Have you ever felt that your skin is dull and lifeless, or that signs of aging have begun to appear and have become difficult to hide? The freshness and vitality of the skin is one of the concerns of every female. With aging, a girl seeks to preserve the youthfulness of her skin and searches for a treatment that gives her freshness in one touch. But during this journey, have you heard about retinol?
Retinol is one of the most popular skincare products. It is called the magic treatment. You may find it in formulae that have multiple names, “triple treatment”, “quadruple treatment” and many others, but what is the validity of these treatments?
Therefore, my dear, we will take you with us in this article of ours to learn more about this compound and its most important benefits. And most importantly the correct way to use it and when you should avoid using it. If you want to get skin that radiates freshness, follow us.
In this Article
What is Retinol?
It can be defined as one of the fat-soluble forms of vitamin A. It is added to skin care products because of its many benefits. In the following paragraphs, we will tell you the difference between these forms and their most important benefits.
It does not remove dead skin cells in the outer layer of the skin, as other products do, but it goes deep into the skin and weakens free radicals, thus stimulating the production of collagen and elastin. It also has a mild exfoliating effect, improving the texture and tone of the skin.
As a result, it gives a filling effect and reduces the appearance of:
- Fine lines.
- Wide pores.
Retinol exists in many forms, and you can choose the most suitable for your skin type, you may find it in the form of:
Difference between Retinol Preparations
There are different types of retinol preparations on the market. They differ from each other in concentration or the same active substance. Here are the most important differences:
Retinol or Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin found in many foods and nutritional supplements. It has important benefits for body health and immunity, while retinol is one of its forms and can be used topically to improve skin texture and tone.
Retinol or Retinoid
Both are vitamin A derivatives, the only difference being that the retinoid is stronger than the retinol.
Retinol is available in several forms, such as creams and serums. Several active substances are added to it and it is given without a prescription. While retinoid contains a higher concentration of the active substance. Therefore it is considered stronger than retinol, and its results appear faster. It is given by prescription. One of its most common names is Differen®.
Retinol or Tretinoin
Tretinoin is a retinoid that is not given without a prescription, and it is used to treat acne and signs of premature aging and is considered stronger than retinol. So its results appear faster.
After you have learned about Retinol, its mechanism of action, and its most common forms, we will now list for you its most important benefits. Then we will see whether you will include it in your care group or not.
- Acne treatment
We know that the main reason for the appearance of acne is the closure of pores due to the accumulation of dead skin and fats, causing the appearance of black and white heads and various types of pimples. And here comes the role of retinol in preventing the skin pores from closing, thus fighting their appearance and treating acne.
But you may need two months of continuous use until you see results. During this period, acne may increase in some people, which is normal. You just have to adhere to the treatment to get clear skin.
- Treating acne scars
They are pink, red, or dark spots that appear during the healing of acne and may remain visible even weeks after healing. One of the most important reasons for their occurrence is scraping the inflamed pimples. This causes damage to the skin and scars that may be permanent.
Retinol works to reduce the inflammation and swelling of pimples, thus reducing their effects and preventing their reappearance. Although it is an excellent option in mitigating superficial effects, it may not be beneficial on its own in treating deep effects.
Therefore, we advise you not to touch or play with pimples, and just apply the appropriate topical treatment to avoid any permanent scars. You can read the following article for more information about acne scars: Treating and Preventing Acne Scars
- Reducing dark spots (pigmentation)
Pigmentation is a very common problem, especially after the summer season, due to direct and prolonged exposure to sunlight. As we may see it on the face, hands, or any exposed area of the skin.
After experimenting, they found that using retinol lightens these spots, but with continuous use for several months. If the pigmentation is bothering you, it is best to consult a dermatologist to choose the treatment and technique that is most appropriate for you to get rid of it.
- Helps reduce wide pores
Wide pores are one of the most common complaints that most women are looking for a magic solution to hide.
First, you should know that the pores are part of your skin, allowing oils and hair to come out of them, and their presence is very natural. But when oils and dead skin accumulate within the pores due to lack of care for the skin, this leads to excessive expansion of the pores to the point that it is noticeable.
Therefore, my dear, follow a care routine suitable for your skin, and add retinol to it. As it has been observed that it reduces the appearance of pores, as it works to renew skin cells and prevents clogged pores.
To find out more information about the causes of this problem and ways to treat it, you can read the following article: Large Facial Pores – Causes and Treatment
- Reducing melasma
Melasma is one of the most common problems that appear during pregnancy, due to unstable levels of some hormones during this period. Melasma can also appear after prolonged exposure to sunlight or any other heat source.
They found that retinol and retinoids can reduce the appearance of melasma until it disappears, but beware of using these products during pregnancy without consulting your doctor because they have a teratogenic effect on fetuses.
- Treatment of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin disorder characterized by the rapid growth of skin cells. The buildup of these cells causes a thick, scaly, pink or red rash.
Retinol helps slow rapid cell growth, but it can cause irritation in the affected area. So you should consult your doctor to combine it with another treatment to reduce irritation.
