Retinoids, the term for all vitamin-A derivatives (including Retinol, which we’ll be talking about in a minute), are amazing for your skin. Not only do retinoids treat acne, but they also brighten skin tone, fade dark spots and reverse the signs of ageing.
Until your early 30s, your skin cells regenerate every 28 days to create a fresh layer of untouched, smooth skin. From then onwards, cell regeneration slows down to every 50, 60 and eventually 70 days. As cell regeneration slows, your skin can become dry-looking, dull, and wrinkled.
Retinoids speed up cell regeneration, leading to fresher, smoother skin. The resulting increase in cell regeneration also increases collagen and elastin production; plumping up your skin, clearing and shrinking pores and fading dark spots and redness.
Retinoids sink into the skin and work on a cellular level so they're able to deeply resurface your skin, transforming your complexion over time.
But (although it’s only a small ‘but’), you won’t see results overnight. It can take at least three months of consistent retinoids application to notice a reduction in fine lines, dark spots, and acne.
What is Retinol?
Retinol is a mild type of Retinoid. Generally speaking, when we talk about Retinol products we’re talking about gentle, ‘over-the-counter’ type of products. Meanwhile, Retinoids are generally stronger, prescription-only treatments.
An over-the-counter anti-ageing formula will usually incorporate retinyl palmitate or Retinol – Retinol is slightly stronger.
If you’re looking for a Retinoid treatment for your skin, we recommend finding a product that uses a ‘Liposomal’ delivery system because it ensures the skin absorbs the nutrients.
What’s a liposome?
Well, a liposome is a tiny bubble made out of the same material as a cell membrane. So, Liposomal Retinol is essentially vitamin A inside a tiny membrane bubble. This allows it to be better absorbed into the skin without surface reaction.
Other types of Retinoid include the stronger ‘Retinaldehyde’ or ‘Adapalene’ - the strongest over-the-counter Retinoid treatment, formulated to treat acne.
Ideally, you’d have a consultation to explore the most suitable Retinoid treatment for your skin type.
Meanwhile, we would generally recommend:
For sensitive skin, Retinyl Palmitate.
For normal skin, Retinol or Retinaldehyde.
For oily, acne-prone skin, Adapalene
With any of the above treatments, it’s important to not use too much - just a pea-sized drop of serum or a thin layer of moisturiser is sufficient for one application.
What’s the best way to use Retinoids?
Retinoids cause the skin to accelerate new cell production, so it’s common to experience a few weeks of flakiness or dryness. This will pass when your skin gets past the adjustment period.
Luckily, there are things you can do to mitigate these effects. Firstly, choose a gentle formula (Retinyl Palmitate or Retinol) to start gently. Secondly, don’t start lathering your face with Retinol to speed up the process—you’ll only end up hurting your skin. Instead, just use a small amount on clean, dry skin at night.
If your Retinoid is a night cream, use enough to cover your face in a thin layer.
If your Retinoid is a serum:
Apply a pea-size drop over the entire face
Wait 20 minutes for it to absorb
Apply your usual serums and moisturisers on top