We’ve covered several basic skincare steps, but I’ve decided to take it one level up and discuss active ingredients that claim to help with acne, ageing skin and other skin concerns.
Today we’re taking a look at Vitamin A (also known as Retinol, Retinoids, Retin-A), an ingredient that’s proven to work and that’s approved by dermatologists.
What is Vitamin A?
Vitamin A is an active acne and anti-ageing ingredient. It helps decrease oil production, help unclog pores, diminish pigmentation and sunspots, reduced fine lines and wrinkles and improves textured skin.
The type of vitamin A that your skin can get amazing effects from is retinoic acid which is a medic grade ingredient (prescribed by your doctor). This is the most potent form of retinoid and directly stimulates cell turnover whereas Retinol (found in some anti-ageing creams) is slightly weaker and more gentle but still pretty effective.
Retinol is designed to strip the top layer of the skin and at the same time thickens the dermis layer of the skin by increasing collagen production for that smooth youthful appearance.
When to incorporate Retinol?
I’m 31 and started using retinol at the age of 25. What you’ll usually hear from skin experts is that it’s best to start in your mid 20’s because prevention is the way to go. Skin cell turnover slowly starts to decrease from the age of 25 that is why the older you get the thinner, more fragile your skin becomes as it produces less collagen.
What to be cautious of?
Overuse of retinol can actually cause irritation and dryness. If you have super sensitive skin, then you might have to consider starting with a low percentage of retinol and slowly increase it.
Retinols are only to be used at night and make sure that you apply your sunscreen the next morning because retinol increases your skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet light. Also, you need to avoid sensitive areas like the eye area and around the mouth. I once applied around my eyes and saw some dry skin the very next day. So be careful.
How often should it be applied?
Firstly, as with any new ingredients you introduce to your skin routine, you wanna be observant of how your skin reacts.
There are several ways I would suggest all depending on the sensitivity of your skin.
1. One night on, two nights off
2. Two nights on, two nights off
3. One night one, one night off
How I use it :
Two consecutive nights of retinol, the third night I’ll use an AHA product as this will assist with removing the dead skin cells. Then again two nights of retinol and the sixth night I’ll go in with a hydrating serum to help hydrate the skin.
I apply my retinol after my hydrating toner or serum.
Retinols that I’m currently using
1. Drunk elephant A-Passioni Retinol cream.
I’ve only been using this cream for about a week. It claims to be “safe” to use in the morning and at night. I prefer to use my retinol at night. This is the strongest retinol I’ve used and for this reason, won’t use it for two days in a row. With concentration being pretty high I find that it dries out my skin a bit.
2. The Ordinary Retinol 2% + Squalane
This is gentler retinol and one I’ve been using for years. I’m able to lather it on without worrying about it irritating my skin. This is definitely one I’d advise you to start off with if you’re new to retinol as it has minimal to no side effects.
Our skin regenerates every 30 days but if you include vitamin A in your skincare routine, the skin cell turnover increases to 14-21 days. Why wouldn’t you want to include an ingredient that helps increase collagen production and fight all signs of ageing?
The key to seeing amazing results is to be consistent. Give it at least 2-3 months. Also, keep in mind that you need to listen to your skin. The best way to see results is to know when you need to change thing up. Eg. Use retinol more often or move over to a stronger one.
This is definitely an ingredient you should start looking at when in your mid 20’s. For those who are older, I would recommend that you start using Retinol as it’s proven to work.
Let me know which has been your go-to Retinol and if you’ve seen amazing results?