Skingredient Spotlight: Retinol

EYNTK about Retinol!


Skincare ingredients have become a popular topic of conversation across the beauty industry in the last five years. There’s a skincare product to help with just about every skin issue. But, what do we really know about its skingredients?

So if you’re like us and really haven’t a clue when it comes to skincare but want to know more then pay attention. We’re putting a spotlight on some of the most important skingredients to have in your routine over the next few weeks. We’ve chatted all things Niacinamide and Salicylic Acid so far, now we’re championing the anti-ageing hero ingredient – Retinol.

What is it?

First off, we’ve been calling it the wrong thing – it’s not just you we have too. Retinoids is actually the correct umbrella term for the skingredient. All retinol based products belong under this term, and are also derived from the same ingredient, Vitamin A.

The difference between each retinoid is down to their strength. Retinoic acid (also known as Retin-A or Tretinoin) is one of the strongest, prescription-level retinoids that is used for acne as well as anti-ageing. Retinoic Acid occurs naturally in our skin, and as Tretinoin is ‘bio available’ meaning it doesn’t need to be converted to work in our skin cells unlike all other forms of retinoid.

Retinoids unfortunately don’t work well on everyone. If you’ve got the likes of rosacea, eczema or psoriasis it’s probably best to stay away from them as it can wreak havoc on already dry and inflamed skin. It’s super easy to ‘overdose’ on retinol, leaving your skin flaking and peeling, as well as irritated and red.

Thankfully any side effects one might discover should only last a couple of weeks, while your skin adjusts. More and more skincare brands that boast different retinoids have begun using encapsulated retinol in order to introduce the wonder ingredient to the skin without causing irritation.

How do I use it?

When introducing a retinoid to your routine, you should do so slowly and with the smallest percentage possible to avoid irritation before building your tolerance up over time. You should limit your use of the product to once or twice a week while you’re building up that tolerance.

You should only apply retinoids at night, as the sun can cause severe reactions and even burns. You should apply a pea-sized amount to clean, dry skin and then wait 30 minutes before applying any other product like Hyaluronic Acid and/or Niacinamide.

If you choose to use a retinoid there’s no need to use any other AHAs or BHAs as you will already have exfoliated thanks to the retinol. Doubling up on exfoliating acids can cause severe irritation and reaction, so avoid using them together if at all possible.

What other ingredients can I mix it with?

As a newbie to the retinol game you should try and keep away from mixing any active ingredients with retinol including the likes of Vitamin C, Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid. It is the quickest way to literally burn your face. However if you’ve been using retinoids for a while and are confident with the resilience of your skin and its barrier, you can mix ingredients as long as they compliment each other.

The one thing you must never forget when using retinol is SPF. The morning after you use your retinol your skin will appear thinner and as a result more fragile. If you remember anything about retinol please make it this.

When should I see results?

Results as with any skincare are totally individual to the product although you will tend to see a difference in your skin after about four to six weeks.

Here’s some of our favourite Retinol products

La Roche Posay Redermic Retinol Night Cream, €34.95

Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask, €46.63

Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3 Refining Night Cream, €75.45

The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane, €8.40

Sunday Riley 5 Stars Retinoid and Niacinamide Eye Serum, €65