WHAT IS RETINOL? THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THIS HOLY GRAIL ANTI-AGING PRODUCT: PART 2

I hope you enjoyed the first part of this post which talked about what Retinol is and its benefits to your skin. If you missed it you can read it here

The part 2 of this post will focus on discussing the types of Retinols available in the market, how to choose the best one for your skin types, tips on getting the best results and the sides effects. Let’s get started

Types of Retinols

Retinoids or retinol comes in either over the counter (OTC) or prescription formulas. The difference between the two formulas is the availability of retinoic acid which is the active ingredient. Over the counter (OTC) formulations or retinol have to be converted into retinoic acid before the skin is able to use it. While in prescription formulas the retinoic acid is available without the need to be converted in the skin. Hence the reason OTC retinol products are gentler and have fewer side effects than prescription retinol.

Over the counter retinol include

  • Retinol
  • Retinyl palmitate
  • Retinaldehyde

While prescription  are listed below and come in 0.5% and 1% concentrations

  • Adapalene (Differin)
  • Tretinoin  (Tazorac)
  • Tazarotene(Retin A)
Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment
The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane
Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum
Jordan Samuel Skin Étoile With Retinol Treatment Oil
Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution
Obagi Tretinoin Cream
Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Daily Moisturizer Spf30
The Ordinary The Ordinary Retinol 1% In Squalane
Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment
The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane
Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum
Jordan Samuel Skin Étoile With Retinol Treatment Oil
Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution
Obagi Tretinoin Cream
Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Daily Moisturizer Spf30
The Ordinary The Ordinary Retinol 1% In Squalane

How to choose the right Retinol for your skin

Choosing the right retinol is important in getting the results you want because if it is too harsh or not strong enough you won’t get the results you want and won’t stick with it long term. In addition, using the wrong concentration makes you more likely to have side effects, so how do you choose.

First of all, packaging and formulation are important in determining which form to use. Retinol can be sensitive to air and light need to put in an opaque and airtight package.

How to choose the right strength

As I mentioned above retinol comes in many different forms and strengths each of which are suited to different skin types. If you have sensitive or dry skin it is better to start with using OTC  formulas which are less concentrated and to reduce the likelihood of irritation. Likewise, the strongest formulations are better used for oily and acne-prone skin.  Your ultimate goal is to use the lowest strength possible which is able to produce results, that way you can always increase the strength if it stops working.

So don’t worry if the prescription formulas are too harsh for your skin, the benefits of retinol are cumulative over time. Which means you will get the same effects over time with a low-strength as you would higher strength as long as you use it consistently.

Tips on how to use Retinol

In order to reduce the likelihood of side effects here are some tips on how to use retinol

  1. Use a pea-size amount for your whole face of serum starting with once a week and increasing up to every other night indefinitely. Less is more in this case
  2. Alternate with other products with active ingredients like acids, or peels to prevent irritation. Which means if you use retinol skip the acids toners and vice versa
  3. Use a retinol at night only, because they break down when exposed to sunlight so will be ineffective
  4. Use sunscreen diligently because retinol can cause photosensitivity to the sun so use an SPF 50 or higher each morning.
  5. Avoid using Benzoyl peroxide, AHA’s & BHA’s with retinol because they affect its efficacy
  6. Despite common belief, you can use retinol around your eyes where most of the skin damage is visible, it is not too harsh.
  7. Be patient the effects are visible after about 12 weeks so give it time to do its work

Side effects of Retinol

side effects of retinol
sources: healthline.com

The major side effect from retinol use is dryness and flaking of the skin. Both of which are caused by your skin rapidly shedding leaving the newer skin exposed. The higher concentration (perception retinol) are likely to cause more side effects, you start at the lower end of the spectrum and introduce it gradually into your routine until your skin gets through the adjustment period.

Other side effects include a brief sensation of warmth or stinging, during the first 2–4 weeks of using it .

Do not use during pregnancy because the effects of topical use of vitamin A have not been studied oral its best to avoid using it.  

I personally use prescription-strength retinol and my skin has adjusted to the strength and no longer flakes when I use it. Is retinol part of your skincare routine ? or has this post convinced you to at least try it out? Let me know in the comments  and follow me on social media

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