Retinol is considered a skin ‘saviour’ for its exfoliating, anti-ageing, acne-fighting abilities. Many consider it to be an indispensable product, one that gives them ‘baby’s butt skin’ - sounds a little extra? Hang tight, cause it's true and we’re going to prove it to you. 

Here’s our guide to retinol, and how to add it to your skincare routine safely.

What is it? 

Simply put, retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A, which when applied to the skin builds up collagen, helps to exfoliate by unclogging pores, and eliminates free radicals - essentially a product that slows down/reverses some of signs of aging. How, you ask? 

As we age, our body’s natural reserve of collagen begins to deplete, and free radicals only exacerbate the issue (more on free radicals in our next post). Retinols work to rebuild the body’s collagen reserves, and the enhanced collagen production result in smoother, bouncier, tighter, clearer skin!

Who is it for?

Due to the benefits of using retinol, products containing it are best suited for almost all skin types except our friends with sensitive skin.

BUT: If you suffer skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema or psoriasis it's a better idea to consult a dermatologist for a safe way to incorporate retinoids into your routine. Also, if you are pregnant, this is definitely a product you want to stay away from. 

PSA: Traditional retinoids are typically derived from animal sources, which means they are NOT VEGAN. If this is a deal-breaker for you, we get it! But don’t worry, there are several plant-based retinol alternatives- Bakuchiol derived from the babchi plant being one of them.

How to include it in your skincare routine

Due to the increased level of sensitivity to UV rays that retinol can cause, it is safest to use it at night and to follow up with a moisturiser to keep the side effects of dryness away.

Word of caution: Most people will need to build up a tolerance to retinol. So, start with mild strengths and work your way up if you need to. If you’re new to retinol, we would even suggest using it on alternate nights to begin with, and then increase your use based on how your skin reacts. 

Mainly, be patient for retinol to work its magic as it can take a few weeks to see noticeable results. 

ALSO: Retinol or no retinol, DO NOT forget to use SPF every morning! 

Our recs for retinol: 

  • Herbis Cacay nut oil with naturally occurring retinol
  • The Ordinary Retinol
  • Herbivore Bakuchiol (Vegan, plant-based retinol alternative. Yes! You read that right!)
  • The Derma Company Retinol
  • Drunk Elephant Retinol

That’s about all we have to say about retinol and we hope we’ve covered everything. Leave us a comment if you have any questions! 

Until next time, 

Stay curious. Stay #freequal 

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