Retinol is a skincare hero, but here’s how you can go wrong with it

Introducing retinol in your anti-aging skincare routine? You need to stick to these retinol rules!
skin problems due to covid-19
Keep an eye on changes in your skin! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Shifa Khan Published: 24 Dec 2021, 16:14 pm IST
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It’s difficult to lay down facts about exactly when to start incorporating anti-aging products into your routine, but most experts agree on one thing: the sooner, the better. Getting into the basics of your anti-aging routine should be initiated in your mid-20s. Retinol is one such hero ingredient that has kept the beauty world abuzz with its goodness.

Now, there are two categories of products in the pool of skincare range: ones that just minimize the appearance of signs of aging while others that actually target and treat it.

The first category includes ingredients that excessively hydrate or swell the skin temporarily to decrease the appearance of wrinkles. The skin feels noticeably young in less time but goes back to its own texture, once you stop using them.

The second category of products contain legit anti-ageing ingredients like retinol.

What is retinol?

Retinols are vitamin A derivatives that have proven to promote cell turnover, stimulate collagen production, and help even out skin tone. That’s the reason why you’ve been hearing about these vitamin A-derivatives everywhere because they really work.

What does retinol do to your skin?

Retinoids give you a younger-looking appearance because they reduce the tendency of cells and keratin to clump together and clog pores, and they thicken the skin and decrease fine lines. Retinol-rich products enhance collagen production and promote cell turnover which decreases in our late 20s.

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Introducing retinol in your anti-aging skincare routine? You need to stick to these retinol rules! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Retinol is hailed as the most proven anti-ageing topical after sun protection by dermatologists. As an anti-ager, retinoids not only help soften wrinkles and lines and decrease pigmentation caused by the sun, but they also treat breakouts and stimulate collagen and elastin fibers.

Retinoids can improve pigmentation issues, melasma and dark spots, thanks to its exfoliating properties and they can shrink the size of your pores and give your skin a galvanized glow.

Dr Vidushi Jain, Dermatologist and Medical Head at Dermalinks, spoke to HealthShots on how to introduce retinol to your skin.

“Given the benefits of retinol, people tend to overdo it. I prescribe a low percentage of the product to my first-time patients. Along with this I recommend them to try the sandwich technique for applying retinol. I advise them to layer retinol between moisturizers which may cut down the risk of a retinol reaction. Newbies should apply retinol on alternate days. Do not combine retinol with any other actives like AHAs and BHAs without an expert’s advice” says Jain.

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Is there a downside of using retinol?

Retinol is considered notorious for causing irritation and sensitivity if used in large quantities. So, be sure to use it properly with only a pea-sized amount and start with formulations that have a lower percentage of retinol in it.

These benefits tend to fade away once you stop bathing in the modern ‘fountain of youth’ called retinol. Sadly, the benefits of retinoids are lost once stopped so they should be continued indefinitely.

Two things to practice religiously when using retinol: Always use a moisturizer. And remember, less is more. A penny sized amount for your whole face at night is enough.

Introducing retinol in your anti-aging skincare routine? You need to stick to these retinol rules! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Using retinol in your skincare has some risks involved. There’s a certain set of guidelines that your dermatologist might issue before prescribing you any retinoid.

According to Dr. Vidushi Jain, there are some retinol rules that you should never break.

The don’ts of using retinol

  1. Starting too strong

They say patience is the key. It stands true even when starting a retinol routine. Diving straight into retinol products with high potency before introducing it in lower concentrations can have a negative effect on your skin. The high concentration of retinol or using more than a pea size quantity can aggravate redness and skin flaking which will eventually make you quit it before reaping benefits.

2. Mistaking retinol reactions for intolerance

The initial phase of retinol comes with bad skin reactions, often known as the ‘retinol uglies’. Do not let those divulge you from your retinol journey. The redness, excessive flaking and breakouts on skin can make you think that your skin can’t handle retinol. Do not shake, because these are expected signs of an increased cell turnover.

3. Using it during the day

Dermats suggest that retinol usage should be limited to your PM skincare routine. Well, there’s a valid reason for that! Retinol efficacy decreases when it comes into the direct contact of sunlight. It’s a waste of effort and product! Secondly, retinol makes your skin more susceptible to sun damage which can do more harm than good to your skin.

4. Not using sunscreen

Sunscreen and retinol is a pair made in skincare heaven! If you’re using retinol in your night skin care regimen, you have to slather on sunscreen diligently first thing in the morning. Out in the sun or at home, sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours. That’s the rule!

Introducing retinol in your anti-aging skincare routine? You need to stick to these retinol rules! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Spot treating with retinol

Those pesky problems that retinol comes with makes people use it only on their problem areas. But, retinol needs to be applied to your entire face because you need that anti-aging magic all over your pretty face! Don’t you?

6. Not moisturising enough

Your skin tends to get drier when using a retinol. Investing in a good moisturiser is a must to soothe and nourish that thirsty skin. Not moisturizing your dry and scaly skin can further damage it and cause deeper lines and wrinkles.

7. Delaying your retinol journey

You don’t have to wait for your wrinkles to say ‘hi’ to you before you get on the anti-ageing bandwagon! Heard it hundred times and we’re going to say it again: Prevention is the only key. Well, in this case, a key to your youthful skin! Dermatologists suggest introducing retinol to your skin in your late 20s before you get those droopy eyes.

Retinol caters to all major skin problems like fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, blackheads and dark spots, inflammation, pore size and the appearance of blemishes too.

Need more reasons to include this miracle potion in your skincare regime? Give your skin the retinol boost you’re craving but only if you can abide by these rules!

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About the Author

An aesthete and a skincare junkie, Shifa spends most of her time cooking delish food while wearing a sheet mask. At HealthShots, she creates high-octane content that can leave you all a little intrigued! ...Read More

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