Chances are, you’ve heard about the wrinkle-reducing benefits of retinol, but might not understand exactly what this hero ingredient is—or everything it can do for your skin.

Retinol—a derivative of vitamin A that boasts a long list of proven benefits—has been called the holy grail of skincare ingredients.

What are the skincare benefits of using retinol?

Retinol helps unclog pores, exfoliate, and smooth skin, diminishes the appearance of hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, improves skin hydration and treats acne.

Can all skin types use retinol?

Any skin type can use retinol, but fair or sensitive skin types should be extra cautious as it may be harder for them to adjust to the potent ingredient.

I don’t recommend retinol for people who have skin that’s been over-exfoliated (from at-home or in-clinic treatments), or skin that’s sun-damaged. It should also be noted that pregnant women should not use retinol.

When should you start using retinol?

I recommend starting using retinol when you hit your thirties, as that is when collagen levels in the skin start decreasing more rapidly. But all ages can reap the rewards of a retinol.

The best time to start using retinol is mid-September until late March.

How do I incorporate retinol into my skincare routine?

My first tip is to try the ‘low and slow’ approach. Because this product can cause skin to dry out and sometimes turn red, I advise to start with products that contain a low concentration (0.25% or 0.3%) of the ingredient first and see how your skin reacts before moving to higher concentrations.

However, if the product makes your skin red and flaky, she suggests mixing the retinol formula with your moisturizer. Use retinol once or twice a week at first to see how your skin reacts, and gradually work up to every other day or three times a week.

Another key tip for using retinol is to incorporate it into your night-time skincare routine only, as it makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight. When using retinol, remember the I  mportance of using SPF.

Here’s how to incorporate retinol into your skin care routine:

Step 1: Wash your face and apply eye cream. An eye cream will help protect the delicate skin around your eyes.

Step 2: Wait a few minutes until your skin is completely dry. This is important, because if your skin is at all damp, the retinol will be able to absorb more deeply into your skin and might cause irritation. We want to apply moisturizers and serums to slightly damp skin, but never retinol.

Step 3: Take a pea-size amount of your retinol and, starting at your chin, apply with your fingertips in upward and outward motions.

Step 4: Finish with your moisturizer.

Step 5: Remember to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen the morning after, as retinol makes skin more sensitive to the sun.

I hope this was helpful and if you want to know more about how to use retinol safely another BLOG post will be available next week.

Skin Expert,

A.