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R E T I N O L  

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Facial Cream

Retinol works  on many skin conditions like large pores, fine lines, wrinkles, acne, blemishes, pigmentation, laxity and dull or uneven skin tone. Using a retinol it can be very confusing.

Retinoids have many forms (natural and synthetically-derived), names (retinyl palmitate, retinol, retinal, tretinoin), and percentages or concentrations available.

How does retinol work

It regulates the process of keratinization of the epidermis, improves the color and structure of the skin, affects the repair of collagen, reduces the activity and size of the sebaceous glands, narrows the pores, smoothes and tones the skin. The effect of retinol is the elimination of fine wrinkles, reduction of discoloration, repair of sun damage to the skin, and what is important, these effects appear only with long-term, preferably long-term use, although the effect itself will be noticed after a few months of treatment.

Retinols sound amazing and a little scary. It's best to introduce retinol slowly into your skincare regime to avoid any irritation.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s skin reacts to vitamin A differently.

Go low and slow.  

How does retinol work in the skin


Retinol applied to the skin is mostly esterified to retinol palmitate, which is its reserve form stored in the liver. You must know that the active metabolite, i.e. retinoic acid, is very irritating. It acts only intracellularly, mainly inside the cell nucleus. Here, a rather complicated process of stimulating the appropriate DNA fragment takes place, which as a result improves the functioning of the skin. 


With retinols, you need to be very careful not to pick or pull at the skin. When you see that flaking skin , just be patient.

If you’re already using a light facial scrub three times per week, you might minimise it to one time  per week. Try including a retinol after your evening cleanse before applying your night cream. Always start your retinoids once per week, gradually increasing by one day each week. Give your skin time to response. 

Increased cell turnover means skin is more sensitive to outside factors, like the sun. SPF is a must-have when using retinols!

Any time you’re using a product that increases cell turnover, the skin is prone to sensitivity. Exposing to UV rays can increase the risk of hyperpigmentation. Only use retinols at night, and always apply sunscreen as part of your morning routine, and reapply often.

Mix with Caution

Some ingredients and products don’t work well together and can cause further irritation. Make sure to discuss with a Skin Specialist when starting a retinol to set your skin up for success.

I encourage clients to use vitamin C paired with SPF during the day, and a moderate retinol at night.

Combo you should skip

Retinol and benzoyl peroxide. Both ingredients are exfoliating and dry the skin out. This is specifically important for those with acneic skin types. Many people with acne tend to over exfoliate, but that actually causes more harm than good.

I recommend  pairing retinol with a hyaluronic acid to seal hydration in. It’s a good solve for when your skin is peeling.


Who cannot use retinol 


Pregnant and breastfeeding women. Women who are preparing for pregnancy cannot use it either. There must be an interval of at least 2 years.


Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to see results from retinol?

For most OTC retinols, it may take a few weeks of continued use to see results.

What are the benefits of using retinol?

Using retinol may help:

  treat mild acne 

  reduce some photodamage your skin has experienced           from time out in the sun

​  reduce signs of aging

  improve skin’s overall appearance

Can you put moisturizer over retinol?

Yes, you can. If you’re using a retinol product, your nightly routine should look something like this, 

  1. Wash your face.

  2. Dry your face ( make sure the skin is completely dry)

  3. Apply retinol.

  4. Wait a few minutes, then apply moisturizer.


Can retinol ruin your skin?

Most OTC retinol products are safe to use as directed, but there are some common side effects that can cause irritation in the short term. These side effects include:

  dry skin


  sensitivity to the sun

  an allergic reaction (rare)

To reduce the risk of irritation or allergic reaction, talk with a dermatologist about the specific OTC retinol brand you’re considering. They may have good insight. 

It’s also a good idea to do a “use test.” This is when you put a small amount of the product on your inner forearm for several days to make sure you don’t have a reaction prior to applying it all over your face

Is retinol on prescription better for me?

Prescription retinol is not necessarily better. Important things to know when choosing a retinol product:


Retinol products on prescription are more powerful and work faster. Retinol in cosmetic products takes longer to work, but does give the same results over time.

Prescription retinol increases the risk of skin irritation. 

Cosmetic products with retinol have a lower risk of skin irritation.


How to you use prescription retinol?

A prescribed retinol product (or retinoid) should be used in your evening skincare routine as follows:

   Use your cleanser, toner as you usually would.

   Then apply the prescribed product.

   Apply a serum and/or night cream.


More tips for using retinol or retinoid products:

Apply the prescribed retinoid product every other day to start with to allow your skin to get used to it. You also need to give your skin time to get accustomed to cosmetic products with a higher concentration of retinol.

Once your skin has got used to it and responds well, you can gradually increase the frequency to once a day, in the evening before going to bed.

If your skin becomes irritated (flaking, redness, sensitivity), then stop using multiple retinol products or reduce the frequency.



For best results, use retinol products with other skincare products that contain antioxidants, skin-repairing ingredients such as those containing niacinamide.


Never miss a day of applying a cream with a SPF 50

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