Maneuvering in this flood of products and ingredients nowadays is so difficult and time-consuming. Ain't nobody got time for that. What works and what doesn't? What does a particular ingredient do? Let us take that off your mind. Use the #glossary tag in the search bar and you'll get explanations of how specific ingredients work, how to use them, and (best of all) product recommendations. Life just got a little easier.
Retinoids have been proven to be one of the best anti-aging ingredients in the cosmetic market since the middle of the last century. Interestingly, tretinoin (a subtype of retinoids) was originally not intended as an anti-aging agent but as a cure for acne! And a very successful one. A few years later, they found that tretinoin users were aging extremely well. Hah! Two-in-one effect, you might say. The most famous of retinoids is retinol, which in smaller concentrations can also be found in everyday cosmetics. However, for more complicated cases of acne and higher retinol concentrations you'll need to visit a dermatologist. Descending into slightly more scientific waters, retinol is in its simplest sense, an antioxidant derivative of vitamin A. This means that it interrupts the cellular damage process that occurs during oxidation, where free radicals are released. Hence the name antioxidant. This powerful ingredient accelerates the repair of cells that are already damaged and helps to prevent from any further damage. It also stimulates collagen production in cells. Let's go to something more tangible since that is what you've been waiting for. When used regularly, retinoids promise (and continue to deliver on that promise) improvement in skin texture and signs of aging, sun damage, visible reduction of pores, acne and blackheads. Almost too good to be true.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR?
As with any stronger ingredient, you should start gradually. The same goes for pre-existing users who are switching from weaker concentrations to stronger ones. Instead of using retinol daily, start using it 2-3x a week. After about three weeks, gradually add in the days. Skin needs its time to get used to a particular ingredient. The irritation is therefore completely normal. Redness, slight peeling of the skin and pimples can occur. Again, this is a perfectly normal reaction. It is important not to give up during this time, but to persist for at least 3-4 weeks. It should get better after that time. And it's really worth it! In case of excessive irritation, discontinue use immediately. Another thing to look out for is packaging. Only buy the product if the package protects the contents from air and sunlight (tinted bottles). This means that the products in jars are no-go because they you open them to frequently and dip in your bacteria filled fingers. Let's face it, we all know this is true.
HOW TO USE?
There are many variants of products containing retinoids. They can be in the form of serum, oil mixture or cream. Choosing the right version is up to you. If you want something to add to your pre-existing routine, buy a serum and layer it under your regular cream. In case you do not like to deal with the extra serum, you should consider a day or night cream with vitamin A already added. The exact instructions for using retinoids are difficult to talk about because of the many variations. It is best to read the instructions carefully and go from there. Of course, there are a few general guidelines that are good to follow. If you are a beginner, keep the concentration of retinol in your product as low as possible. Everything from 0.01% to 0.04% is quite good for achieving visible results. But skin irritation can occur even at such a small dosage, especially if your skin is sensitive. In this case, start introducing the product only 2x to 3x a week and not daily. You can also try using a retinoid after applying your cream to reduce absorption. With stronger potions, wait until the skin becomes accustomed. Medium strength blends from 0.04% to 0.1% will help you fight deeper wrinkles, uneven skin tone, loss of firmness, etc. The introductory period of one month also applies here. If you are already more advanced or more demanding in your skincare routine, use concentrations between 0.5% and 1%. These will show the most drastic results in the shortest time. The most important thing when using retinoids is SPF. No debate! Your skin is more sensitive and exposed than usual. At the same time, it's contradictory to fight sun damage and forget about basic sun protection. Concomitant use of Vitamin C or AHA/BHA acids is completely okay if your skin used of it. If not, use them on different days or times of day. Vitamin C in the morning, retinol in the evening, SPF essential! The last thing to keep in mind is this. One ingredient cannot solve all your problems. Rather use a cocktail of different ingredients. The combination of retinol, peptides and hyaluronic acid is the most optimal in fighting signs of ageing.
WHAT TO INVEST IN?
Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment
We love Paula Begoun, owner of Paula's Choice, for two reasons. The first is that its products are really good and don't even cost a fortune. Secondly, she's also known for being one of the few experts in the cosmetics industry who speaks the truth and supports it by citing independent scientific research. Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment is one of their most popular products.
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5%
On Deciem's website, the retinoid in question is referred to as a milder but extremely effective version of retinoids. Highly recommended for anyone who has no previous experience with retinol and wants to avoid excessive irritation. Sensitive skin too! The serum goes on and layers nicely, or can be used as a finishing touch in your evening routine. And all this for a price that no one in the market can compete with. You really don't risk anything for those few euros.
Carrot Seed Oil
A vegan and natural alternative to retinoids. We would be lying if we said you could expect the same results as with retinol. Unfortunately, it won't work as good. Still, it is absolutely worth giving a chance. Carrot seed oil is an excellent antioxidant that is supposed to soothe sensitive skin at the same time. As with all natural products, you will need to be a little more patient with the results.
Differin, A313 and the like
All well- known and highly effective acne ointments that you will not be able to get without a prescription. They are included in this list for information purposes. In case of persistent acne, you can mention this option to your dermatologist. This is also goes for anyone who'd like to attack their wrinkles with the most powerful weapons. Be kind to your dermatologist and he will be kind to you.
- for all skin types (treat sensitive skin a little more carefully and start with less concentration)
- fights aging and the harmful effects of the environment
- participates in the formation of collagen in the skin
- combine it with peptides, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, niacinamide, etc for an extra kick
- it should be properly packed (dark bottle, best with a pump)
- use vitamin C and AHA/BHA acids in opposite parts of the day
- start slowly, only 2 to 3x a week
- evening application is best
- daily use of SPF is a must!