Ever feel like there’s a new beauty ingredient you can’t stop seeing and hearing about? That all of the sudden, it’s in every product and all over your Instagram feed? This is what our Beauty Buzzwords series is all about – helping you learn more about these mysterious ingredients and why everyone is raving about them.
Today we’re talking about the queen of anti-aging skin care, one of the best-known wrinkle fighting ingredients out there, retinol.
What is it?
Simply put, retinol is the technical name for vitamin A, an ingredient that promotes skin renewal and enhances collagen production. The first retinoid cream was created over 40 years ago as a prescription acne medication, so it’s been used as skincare for quite a while!
What are the benefits?
It does a whole lot, including reducing fine lines and pore size, and improving skin tone and texture by increasing skin cell turnover. Using a retinol will also result in brighter and plumper-looking skin.
Who should be using it?
Retinol is most effective for 30+ year-old skin and for those with concerns of fine lines; you can certainly start using it at a younger age if you want to, but don’t expect to see as much of an impact. The only people who really should avoid it are those that are pregnant or breastfeeding.
How can you use it?
It’s important to note that mild irritation when first introducing a retinol product into your skincare routine is completely normal—skin cells will adapt quickly to the added vitamin A. I recommend phasing it in gradually to limit irritation—start by using the product just twice a week at first, working up to every night. Most formulas come as a serum and can be applied right after cleansing to patted dry skin, and followed up with moisturizer.
You may start to notice a difference after 4 weeks, but the real changes can take up to 12 weeks to appear so be patient!
A natural alternative!
Retinol products are super potent and can sometimes be a bit too intense for very sensitive skin types. If this is you or if you just want a more natural substitute that works as well as retinol, bakuchiol is your answer! This natural, plant-derived compound is popping up all over the skincare market this fall and with good reason. It was discovered as an excellent clinically-proven alternative to retinol products in 2014 but has long been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
Like its famous friend, it stimulates collagen production and can reduce the appearance of fine lines but without the risk of irritation. Bakuchiol has actually been found to not only be gentle, but also soothing, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial—which can reduce the appearance of breakouts. You can use it the exact same way you would a retinoid product!
My favourite products:
- Derma E Anti-Wrinkle Renewal Cream – A favourite of Well.ca customers, this retinol face cream won’t break the bank but still give you killer anti-aging results!
- 100% Pure Multi-Vitamin + Antioxidants Potent PM Serum – This serum packs a powerful punch with retinol, vitamin C, and a whole bunch more, making it the perfect “do-everything” product.
Have you ever used retinol before? What was your experience?
Eve is a photographer and writer from Toronto, Canada with a passion for natural beauty and healthy eating. She loves green products, yoga, big salads and even bigger cups of tea.