- Reducing stretch marks
Stretch marks may appear after pregnancy or rapid weight gain, and for several other reasons. You should know that treating them at first when they are red or purple gives the best results, and when they turn white, it becomes difficult to treat them permanently.
However, retinol works to reduce its appearance to become unnoticeable, with attention to consult a doctor before thinking about using it during pregnancy.
- Reducing wrinkles
With age, the skin loses its elasticity due to a lack of collagen and elastin, and it becomes difficult to retain moisture because the dermis layer becomes very thin.
This is where retinol and tretinoin come in. They improve the appearance of fine lines by slowing down the breakdown of collagen and giving them the elasticity they’ve lost. But it takes several months of continuous application for you to notice a difference.
After you got acquainted with the most important benefits of retinol, we will take you with us to learn how to benefit from it properly, and the things that you should avoid when using it until you get the results that satisfy you. So, follow with us.
How to Use Retinol Correctly
Before you start using retinol, you must do an allergy test, by applying it to a small area of the skin and observing any allergic reaction such as redness and itching. If no signs of sensitivity appear within two days, then its use is safe for you.
Use in the evening only. You will get the best benefit when used in the right way, and here are the steps for the night routine:
- Wash your face well with a cleanser suitable for your skin, preferably one that is gentle on the skin and does not contain substances that have an exfoliating or irritating effect, and gently dry your skin.
- Use the appropriate toner for your skin and wait 30 minutes.
- Apply retinol (the size of a chickpea) to the entire face, avoiding contact with the eyes, mouth, and mucous membranes, and wait until it dries.
- You can now apply your moisturizer, preferably one that is light on the skin and does not clog pores.
- In the event that your skin is dry and sensitive, you can apply the moisturizer before and after the retinol, and this method is called the sandwich technique.
Now you are wondering: Do I follow these steps on a daily basis?
No, my dear, you must gradually introduce retinol into your care routine, according to the following plan:
- The first and second week: once in the evening every two days.
- The third week: three times in the evening a week.
After the skin gets used to it, you can apply it daily in the evening while maintaining continuous hydration throughout the day to avoid dry skin.
Given the importance of continuous hydration when using Retinol, we have prepared a comprehensive article for you about night and day creams: Night and Day Cream to Moisturize and Nourish the Skin.
Retinol under the Eyes
You must have asked this question, as there are many retinol products for use under the eyes. Therefore, we will explain to you the correct way to use it and get the most out of it.
We know that the skin around the eyes is very thin, so signs of aging, wrinkles and fine lines appear in this area early, due to its extreme sensitivity to sunlight and external factors. Hence, the importance of using retinol comes in:
- Treating fine lines and wrinkles under the eyes
Because of its important role in stimulating collagen production and thus filling fine lines. It also gives your skin a brighter appearance within weeks of use.
- Treating dark circles
Dark circles are one of the most common problems that women suffer from, which appear due to the accumulation of pigment in the skin and may result from dehydration and lack of sleep. So retinol is a great option to treat this problem as it works to make the circles less visible and gives the area a fuller appearance.
If you suffer from this problem, you must do the necessary blood tests, follow a healthy lifestyle, and drink sufficient amounts of water. This is considered an important part of the treatment, and then you can add retinol to your care routine.
- Reducing the cavities under the eye
Cavities under the eyes are one of the signs of aging that are difficult to treat. But retinol cream works to reduce their appearance by increasing the thickness of the skin under the eyes and thus making them less visible.
- Reducing puffiness under the eye
Puffiness under the eyes occurs due to fluid retention and can appear due to sagging skin in this area. Here comes the role of retinol serum in tightening the skin, unifying its color and giving it a fresher and brighter appearance, thus reducing puffiness and making the skin less susceptible to fluid retention.
Many doctors recommend using a retinol under-eye cream. But it causes dryness of the area, so it is preferable to use a retinol cream that contains hyaluronic acid to keep the area moisturized and avoid dryness.
So, with all these benefits, you will say goodbye to under-eye problems and you can start using retinol, by applying the correct instructions that we explained to you earlier. Start gradually with regular hydration and sun protection, and you’ll see the best results.
Using Retinol Cautions
Applying retinol in the correct way, according to the instructions we mentioned earlier, is not enough until you get the satisfactory results for you. When using retinol, you should avoid the following:
- Direct exposure to sunlight without applying sunscreen: When using retinol, sunscreen must become your friend (SPF 30 at least) to avoid any burns or skin irritation. It is preferable to wear hats and sun protective clothing during use.
- Using products that contain substances that have an exfoliating or irritating effect on the skin: Choose products that are gentle on the skin and contain a good percentage of moisturizing. Here you can consult a specialist to suggest suitable products.
- Apply retinol to damp skin: You should dry your skin well and wait 30 minutes before applying retinol.
- Exaggerating the amount of retinol used: Most women think that applying a large amount of retinol makes the results appear faster. This is a completely wrong belief because it will cause redness and irritation of the skin and will exacerbate the problems. Please follow the instructions.
- Repeat the application continuously without breaks at the beginning: It is important to start gradually to avoid any side effects that you do not need.
