So, here are my 5 tips for adding Retinol to your skincare routine!

1) Be The Turtle, Not The Hare

Because of how Retinol works, it’s the kind of skincare ingredient dermatologists ask you to gently ease yourself into – not just jump in willy-nilly!

I understand the temptation to use just that little bit extra or apply it a bit more often than advised, considering Retinol is an absolutely fantastic proven anti-ageing, radiance-boosting, and future-proofing skincare ingredient. But Retinol and your skin need more time than other skincare ingredients to get to know each other. It’s tempting to pole-vault into using this little wonder but that’s a recipe for dry, irritated skin. Erm, no thanks!

My tip? Start with applying your Retinol product twice a week for around a fortnight. If your skin tolerates it well (ie. no irritation, excessive dryness etc), up the dose to three or four times a week for another two weeks. If your skin is crying out for you to do it daily by then, go for it or if your skin is just fine and dandy at your current frequency that’s awesome!

While your skin adapts to Retinol it might feel drier than usual or more sensitive. This should eventually stop as your skin adjusts to this powerhouse ingredient. If you’re not experiencing any of these symptoms though, remember that these side effects aren’t an indication of whether or not it is working. If you don’t experience them, it just means you’re one of the lucky ones!

If your skin feels extremely dry, peeling, and red, you may have overdone it – in this case, you’re better off letting your skin’s moisture barrier heal with some super-soothing skincare ingredients like panthenol and niacinamide, before giving Retinol another go – and taking it slower this time!

2) Pause All Other Actives

This is what most people struggle with – giving up their other actives (temporarily) to let their skin adjust to Retinol. This is an emphatically suggested tip that goes hand-in-hand with starting Retinol slowly. (Okay, so ‘emphatically suggested’ is a euphemism for ‘you must do this’!)

What is an ‘active’ you may well ask? Actives are ingredients that have been scientifically proven to change the structure of your skin at a cellular level. They’re the ingredients that work to repair, rejuvenate, hydrate, protect and nourish cells. Clever little buttons, aren’t they?

Retinol is a powerful game-changer but doesn’t like to share the spotlight with all of these other lovelies and can react with dryness and irritation. But, fear not! You can reintroduce all of your other goodies (think AHAs, BHAs, and Vitamin C) after you’ve cemented your relationship with Retinol. My tip is to give it a month before bringing them back into the fold, and perhaps 1-2 at a time.

3) Be Ready To Commit!

Retinol takes commitment – using it in your skincare routine isn’t a matter of using it when you remember! Retinol fundamentally influences how your skin behaves, and you’re not going to get the results you want with inconsistent usage. It’s not a skincare ingredient for those with beauty commitment issues – you’ve got to be all in with Retinol!

My tip? Stick with one Retinol product (preferably a serum) at a time to really make sure you’re giving your skin the best shot when it comes to Retinol. 

4) SPF Is Your Queen

Think of Retinol and SPF as being inseparable because they have to be. You MUST (yes, I just yelled that – sorry) use SPF while you use Retinol (and AHAs) in your beauty routine. Why? Well, Retinol makes us more sensitive to UV rays and sunlight decreases the efficacy of the product.

On top of that, we’re working hard here to reverse the signs of sun damage, am I right? When it comes down to it, minimising the causes of photoaging is equally as important as treating existing signs with a powerful ingredient like Retinol. So, if you use Retinol without sunscreen, you’re basically chasing your tail, ie. causing more photodamage while still trying to patch up the existing signs. You won’t see any real results without the sunscreen – it’s that simple!

4) Epic Hydration

This is crucial – especially in the early stages of using Retinol. Many people find that their regular moisturiser just doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. To help your skin along in the Retinol journey, really amp up your hydration and moisture – even if you have oily skin.

Great ways to do this include adding a hydrating serum (or two) to your routine, using a facial spray, regular moisture-rich face masks, using a facial oil, and using an occlusive like papaw ointment on very dry spots to help reduce any visible flaky bits and dryness.

Using ingredients like panthenol, niacinamide, and ceramides can help your skin adapt to Retinol better, too – they help to support a healthy moisture barrier, keeping that essential hydration in your skin and keeping dryness at bay. Yippee!

Still trying to sort out your perfect skincare routine? Let me do it for you with this skincare quiz or email me at katie @ ladylikemagick . com

Now that you know my five top tips for adding this anti-ageing powerhouse to your skincare routine, will you be starting Retinol any time soon?

Love, light & blessings,

Katie xo

P.S. For the sake of transparency, some of the links provided on this blog are ‘affiliate links.’ Although I may be paid a commission if you use these links to make a purchase (ie. Younique), I am totally committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I DO NOT promote brands or products I do not believe meet these standards, and I only promote brands I purchase myself. In essence, if I don’t love it, I won’t be linking to it!

Published by ladylikemagick

A Quirky Quaintrelle who loves Ladylike Magick, her nephews, cats & anything witchy or whimsical! Goddess pampering & sacred self-care for a life of magic and enchantment.

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