What is a Retinol?
Retinol, a Vitamin A, is one of the buzziest ingredients on the market today and is best known for its ability to “resurface” the complexion – blurring away fine lines and wrinkles leading to a more smooth, glowy, and lifted appearance with consistent use.

Is it different from a Retinoid?
Retinol IS a retinoid … it’s a specific type of retinoid. So when shopping for a retinol product, don’t confuse the word Retinoid with Retinol! Retinoids tend to be stronger and are prescribed. Retinols can be found over the counter and in many new products from drugstore to high-end beauty counter!

When should I start using Retinol?
Usually I would suggest my clients start around 30 years of age as its when many being to see the small, tiny changes to their skin that they want to prevent. But now, with more and more exposure to pollutants, radicals and the sun, mid-twenties is ideal to get a head start!

The only time you shouldn’t apply retinol or need to take a pause is when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. And just to be safe, if you’re trying to conceive, put a pin in it and wait. If you’re looking for an alternative, studies suggest products with bakuchiol are safe! (We will be doing a 101 on Bakuchiol soon – don’t worry!)

What is Retinol best used for?
I hate to use the term, but I’m going to use it : anti-aging. Think all the best things you want your skin to be – brighter, clearer, firmer. Since it’s a Vitamin A – its main purpose is to boost cellular turnover. When added to your favourite products, it promotes skin renewal, a brighter skin tone, and a boost to collagen production.

How often should I use it?
Like any new product, you want to start off easy. Start with 2-3 times a week to let your skin and routine adjust. Once you have determined you have no allergies or adverse reactions to the ingredient, you can work yourself up to daily. However, don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions about allergies and sensitivities. See below re Retinol Uglies!

Lastly, exposure to sun can reduce it’s efficacy, so try to find a way to make it a part of your nighttime routine.

What are the Retinol uglies?
Once you begin using retinol, be prepared for an adjustment period, a.k.a. The Retinol Uglies. Expect your skin to appear dry, flaky, and peeling. Some may experience redness. It’s easy to mistake this period with an allergic reaction – if the flaking and peeling is not accompanied with pain or inflammation, it’s most likely just the retinol uglies.

This adjustment period doesn’t last long, as once you pass it, you’ll see it was worth persevering through.

When will I see results?
Over the counter retinol products will tell you that you’ll see results within a few weeks. The truth is, you’ll start seeing the retinol do the work within a week – hello again, the retinol uglies – and continue to do its work week after week. But you will see major changes in your complexion around the 3-month or 12 week mark. Try to stick with your retinol routine for at least 3 months before deciding whether or not you want to make it a part of your overall skincare routine!

Three products to try :
There is a retinol cream or serum for every budget. Here are three for you to discover :
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Serum
The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane