What is retinol
What is retinol


Best retinol creams and serums

Knowing how to find the best retinol serums and retinol creams certainly isn’t the easiest of tasks. It doesn’t help that they’re not the most affordable skincare products to begin with, so testing them for yourself can be a bit of a challenge. On top of that, once you do get your hands on one that suits you, you’ll need to be very careful with how you use it as part of your routine so as not to end up damaging your skin instead of revitalizing it.

We are entering a new season so it’s the perfect time to start off on your personal journey to find which of the best retinol serums is right for you. And at the end of the day, everyone’s skin is completely and utterly unique, so what works for others may not work for you as an individual.

Retinol, along with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, was among some of the most searched for skincare ingredients in the past year. Which suggests that many others are still in the process of working out the kinks too. Despite its growing popularity, not enough people can confidently say they know when and how to start using retinol serums as part of their skincare routines. If this sounds familiar, we’ve got just the answers for you.

What is retinol and what does retinol serum do?

Retinol is a common type of retinoids, an ingredient derived from vitamin A (which is why retinol is sometimes referred to as vitamin A1). While there are many different forms of retinoids with varying levels of strength, retinol is considered to be a more mild form that’s often included in skincare serums as an active ingredient to treat acne, brighten dull skin, reverse dark spots and prevent wrinkles.

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What makes retinol so special? Well, the way it works is by penetrating the outermost layer of your skin and increasing the production of collagen and promoting faster skin regeneration, which can often help with acne and clogged pores. However, it’s a very potent ingredient and should be implemented carefully as part of a skincare routine. But don’t let that put you off.

Sadaf Jafari, a celebrity skin expert and Consultant Aesthetician, describes retinol serums as “a stepping stone to acne scar treatment. A retinol serum will resurface and rejuvenate your skin, as well as reduce fine lines and break down pigmentation.”

So, where to start?

When should you use retinol serums?

Although everyone is free to use retinol serum, figuring out how to make it work is an entirely different question. 30 has long been considered the age for introducing retinol as part of a skincare regimen, though many people are choosing to do so earlier rather than later. In other words, there’s no particular rule as to when you can and should start using retinol serum, so feel free to start using it if you’re approaching your mid-20s and feel as though you’d benefit from it.

Can you use a retinol serum every day?

According to Sadaf, whether or not you can use retinol serum as part of a daily routine depends on the individual’s skin quality and the percentage of retinol.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that retinol is a very potent ingredient that can cause irritation, redness and dryness when applied to sensitive areas or in too high of a dose. Beginners should always introduce low percentage retinol serum into their regimen and then gradually build up to a higher strength. For people with non-sensitive skin, a strength of 0.05% is a good starting point, while those with sensitive skin should kick things off with a lower percentage.

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Sadaf says, “retinol should also only be used at night and it is very important for you to use SPF the day after to protect the skin, as retinol makes the skin more sensitive to sun damage.”

Which retinol serum is best?

Dr. Wasim Takeout, Dermatologist and Medical Director of Taktouk Clinic in Knightsbridge, London, recommends REN’s Bio-Retinoid Youth Serum. “It’s an effective retinol alternative for those who are sensitive, pregnant or planning, or who face frequent sun exposure. It uses a plant chemical called phytanic acid that behaves like a retinol but isn’t within the vitamin A family,” he says.

For Sadaf Jafari, it’s got to be Obaid Retinol 1.0. “This is a prescription brand but they only offer 1% retinol, so it’s not suitable for first time users unless under the supervision of a qualified skin care professional,” she says. “My second choice would be the SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 Corrective Treatment, though.”

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