- Using more than one product containing retinol at the same time:This will not make you get magical results, but on the contrary, it will increase the sensitivity of your skin. Stick to one product and when you do not see the required results, you can change it and use the stronger concentration after consulting a doctor.
- Use retinol in case of skin wounds and burns.
Your commitment to these instructions will lead you to obtain the desired results that satisfy you.
Using Retinol Side Effects
Although the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved retinol, its use is not without some side effects that may appear due to your misuse and failure to follow instructions or due to your skin’s sensitivity to the product, and sometimes because you use more than one product containing retinol at the same time.
Usually, some effects appear at the beginning of use for a temporary period and disappear after the skin gets used to the treatment. Here are the most common side effects:
- Dry skin.
- Skin irritation and redness.
- Skin peeling.
The severity of the effects may vary from person to person. If it continues to appear after a long period of use and becomes more severe, in this case you should consult your doctor to modify the treatment plan to suit your skin.
Sharing Retinol with other Products
When introducing retinol into your skincare routine, there are some products that are incompatible with retinol and increase its side effects. And other products that help it work and give the best results. Now we will mention to you the most common preparations that you will hear about:
- Retinol with Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a great moisturizer for the skin, maintaining its moisture by slowing the evaporation of water from it. Given the need for permanent hydration of the skin when using retinol, hyaluronic acid is an excellent choice, as it works to calm skin irritations.
You can apply hyaluronic acid to clean skin and wait for it to dry or for 30 minutes. Then you apply retinol in the right amount.
- Retinol with Niacinamide
Niacinamide is a vitamin B3 derivative that helps clear skin from acne and reduce signs of aging. When combined with retinol, it helps protect your skin and combat the annoying side effects caused by retinol, as it has a soothing effect on the skin.
You can apply niacinamide to clean skin before applying retinol. You can also apply the sandwich technique if your skin is dry and sensitive. This is done by applying hyaluronic acid first, then retinol, and then niacinamide, leaving an interval after each layer.
- Retinol with Vitamin C
Vitamin C has multiple properties and helps lighten dark spots and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Thus, it supports the action of retinol in stimulating the production of collagen and elastin and giving a plump appearance to the skin. But both cause skin irritation and redness, so it is better to space them out when using. For example, use vitamin C in the morning and retinol in the evening.
- Retinol with Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy derivative that acts as a chemical exfoliator. And due to its important role in reducing the appearance of dark spots and acne scars, it can support the action of retinol.
However, due to the irritating effect of both products, it is preferable to use them alternately or use glycolic acid in the morning and retinol in the evening.
- Retinol with Salicylic Acid
Retinol and salicylic acid are effective acne treatments, but both can dry and irritate the skin. Applying them together will cause an increase in oil secretion and the appearance of acne will worsen. So it is better to space out when using.
You can use salicylic acid in the morning and retinol in the evening, with the need to adhere to continuous hydration and adhere to the correct usage instructions to avoid irritation and dryness of the skin and to obtain satisfactory results.
Therefore, before you use any new product, you must make sure that it is suitable for your condition and skin type. More importantly, if there is disharmony between it and any product you use on a daily basis. And remember that beautiful results come after the right use of the right product and at the right time.
In the end, you should know that the signs of aging that appear on your skin are nothing but evidence that you enjoyed your life and smiled from your heart. Do not hate its presence, but rather accept and love it, for it is part of you.
You have to take care of your skin, and there are many products that you can use, starting with retinol. Now you have comprehensive information about its benefits and the correct way to use it. Choose the right product for your skin type and condition, and consult your doctor to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for you.
From me and from Farashti magazine, we wish you healthy skin that radiates freshness. Now we leave you with the frequently asked questions section. If you have any questions or inquiries, you can share them with us in the comments.
Frequently Asked Questions about Retinol
Is retinol safe for pregnant women?
No. It is forbidden to use it during pregnancy, and even when planning a pregnancy, it is preferable to stop using any preparation containing vitamin A derivatives, and when it is necessary to use it, you should discuss appropriate contraceptive methods with your doctor.
Is retinol safe for breastfeeding?
There are not enough studies to support its safety, but you can discuss with your doctor about the most appropriate option for you and your child.
How long does retinol take to work?
When you apply Retinol, it begins to work immediately, but the results may take several weeks to be seen. In some patients, the skin condition gets worse at the beginning of use, but this happens for a temporary period until the skin gets used to Retinol and the condition begins to improve.
Does retinol cause skin darkening?
Yes. If you do not follow the instructions and the correct method of use, it may cause pigmentation and dark spots to appear.
Can retinol be used with derma roller?
No. When performing the Derma Roller technique, you should avoid using any products that contain strong active ingredients, such as retinol and vitamin C, immediately after the procedure. It is preferable to apply it 48-72 hours after the Derma Roller procedure, in order to obtain the best results without causing any skin irritation.
Is retinol placed around the mouth?
No. The skin around the mouth is sensitive and delicate so it is best to stay away from applying retinol in this area. And if the situation requires that, you should moisturize the area well with the appropriate moisturizer and use the weakest concentration.