How to Introduce Retinol Into Your Routine

Aging – one thing in the world that does not discriminate. Growing older should be embraced with gusto. But (vain as that sounds) we have no intention to go gentle into that good night looking like a leather handbag that was left in the sun for too long. As we grow older the state of our skin is influenced by a number of factors – genetics, lifestyle choices and hormones (to name a few). Luckily there is one skincare ingredient that has been scientifically proven to help diminish those pesky lines and wrinkles. Retinol.

To settle any confusion – there is a difference between retinol and tretinoin (also known by its brand name Retin-A). Tretinoin (all-trans retinoic acid) can only be prescribed by a dermatologist. It might be tempting to try and purchase tretinoin online and without prescription, but we would advise against it.

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that can be found in the body. Retinol and other derivatives of vitamin A (such as retinyl palmitate or retinyl linoleate) are used in most over-the-counter products. The main difference between the two is that retinol needs to be converted by your skin enzymes into retinoic acid. With tretinoin no conversion is needed.

Both retinol and tretinoin have the same end result – they boost collagen production, speed up cell turnover, diminish fine line and wrinkles, fade sun damage, increase firmness of the skin, even out the skin tone and reduce acne. It just takes longer to see the results with retinol.

How do you introduce a retinol product into your skincare routine? Slowly and gradually, especially if you haven’t used a retinol product before. Apply the product every third or fourth night, see how your skin handles it, then up the frequency. Common things you might experience are some gentle tingling and redness upon application together with increased dryness or peeling. All of these should subside once your skin gets adjusted to the product.

When choosing a retinol product look at the other ingredients included in the formula. You want a formula that contains other anti-oxidants as well as soothing ingredients. Our Bioactive 1% Retinol Serum is a light water based serum that contains organic Aloe Vera, vitamin E, organic Green Tea extract and Propolis. Our Bioactive 2.5% Retinol Cream contains a high percentage of retinol in a soothing organic Aloe Vera base. It also includes Shea Butter and vitamins B5 and E. If in doubt always go with a lower percentage retinol formula to give your skin time to adjust, you can always move on to a stronger product.

There is a common myth that you cannot use retinol alongside Alpha Hydroxy Acids. Research shows that the two used in routine can effectively treat sun-damaged skin. If you use Alpha Hydroxy Acids in your skincare routine we would recommend to wait between 20 and 30 minutes before applying retinol.

In terms of application – if you tend to be heavy handed with products, with retinol there is no need. One to two pumps of the product should be enough to cover your whole face.

The key to retinol is patience. Most of us are used to instant gratification when it comes to skincare products. It does not work that way with retinol. It is a powerful ingredient, but it should take between 8 and 12 weeks to see significant results.

Do you use a retinol product? How long did it take you to see results?