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Retinoids are derived from vitamin A and are often found in medicines which regulate cell growth and expedite cell turnover.
In other words, if you have a dark skin tone and suffer with acne, hyperpigmentation or just want a radiant glow without the fear of permanently lightning your skin (don’t we all!) – you might find that retinol is exactly what you need.
Where should I even begin?
The idea of retinol can seem a bit daunting, however it can be super easy to incorporate this into your daily routine and once you start seeing results, you’ll want to stick to it. Keep reading for some key and hopefully, helpful tips on getting started.
Most retinol products will have very precise guidance on how they should be used, and my advice would be to stick exactly to these guidelines. I personally started with retinol in a gentle strength (Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 Serum – £39.99 via LookFantastic) and even with 0.01% retinol, I still saw great results.
It’s definitely advised to start with a low concentration (max 0.3%) to get an idea of how your skin reacts to the retinol before moving onto a higher concentration.
It’s also important for retinol to be phased in gradually. Most products advise twice weekly use for the first two weeks, every other night for the next two weeks and then every night thereafter.
Consistency is key for most beauty regimes – you wouldn’t use a cleanser or moisturise once a week would you? Similarly, if you want to see results with retinol, routine is important. See below a step by step guide on how to use retinol.
- Wash your face using your usual cleanser
- Allow face to dry for up to five minutes
- Apply a pea-sized amount of retinol
- Allow time for the retinol to absorb before applying your night-time moisturiser (usually 10 minutes drying time is fine)
Although it can take some time to see results when using retinol, once you do start seeing the impact, it may not initially be exactly what you expected.
Dryness, irritation and some peeling are completely normal with retinol and yes, although none of these make us feel particularly good, this is your skin adjusting to the product so power through. If you notice severe irritation or irritation lasting longer than 6 weeks, you’ll want to consult with a doctor or dermatologist.
The essential thing to remember is that once the irritation subsides, you’ll be met with some shiny, new, radiant skin.
.. and most importantly use SPF!
Saving the most important point for last.
Retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, which is why not only should it be used at night but also why SPF is incredibly vital during use and for one week afterwards. I’d recommend an SPF of at least 30.