Why everyone needs retinol in their skincare routine
One of the many important, as well as eye-opening things interviewing countless dermatologists, has taught me is that the majority of anti-ageing products sitting in bathroom cabinets are rubbish. Brands are very quick to tout the discovery of a brilliant new wrinkle-busting ingredient. However, the most proven and effective anti-ager is one that’s been around for decades – retinol. This is why, if you’re serious about turning back the hands of time, you’ll want a retinol product in your routine.
Retinol, a form of vitamin A, is a great antioxidant that works the hardest to stimulate the creation of collagen – the stretchy stuff that gives our skin its youthful-looking elasticity. We have loads of it when we’re young, but by the time we hit our mid-twenties, our skin’s collagen factories start slowing down. To preserve what you’ve got, sunscreen is your friend. But how can you add to your stash? This is where topicals come in. Many active ingredients can encourage your skin to produce more collagen. Vitamin C is one of them. So are certain peptides. But the one that does it better than anything else is still boring old retinol.
Something else you should know? Don’t be fooled by big brands with anti-ageing lines that only target women in their 40s.
The best time to start using retinol is in your 20s.
Still, it’s never too late to reap its benefits. It’s also untrue that it can’t be used by those with sensitive skin. You simply have to find it in a concentration that you can tolerate – say 0.2%– and then work your way up to something more concentrated, ideally hitting 1%.
Pick your percentage
I currently apply any 1% retinol products that cross my path, something I’ve been doing since my late 20s, and wear it on alternate nights. If you’re not used to it, going in too strong and too often with a retinol product can cause redness and flaking.
Retinol can also increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun so, again, don’t forget to use your sunscreen.
The great thing about retinol is that you don’t have to break the bank to buy them. My current favorite is The Ordinary 1% Retinol in Squalane that’ll set you back less than 7 dollars. (The brand also sells a 0.3% retinol serum if you’re about to dip your toes in.) However, there’s nothing wrong with springing for something like Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment. It contains soothing botanicals plus a bunch of collagen encouraging peptides so you’ll get even more bang for your anti-ageing buck.
The bottom line
Ultimately, when it comes to finding your retinol “soul serum”, your skin’s tolerance and budget will be your guide. But if you’re serious about fending off Father Time, don’t hesitate to pop one into your shopping cart today. There was a time when my friends would gasp in horror when they saw me using a gifted jar of Crème de la Mer like a body lotion – but the notion of “expensive equals better” is diminishing, much like my fine lines and wrinkles.
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