What is Retinol?

SkinTalks

Hey SkinTalks readers! We wanted to dedicate this SkinTalks blog to a very popular ingredient - retinol. Retinol is a skincare powerhouse that has garnered a lot of attention in recent years due to its remarkable benefits. In this blog, we'll dive deep into what exactly retinol is and shed light on the science behind its effectiveness. Whether you're a retinol newbie or a seasoned user, understanding the basics is key to making the most of this incredible skincare ingredient.


It is essential to use this ingredient properly to maximize its potential benefits while minimizing potential side effects like dryness or irritation. Which is why we will also walk you through the dos and don'ts when using retinol. In this blog we will also cover how to incorporate retinol into your skincare routine, including tips on frequency, application techniques, and what products to pair it with for the best results. 


Our goal is to simplify your skincare routine and empower you to make informed choices. So, whether you're considering adding retinol to your regimen or looking to refine your existing routine, stay tuned for our expert insights and guidance in this dedicated SkinTalks blog on retinol.


1. What is retinol and what does it do?


Let's talk about what retinol is exactly. Retinol is a form of vitamin A, when retinol is applied topically retinol offers a bunch of wonderful benefits like: 


1) Retinol aids in helping to combat the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, by helping the skin to product collagen in order to help keep the skin firm. This benefit is why retinol is widely reconsigned as an anti-aging sensation. 


2) Besides earning the title of anti-aging powerhouse, retinol also is a renowned acne treatment. Retinol helps to unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and aids in regulating sebum production. This leads to a clearer, smoother, less agitated complexion. 


3) Along with helping to treat acne, retinol also helps to reduce the appearance of pores. While it's impossible to make pores completely disappear; by deeply cleansing the pore and preventing them from becoming clogged retinol minimizes the appearance of pores. 


4) Another plus to using retinol is that it aids in evening out skin tone. By inhibiting the production of melanin it helps to fade dark spots, and hyperpigmentation. Which promotes a more even skin tone. 


5) The last point we're mentioning is that retinol helps to exfoliate the skin by increasing cell turnover. By removing the dead skin cells on the surface retinol can lead to a smoother, softer skin and improve the skin's texture. 


Source: Some By Mi - Retinol Intense Reactivating Serum


2. When to use retinol?


When adding retinol to your skin care routine it's best to build slowly, and start at lower percentage. Retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, which is why it's important to apply it at night before bed. This also coincides with the body's natural repair and regeneration processes that occur during sleep. Use only twice a week or less and then work up to using retinol more frequently.


Remember consistency is key, when you start incorporating retinol, try to stay on a consistent schedule. Otherwise, the skin's progress will either be delayed or ineffective. 


3. What ingredients to not use with retinol


It's super important to be mindful of what ingredients do not work with retinol. Instead, it's best to use these products in different routines (am vs pm) or alternate which days you use them. This will ensure your skin will not be overwhelmed, and that you are using retinol to its full potential. 


Acids: AHAs, BHAs

AHAs like glycolic acid and BHAs like salicylic acid are exfoliants that can enhance cell turnover. And while they can be beneficial for skin, using them simultaneously with retinol can increase the risk of irritation. If you want to use both, it's best to alternate them on different nights or use them in separate morning and evening routines. Some common acids that should not be used with retinol are:

 Salicylic Acid

 Citric Acid

 Mandelic Acid

 Glycolic Acid

 Capryloyl Salicylic Acid 

 Malic Acid

 Tartaric Acid

• Lactic Acid

3. What ingredients to not use with retinol


It's super important to be mindful of what ingredients do not work with retinol. Instead, it's best to use these products in different routines (am vs pm) or alternate which days you use them. This will ensure your skin will not be overwhelmed, and that you are using retinol to its full potential. 


Acids: AHAs, BHAs

AHAs like glycolic acid and BHAs like salicylic acid are exfoliants that can enhance cell turnover. And while they can be beneficial for skin, using them simultaneously with retinol can increase the risk of irritation. If you want to use both, it's best to alternate them on different nights or use them in separate morning and evening routines. Some common acids that should not be used with retinol are:

 Salicylic Acid

 Citric Acid

 Mandelic Acid

 Glycolic Acid

 Capryloyl Salicylic Acid 

 Malic Acid

 Tartaric Acid

• Lactic Acid

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a versatile powerhouse in the world of skincare. Beyond its well-known role in supporting the immune system, vitamin C plays a vital role in promoting skin health. This potent antioxidant helps protect the skin from environmental stressors like pollution and UV radiation, which can lead to premature aging and dullness. 


