Know Your Beauty Ingredient: Retinol

You seen it, you’ve read it, you’ve used it, but you have no idea what it is, right? We’re talking about Retinol. We’re all familiar with the name. It is after all the most sought-after ingredient in beauty products. If you are scanning beauty counters for the best products for your skin, then Retinol is your best bet. We say, get it all in Retinol.

Though Retinol may sound straight from a chemistry book, it is one of your best guards to maintain a fine-looking complexion. It has been steading taking over the popularity chart and has been toured to be the gold-standard ingredient in skincare as it resurrects aging skin and works well on acne too.

So, what is retinol?

Retinol is a variant of Retinoid, which itself is an essential compound derived from Vitamin A.  Vitamin A, as we know, is one of the important nutrients to boost the regeneration of skin cells. Retinoids from which we get our derivative Retinol, cover both, O-T-C Retinoid-based products as well as prescription-based Retinoids. Skincare products which promote skin renewal and radiant skin tone contain Retinol.

How does it work?

Retinol, a molecule, penetrates a deeper layer of the skin to enhance cell rejuvenation. It also helps to prevent the breakdown of Collagen. Collagen is an essential protein that gives our skin its elasticity and keeps it youthful. Retinol also helps plump the skin that helps prevent fine lines, wrinkles and enlarged pores.

Benefits of retinol

Dermatologists are now going by the promise of this powerful compound. It is rapidly becoming one of the favoured skincare ingredients and a go-to complexion-boosting active ingredient that is mainly used to treat aging skin.

It fights the signs of aging

Retinol is a wonder ingredient that facilitates the production of collagen thus softening wrinkles and fine lines. It also helps in fading age spots and rough patches on the skin. Moreover, it also stimulates blood vessels that lend a healthy, natural blush to the skin.

BB Picks – Minimalist Retinol 0.3% + Q10 Face Serum

An anti-aging face serum with 0.3% Retinol. Combined with antioxidants and Vitamin E, this product is potent enough to give you the skin you want. Moreover, this product uses Squalene instead of water as a based ingredient since Retinol oxidizes in the presence of water or light. Hence, the serum comes in a UV Protective bottle. Both men and women can use it.

It helps reduce acne

Retinol is made up of micro-molecules. These molecules can plough through the outer layer of our skin (the epidermis) and reach the dermis. It is at the dermis that all activity of your skin like fine lines, acne flare-ups, blemishes and such begin to appear. Retinol thus opens up pores and helps the skin repair and rejuvenate itself.

BB Picks – WOW Skin Science Retinol Face Serum

This amazing product not only hydrates and rejuvenates the skin but also minimizes fine lines by enhancing collagen and elastin synthesis. It clears up acne and breakouts, and also smoothens scars and pits. Infused with Retinol, this serum has Aloe Extract, Jojoba Oil, EFA and Minerals along with Vitamins B3 and E that nourishes the skin.

It boosts collagen and elastin production

Retinol also boosts the synthesis of Elastin and Collagen. This synthesis makes the skin look fuller out and youthful. It also reduces the effects of fine lines, enlarged pores, pigmentation, and scarring because of blemishes. While Retinol improves the texture of the skin, it cannot be used to treat severe acne and inflammation. Retinol acts as an antioxidant which helps neutralize free radicals that accelerate aging.

BB Picks – St Botanica Hyaluronic Acid 1.5% Face Serum + Retinol 2.5% + Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum

St Botanica’s Retinol face serum works like an anti-aging product. The product contains 1.5% plant-based Hyaluronic Acid and 2.5% Retinol that is easily absorbed and brightens skin.  Additionally, it contains Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Jojoba Oil, Aloe and other enriching extracts to prevent premature aging. The product is paraben-free and does not contain any harmful chemicals and it suits all skin type.

Retinol and usage

Start early

Many women in their 30s rush to buy Retinol-based products at the first sign of fine lines. However, there is a universe of women who do not wait till they hit that age. Mid-twenties is the new 30s to begin using Retinol.

Use daily

For best results, use your retinol-based skin care product daily. And remember, apply it after a while after washing your face.  However, if you are just introducing Retinol into your skincare regime, begin with a small amount of and then amp it up. Retinol can be irritating especially on sensitive skin or if you are undergoing a skin treatment, in which case you should consult your dermatologist.

Avoid while exfoliating

Another point to note is that you should skip using your Retinol product a day before you exfoliate your skin. The process of exfoliation is harsh. It is, therefore, best not to add to your fragile skin’s irritation.

Use at night

Retinol reacts with UV rays hence it is best to apply Retinol at bedtime. Exposure to the sun can worsen the drying and irritating effects of Retinol. If you are going to be in the sun for a long time or going to a location which climatically hot, be wary of using Retinol. You are better off using a sunscreen.

BB Picks – Himalayan Organics Retinol Night Cream

This works best on fine lines and dark spots. Powered by Hyaluronic Acid, this cream is suitable for both women and men. This power-packed cream helps repair skin damage anywhere on the body, face and neck for youthful skin.

Another reason why it is advised to use Retinol at night is because our skin naturally repairs itself when we sleep, earning the title of the well-deserved ‘beauty sleep’. Using Retinol-based products helps it even more.

BB Picks – Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturiser

Combined with Niacinamide, this amazing product hydrates skin and gives it a smooth even tone. It is fragrance-free and is to be used at night.

The other side of retinol

While Retinol has a host of benefits and a heavy lit of pros, it does come with a flipside, like most good things.

Retinol can cause tightening of the skin, dry and itchy skin, and redness. Hence, use retinol every alternate night or so before increasing the usage. If you experience severe side effects such as flare-ups of acne or eczema, flaking of the skin, burning, discolouration of the skin and so on, do visit your dermatologist.

If you are undergoing special skin treatments like Microdermabrasion or Laser, then it is wise to halt using Retinol for a while.

Retinol is slowly changing the skincare game. A star-ingredient no less, Retinol has achieved a celebrity status. It is indeed the magic potion we all need. So buy it, try it and transform your skin woes to skin wows. Be good to your skin. Give it a Retinol-boost and watch it glow with pride.

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