Retinol: What Is It And What Are The Skincare Benefits?

retinol-what-is-it-and-what-are-the-skincare-benefits

What is retinol?

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and has long been touted the holy grail of anti-ageing. Several studies have shown that using the ingredient topically can reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, pigmentation and acne.

What is the difference between a retinol and a retinoid?

Vitamin A comes in different forms, including retinols and retinoids, which is where it gets confusing for most of us. Essentially, for your skin to process vitamin A it needs to be converted into retinoic acid. Retinoids need fewer conversions and are, therefore, the strongest derivative of vitamin A. Only available via prescription, retinoids are most commonly used to treat acne with GPs regularly prescribing tretinoin to help alleviate problem skin.

Retinol is a more diluted form of vitamin A as it needs more conversions and can be bought over the counter. Don’t let the idea of it being a weaker form fool you though, as plenty of studies have revealed its anti-ageing benefits.

What are the skincare benefits?

As mentioned, vitamin A has many skincare benefits, including increasing cell turnover and getting rid of any old one. A US study in 2016, found that using retinol increased the production of collagen and reduced expression wrinkles over a 12 week period. It can also help reduce acne and correct pigmentation over time.

What are the side effects of using a retinol?

With the good must come the bad and there is a downside to using retinol. For some, this is the main reason they avoid them. Vitamin A is an incredibly irritating ingredient and even the lowest percentage of retinol can cause redness, itchiness and peeling, and can increase your skin’s sensitivity. With this in mind, those with sensitive skin should proceed with caution. It’s not safe to use retinol or any form of vitamin A when you’re pregnant either.

What is the best retinol product for your skin?

When shopping for a retinol based product always look for airtight, tinted packaging as vitamin A is photosensitive, breaking down when it is exposed to sunlight. Retinol has many derivatives and can appear on product labels as retinyl acetate, retinyl propionate and retinyl palmitate, depending on its strength. If you’ve never used a retinol before, start with a low percentage and don’t use it every night as it is an incredibly strong ingredient. One pump of LixirSkin Night Switch Retinol 1% mixed into the Universal Emulsion used twice a week before you go to bed is a good place to start, depending on how sensitive your skin is.

However, if you’re shopping The Ordinary, it’s worth noting that Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane is the latest formula with the newest technology and is less irritating than the 0.2% Retinol in Squalane. It contains 0.2 percent hydroxypinacolone retinoate, which is a non-prescription retinoic acid ester that is incredibly unique as it offers little-to-no irritation.

How do you use retinol products?

To reap the benefits and minimise the side effects, build up your skins tolerance and start by using small amounts twice a week.

Some brands strongly advocate using all retinol products overnight due to it’s sensitising powers that can make your skin more susceptible to UV damage, others argue that some forms of the ingredient can in fact give your skin a natural SPF 20 protection. While the jury is out as to whether you should use retinol during the day or not, we recommend using it at night and using an SPF during the day to protect the new skin cells from UV damage.

Remember that this is a strong ingredient and you don’t want to overload your skin with acids. There’s no need to use vitamin C and A at the same, instead opt for a hydrating hyaluronic acid based formula to maximise the results.

As with most skincare ingredients, vitamin A won’t offer instant results. Expect to wait around 12 weeks to see any noticeable change in your skin though as it takes that long for your body to produce collagen.

LixirSkin

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One of the things I love about Victoria Health is how thoughtful they are with the brands they choose to launch. It takes a lot for Gill to add a new skincare line to the site and with the last one being The Ordinary, you know LixirSkin has to be something special to make the cut (spoiler alert: it is). I was so pleasantly surprised when the products arrived at my door a few weeks ago and have been so excited to talk about them since my very first use. Beyond the fact that this new brand is a millennial’s dream in terms of branding and packaging, it also has a lot going on formula wise and I have a feeling LixirSkin is destined for big things.

LixirSkin launched on the October newsletter and like Gill wrote, Colette Haydon is not new to the skincare industry (interview here). She has worked behind the scenes for over 20 years and has formulated countless best-selling products for brands like REN, Jo Malone and HealGel. REN was one of the first brands I turned to when I went all “natural” a few years ago, so I know for a fact I have already had Colette’s creations on my face without even knowing it and I’m sure many of you have, too. Read More…

Introducing LIXIRSKIN

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The Brand For Busy-But-Beauty-Obsessed Women Georgia Murray

 

Colette Haydon, a doctor in dermo-pharmacy and the brains behind some of our favourite skincare brands, has put her experience and expertise front and centre with her own newly launched brand, LIXIRSKIN. Made up of six products, the blush pink packaging and sans-serif font may sit as pretty on our bathroom shelves as in our Instagram feed, but you’d be mistaken to dismiss this as yet another marketing campaign-driven brand. Having forged a career creating products for REN, Aromatherapy Associates and a pre-Estée Lauder-owned Jo Malone, Haydon says: “I was very aware that because of my background, I’d be watched. There was no point in launching a new range doing what everybody else had done.”

LIXIRSKIN is founded on three leading principles. The first? “It all started with the idea that, fundamentally, a good product is based on good ingredients,” Colette tells Refinery29. “So many brands right now differentiate themselves by either their natural or synthetic ingredients, but I think this is dated.” This refreshing take comes at a time when poll after poll is finding that women want their beauty products to be all-natural. So what is Colette proposing? “There are good, safe, effective ingredients, and there are bad, harmful and unsafe ingredients,” she explains. Read More…

Gill Meets Colette Haydon

colette working with lixir

What is your background?

I am a doctor in dermo-pharmacy.  I am passionate about the skin and formulating skincare. Over 20 years ago I set up a laboratory in London called Elixir de Beaute.  Together with my team, I formulated hundreds of products for many of the most coveted beauty brands.  I am pretty sure there is at least one in your bathroom.  I stand proud behind them all.

You have created products for brands such as HealGel, Jo Malone, Aromatherapy Associates and REN to name just a few; what has driven you to create your own brand?

Lixir is driven by my skincare and laboratory experience.  My skin beliefs have evolved with time; they are deep, disruptive and controversial.  Above all I want to improve your skin, not wrack your brain. I dedicated my work to the understanding of skin. Read More…