Vitamin C is also a key player in collagen production, aiding in the maintenance of skin's elasticity and suppleness, while its brightening properties help fade hyperpigmentation and promote a more even skin tone. By promoting skin's natural regeneration processes and defending against free radicals, vitamin C transforms your complexion, leaving it radiant, firm, and beautifully resilient.


Why to avoid combining vitamin C and retinol together?

1) Retinol is an exfoliating ingredient that can make your skin more sensitive, while vitamin C is known for its antioxidant properties and acidic nature. Combining these two ingredients can overwhelm your skin, leading to redness, dryness, and peeling.


2) Another reason to be cautious when combining retinol and vitamin C is the difference in pH levels. Retinol works best in a slightly acidic environment, while vitamin C requires a lower pH to be effective.


3) Both retinol and vitamin C can make your skin more susceptible to the harmful effects of UV radiation. Using them together increases this risk, especially if you don't apply adequate sunscreen protection daily. 


Instead of using these two ingredients together, it's best to use vitamin C during your morning routine and retinol at night.


Strong acne medication

Using retinol alongside certain acne medications can be problematic because both retinol and some acne medications can be harsh on the skin and increase the risk of irritation. For example:


Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl Peroxide is a topical medication commonly used in skincare products to treat acne. It functions by penetrating the skin and releasing oxygen, which helps to kill the bacteria associated with acne and reduce inflammation. Additionally, it accelerates the shedding of dead skin cells, preventing them from clogging pores. 


While Benzoyl Peroxide is effective in addressing acne concerns, it should not be used concurrently with retinol-based products due to the potential for increased skin sensitivity and irritation. Both ingredients can individually cause dryness and peeling, and their combination can exacerbate these side effects, leading to discomfort and potential damage to the skin's moisture barrier. Other common names Benzoyl Peroxide can go by are:

 Benzac

 Peroxide

 Acanya

 Brevoxyl


Accutane/Isotretinoin

Accutane is a form of vitamin A. It reduces the amount of oil released by oil glands in your skin, and helps your skin renew itself more quickly. Accutane is used to treat severe nodular acne that has not responded to other treatments, including antibiotics. 

Mayble you didn't know but retinal is Vitamin A. The use of retinol during your course of treatment is not recommended. This is due to the fact that Accutane can make your skin very dry, thin & more sensitive. 

Physical Exfoliants

Like chemical exfoliants (AHAs and BHAs) physical exfoliants work to exfoliate the skin. A physical exfoliator is a skincare product or tool that uses abrasive particles or materials to physically remove dead skin cells and impurities from the surface of the skin. These exfoliants work by manually scrubbing or buffing away the outermost layer of dead skin cells, which can help improve the skin's texture, appearance, and overall clarity.


Physical exfoliators typically contain small, gritty particles that, when massaged onto the skin, dislodge and lift away dead skin cells, excess oil, and other debris. This process can leave the skin feeling smoother, softer, and looking more radiant. Physical exfoliators are often used to address issues like dullness, roughness, and clogged pores.


Why no to combine physical exfoliants and retinol

Scrubs, brushes, or abrasive cleansing tools can be too harsh when used alongside retinol, potentially causing excessive irritation and peeling. Gentle exfoliation, if needed, should be done on retinol-free days.


Products that contain a high percentage of alcohol

When you use retinol it is very important to not use a lot of products with alcohol in the same routine. If you combine these ingredients it can cause a damaged skin barrier, irritated skin, or it can lead to an increase in bumps and enlarged pores.


4. What ingredients can be combined with retinol?

Niacinamide

Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, stands out as a cherished ingredient renowned for its compatibility with various skincare actives, and retinol is certainly no exception. If your skincare objectives revolve around combating the signs of aging and addressing acne concerns, niacinamide emerges as an excellent companion for retinol. Furthermore, niacinamide's ability to enhance skin barrier function contributes to minimizing the potential for irritation associated with retinol usage.


Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a potent humectant renowned for its ability to boost skin moisture by attracting water from the surrounding environment into the skin. When combined with other hydrating agents, such as glycerin, HA can play a vital role in your skincare routine, especially when using retinol. By integrating HA into your regimen alongside retinol, you can effectively mitigate issues like dryness, flaking, redness, and irritation, ensuring a more comfortable and nourishing skincare experience.


