Retinol, also known as vitamin A, has been used in skincare products since the 1960s. Although not entirely understood by scientists, retinol has the ability to stimulate cellular activity and promote collagen production, giving you firmer, tighter and more youthful-looking skin with regular use. The science behind how retinol accomplishes this is fascinating, but the real question is this: Which are the best retinol products on the market and why and how should you use them? We’ll take a look at five of our favourites below so you can find one that’s right for you!

1)What does retinol do for your skin?

Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that stimulates cell growth and is used to treat acne, acne scars, enlarged pores, fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also known to lighten dark spots and reduce skin discolorations like freckles and sun damage. In addition to making your skin look younger, retinol can actually improve its structure. It helps promote collagen production in your body, which makes it easier for your skin to bounce back from trauma or stressors—which will keep you looking young longer. You might have heard of hyaluronic acid (HA) as one of those skincare ingredients that everyone loves but not many people understand. HA is naturally found in our bodies, where it acts as a lubricant between cells and plays an important role in tissue repair. As we age, however, our bodies produce less HA—and when our supply runs low, we start to notice signs of aging on our skin. Retinol actually stimulates our natural and internal production of hyaluronic acid keeping it looking youthful, soft and moisturised.

2) How much retinol do I use?

How much retinol you apply will depend on the instructions given by the manufacturer. Some products, like Olay’s Regenerist Night Recovery Cream, have instructions to apply once a day at night (it has .5 percent retinol). However, the retinol concentration in Vichy’s LiftActiv Serum 10 Supreme is 10 times stronger (at 2 percent), so you only need to use it twice a week. If you don’t know how much retinol to use, start with a pea-size amount and work your way up if needed. Less is more with Retinol.

3) What age should you start using retinol

The best time to begin using retinol is at age 30. That’s when wrinkles typically start to appear and when your skin starts its natural process of slowing down cell turnover. It takes about three months for skin to typically respond well to treatments, so it’s best to start as soon as you feel the need. Sometimes you may be prescribed retinol for skin conditions such as acne in which case your GP will give you guidance for your particular needs.

4) What Retinol Products are best? Creams or Serums?

There are several ways to take care of your skin. Some women prefer to use creams, others prefer serums. Whatever works best for you is fine as long as it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that will aggravate your skin. The main difference between creams and serums is their consistency. Creams tend to be thicker and more moisturizing than serums, which can make them a better choice for dry or aging skin. Serum tends to be thinner and penetrates deeper into your pores so they may be a better option if you have oily or acne-prone skin.

Our Top 5 Retinol Products

  1. La Roche-Posay Retinol 0.3% + Vitamin B3 Serum –
  2. The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane
  3. Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Booster
  4. Institut Esthederm Intensive Retinol Face Serum
  5. Lixir Night Switch Retinol 1%
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