Retinol is a powerful anti-ageing ingredient that reduces fine lines, dark spots and hyperpigmentation. It’s also known to treat acne, as well as speeding up the skin renewal process and boosting collagen production. It works by targeting cells that produce retinoic acid, and triggering the production of new ones. It’s available on prescription in cream form and comes in a variety of strengths, including 0.025%, 0.05% and 0.1 per cent. We recommend starting with the lowest strength, as this will cause less irritation and is unlikely to cause any serious side effects, such as red skin, dryness or peeling.
It’s also important to avoid using any other skin-peeling products while you use this, as alternating them can cause inflammation (contact dermatitis). This is because it is a strong active and may interact with peeling treatments such as benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol or salicylic acid. You should also avoid using products that contain alcohol, as they can be irritating.
This product is an exfoliator and not a retinol cream, so it’s gentle enough for sensitive skins, and it works to brighten the complexion as well as hydrate it. It contains a high concentration of vitamin C, so it’s perfect for anyone with dull skin that needs a little pick-me-up. It’s also formulated with chamomile extract to soothe any irritation, and there are no parabens or synthetic fragrances in it.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, this one is suitable for most skin types. It’s a gel formula that’s easy to spread and absorbs quickly, without leaving any oily residue. It’s gentle enough to use daily, but you can increase the frequency if your skin is used to it. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid, which is a super hydrator that also helps firm the skin.
Another bestselling retinol is this one from cult brand Drunk Elephant. It’s been praised for being gentle yet effective, and it’s great for people with sensitive skin who get on better with lower concentrations. It’s enriched with a blend of oils, including jojoba and shea butter, so it’s moisturising too. It also features granactive retinoid, which is a fourth generation retinol that treats hyperpigmentation, smoothes skin texture and reduces fine lines.
As with all skincare, it’s important to follow the instructions on the packaging. It’s recommended to use it twice a week at first, then gradually build up to three times a week as you get used to the product. It’s also recommended to avoid applying it to the skin when you’re going out in sunlight, as it can make your complexion more sensitive.
The good news is that you can buy retinol online, 100% legally from inside the USA, through services like YoDerm and Curology. These companies will usually charge a monthly subscription fee, but they’ll be cheaper than visiting a dermatologist. Just make sure you find a reputable retailer, and remember to check that your chosen brand is licensed and approved by the FDA. retin a uk