Peptides and Ceramides

You can mix skin barrier supporting ingredients like peptides and ceramides with your retinol routine. These goodies help your skin hold onto its moisture, which means you'll be less likely to experience the annoying dryness and irritation that sometimes comes with using retinol. 

4. What ingredients can be combind with retinol?

Niacinamide

Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, stands out as a cherished ingredient renowned for its compatibility with various skincare actives, and retinol is certainly no exception. If your skincare objectives revolve around combating the signs of aging and addressing acne concerns, niacinamide emerges as an excellent companion for retinol. Furthermore, niacinamide's ability to enhance skin barrier function contributes to minimizing the potential for irritation associated with retinol usage.


Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a potent humectant renowned for its ability to boost skin moisture by attracting water from the surrounding environment into the skin. When combined with other hydrating agents, such as glycerin, HA can play a vital role in your skincare routine, especially when using retinol. By integrating HA into your regimen alongside retinol, you can effectively mitigate issues like dryness, flaking, redness, and irritation, ensuring a more comfortable and nourishing skincare experience.


Peptides and Ceramides

You can mix skin barrier supporting ingredients like peptides and ceramides with your retinol routine. These goodies help your skin hold onto its moisture, which means you'll be less likely to experience the annoying dryness and irritation that sometimes comes with using retinol. 


5. How to use retinol with other ingredients

Source: TOCOBO - Collagen Brightening Eye Gel Cream

5. How to use retinol with other ingredients

Here's a diverse selection of ingredients that can complement your retinol in your skincare regimen. Remember that skin sensitivities vary from person to person, so it's essential to consider your specific skin type and skincare objectives when combining these components. If a particular pairing doesn't suit your skin, no need to fret; there are plenty of other combinations to explore!


Whether you are contemplating the incorporation of retinol into your existing skincare regimen for the first time or seeking to optimize your anti-aging routine with an ideal combination of ingredients, it is imperative to acknowledge that the efficacy of such combinations is contingent upon factors like formulation, dosages, and proper application. Careful consideration of these elements is essential for achieving optimal results.


Results also come with consistency, so once your skin has built up tolerance for retinol, it’s important to stick to your routine and use it nightly. Do not use it in the daytime as ultraviolet rays from the sun can inactivate retinols.


You don't have to bid farewell to other skincare ingredients like vitamin C, AHAs, and BHAs just because you're embracing retinol. However, the secret here is timing. You can either opt for a divide-and-conquer strategy, like using vitamin C during the day and retinol at night, or, in the case of chemical peels, reserve them for those nights when you're giving retinol a little break. 

Source: TOCOBO - Collagen Brightening Eye Gel Cream

Here's a diverse selection of ingredients that can complement your retinol in your skincare regimen. Remember that skin sensitivities vary from person to person, so it's essential to consider your specific skin type and skincare objectives when combining these components. If a particular pairing doesn't suit your skin, no need to fret; there are plenty of other combinations to explore!


Whether you are contemplating the incorporation of retinol into your existing skincare regimen for the first time or seeking to optimize your anti-aging routine with an ideal combination of ingredients, it is imperative to acknowledge that the efficacy of such combinations is contingent upon factors like formulation, dosages, and proper application. Careful consideration of these elements is essential for achieving optimal results.


Results also come with consistency, so once your skin has built up tolerance for retinol, it’s important to stick to your routine and use it nightly. Do not use it in the daytime as ultraviolet rays from the sun can inactivate retinols.


You don't have to bid farewell to other skincare ingredients like vitamin C, AHAs, and BHAs just because you're embracing retinol. However, the secret here is timing. You can either opt for a divide-and-conquer strategy, like using vitamin C during the day and retinol at night, or, in the case of chemical peels, reserve them for those nights when you're giving retinol a little break. 


6. Get ready to incorporate retinol into your routine with these must-haves:

Retinol is a powerful and proven ingredient that can work wonders for your skin when used correctly. It can help with a range of skin concerns, from acne to fine lines and wrinkles, and even skin texture and tone. However, it's essential to introduce it into your skincare routine gradually, monitor your skin's response, and always use sunscreen during the day to protect your skin from increased sensitivity to the sun.


Remember that consistency is key with retinol, and results may take some time to become noticeable. Go ahead and embrace the benefits of retinol, but do so wisely and patiently, and you'll likely see your skin transform for the better over time. And whenever you might feel confused about products or have questions, the KS team is always here to help.


Take care and until next time. 


Love, 

KS Team



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