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How Much Do You Know About Retinol?


With endless products on the market claiming to prevent and minimize your facial lines and wrinkles, it can be difficult to decide which ones to try (and place your trust in). That said, it would be hard to find a skincare professional who wouldn’t have great things to say about retinol. It’s one of the few ingredients on the market that has been proven to actually work! And not only can it fight aging skin, but it can also help clear up pesky acne.

That said, you wouldn’t want to put it it to your skin without being educated as to how to apply it, how often, or if you have a skin condition that wouldn’t agree with it. People who suffer from psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea, for example, would not be good candidates. Retinol could lead to further inflammation and worsen symptoms. You also would not want to mix benzoyl peroxide, AHA’s, or BHA’s with retinoids, as this can compromise your skin and cause irritation.

What does retinol do?

Retinol exfoliates, helps produce collagen, and fights against free radicals. There is a myth that it makes your skin thinner, but it actually makes skin thicker, increasing cell turnover and collagen production. This results in more youthful-looking skin.

When should it be applied?

Retinol should be applied before bed, after you cleanse your face. It actually breaks down in sunlight, which is why you’ll notice that retinol products come in opaque packaging. Retinol can also make you more sensitive to the sun, which is why it is crucial to wear sunscreen daily. You’ll also want to apply a moisturizer after to seal it in and keep your skin more hydrated. Ideally, you would wait about half an hour before applying the moisturizer on top.

How much do I need to use?

A pea-sized amount is adequate. Think “less is more”.

How often should I use it?

To begin with, you may only want to use it once or twice a week at the most, as your skin will have to get used to it and develop a tolerance. Too much at once, and you’ll experience a lot of redness and flaking. There is also research which suggests that cell turnover in no longer increased after three months of retinol usage, so it is recommended to use for three months, then take a three month break. Ideally, you would time it so that your three month break is over the summer months.

What is the difference between Retinol, Retin-A, and Retinoid?

  • Retin-A is a prescription level retinoid, stronger in nature, that is used for acne as well as anti-aging.
  • Retinol is the over-the-counter version of Retin-A, which becomes the active Retinoic Acid when it is applied to the skin.
  • Retinoids are the family that Retin-A, Retinol & Retinoic Acid belong to. A chemical compound of Vitamin A.

How do I know which product to buy?

Medical-grade products are recommended. Consult with a skincare representative or a dermatologist if you have any questions about retinol and your skin type. They’ll also be able to explain the differences between brands. It is also a good idea to Google different products and check out the reviews from verified buyers. It’s important to note that just because a product has retinol, not all products are created equal.

Do you have more questions about retinol and your skin care? We can help! Give us a call at New England Oral & Cosmetic Facial Surgery, located in Surrey, BC: 604-507-0514.



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