The Facts About Retinol: What You Really Need To Know

Posted by in Skin Care

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Retinol is becoming a fairly well recognised ingredient by many beauty buyers as an anti-ageing hero, but as more and more products include more derivatives of this wrinkle-busting ingredient, more questions are raised. Are all versions of retinol equally effective? Do they have any negative side effects? Why are some strengths prescription and some over the counter? Today we're busting the myths about retinol and clarifying what we actually know about this elusive ingredient and why you should include it in your skin care routine.

How Do They Work?

Retinoids (the name which encompasses all forms of retinol) work by altering the skin at a cellular level, changing the gene expression to promote collagen and elastin production which are the two proteins responsible for keeping the skin tight and elastic. They come in many forms including retinol, retinyl and retinoic acid. When used as a regular part of your skin care routine it's believed that on average the visible results of retinoids become apparent after 10-12 weeks.

Retinol, Retinyl, Retinoic Acid - Are They All The Same Thing?

Retinoic acid is the desired ingredient which fights visible ageing, but only prescription formulas tend to contain this in it's raw form. Over the counter anti-ageing products contain alternative forms which are converted into retinoic acid by the skin at a cellular level. Retinol is the most effective over the counter form of retinoic acid as it's stronger than the retinyl alternatives, so to see visible results products containing retinol are the best to use. One popular retinol product on the market is the Retinol Correction Eye Cream from ROC £18.07 which uses pure retinol to visibly smooth lines around the eyes.

For those with more sensitive skin there are weaker strength retinoids including retinyl which is used for people whose skin can't tolerate the stronger strengths which can cause irritation. The sensitivity of your skin will decide which form of the retinoids will be the most suitable to include in your skin care routine. One great sensitive alternative is the Retinol Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream from ROC £22.24 which reveals younger looking skin without causing irritation.

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What Are The Possible Side Effects?

Contrary to popular belief retinoids do not increase your risk of sunburn, an idea which is widely believed likely due to the fact that most retinoids are stored in opaque jars as they breakdown in sunlight. This breakdown doesn't damage skin it just causes the product to become inactive. What retinoids can do is cause redness, irritation and peeling of the skin but it's believed that for many people this stage is short lived and sadly just a "grin and bear it" type situation. If the irritation is prolonged or causing significant discomfort, it's recommended you switch to one of the lower strength retinyl products as whilst these aren't as effective it's possible once you've tolerated a tube of the weaker stuff your skin will be more tolerant and able to cope with stronger retinol.

Is It Safe To Use Retinoids On Holiday And Around The Eyes?

Not only is it safe, it's recommended you take your retinoids with you wherever you go. Retinoids have been found to reduce the production of collagenase which is the enzyme which breaks down collagen after UV exposure, resulting in aged and sagging skin. Furthermore it's important to use retinoids around your eyes as these are commonly the areas most affected by premature ageing and sun damage. So forget everything you've been told about the dangers of retinoids in hot weather or around your eyes because this ingredient should be your best friend in these situations.

Do The Results Of Retinoids Stop After A Few Months?

Despite the common misconception that retinoids are only effective for the first 6 months, many dermatologists believe that the visible benefits can continue for well over a year. Even though the effects may appear to plateau at this stage, if you up the retinoids to a stronger dose there's no reason to believe the benefits won't continue. So hooray for retinoids, the gift of an ingredient that just keeps giving.

If your skin is feeling a little lacklustre then retinoids could be the solution to injecting some youth into your skin care routine. Now that you have the facts you can put those scary retinoid rumours to bed and make the most of this skin-boosting ingredient.

Looking to vanish the crows feet around your eyes? Spice up your skin care routine with the ROC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream £18.07

Worried your skin is too sensitive for the strong stuff? Try the Retinal Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream £22.24

Not sure which retinol products are suitable for your skin? Try taking our quick and free online beauty quiz to discover your beauty matches.