How to use retinol to get best results

As you may have noticed, we talk about skincare ingredients a lot. We aren’t proponents of the latest craze to play chemists at home. But, we are all for educating ourselves, making informed decisions about skincare purchases, and finding the right ingredients to tackle any skin concern.
Retinol is a powerhouse ingredient with decades of skincare research to back up the claims of its effectiveness. However, it can be a tricky ingredient to incorporate into a routine because a) it can take time to build up a tolerance to it, and b) the results aren’t immediate.

What is retinol?

Tretinoin is a prescription-only all-trans retinoic acid prescribed by dermatologists. In some countries, you can purchase it without a prescription. Alternatively, some places online sell it without prescription, but we would advise against that.

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A found in the body. There are several vitamin A derivatives: retinyl palmitate, retinyl retinoate, retinyl linoleate, etc. These are available in over-the-counter products and don’t need a prescription. But, don’t let that trick into thinking they are less potent and ineffective.
Your body doesn’t need to convert Tretinoin since it is retinoic acid. With vitamin A derivatives, the skin enzymes convert it into retinoic acid.

What does retinol do?

Retinol is a true multi-tasker and effectively tackles many skin concerns.

The benefits of retinol for the skin:
• increases cell turnover
• boosts collagen synthesis
• fades sun damage
• treats and prevents breakouts
• evens out the skin tone
• minimises the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
• antioxidant properties and protection against free radicals

How to pick the right retinol product for your skin

If you are new to retinol products, go for a lower percentage and give your skin the time to adjust. Limit use to a couple of times per week. Once your skin adapts, you can up the frequency of application and, ultimately, move to a higher percentage product.

If it is your first time using retinol, we recommend avoiding acids until your skin adjusts. Research shows that a combination of retinol and AHAs significantly improves its effectiveness, especially in treating sun damage. However, both retinol and AHAs are potent ingredients, and you don’t want to risk sensitivity, irritation, or disrupting the moisture barrier.
Retinol and vitamin C use the same pathways to affect the skin. Either leave a time gap between the two or apply the retinol product in the evening and vitamin C serum as a part of your morning routine.

Look at the delivery method, too. Our Bioactive Retinol serums use Rovisome technology to encapsulate the retinol molecule in a biocompatible membrane. That way, the molecule retains its potency for longer and reaches deeper layers of the skin for effective results.

How to apply retinol to the skin

• Cleanse your face as normal.
• Make sure your face is dry and apply a pea-size amount of your retinol serum. Damp skin can enable retinol to reach deeper into the skin, which can cause irritation for the first time users.
• Follow up with the rest of the steps in your routine.
• As a part of your morning routine, don’t forget to apply sunscreen.

Ishtar products with Retinol

1% and 2.5% Bioactive Retinol serums

Both of our Retinol serums use Rovisomes, a type of liposomes. They microencapsulate the retinol molecule in a phospholipid (lecithin) shell.
The formula features a hydrating base to soothe and hydrate the skin at the same time and minimise any potential retinol side-effects. It includes Prickly Pear extract, which has an abundance of polysaccharides to hydrate the skin. Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans hydrate the skin and minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Bear in mind – retinol use is a marathon, not a sprint. Non-prescription retinol might take longer to deliver results, but it is still an effective ingredient. Patience is a virtue, and it can take up to 12 weeks to see the results.

Single-ingredient products with high percentages are popular in the skincare community. But, more isn’t always better. We always advise going slowly and being persistent to avoid irritation and inflammation.

Roberta Striga