Should I Use Retinol On My Skin?

Retinol.  All the big brands talk about this “miracle skincare ingredient” so should you try it too?  What exactly is retinol? What are the risks? And is it right for me? 

I’ve pondered over this last question in particular for a long time… I have seen many skins damaged by using retinols. I’ve seen thinned skin, peeling skin, and worst of all pigmented skin from using this ingredient. If that’s the case, how can it possibly be good for us?

The explanation comes from how this ingredient works. “Here comes the science bit” It’s all to do with our “cell turnover”. This is the continuous process of shedding dead skin cells and replacing them with newer, younger ones. Keeping our skin healthy, fresh and youthful.

Young skin has a cell turnover rate of 28 days. Every 28 days we get fresh new skin cells to replace the dying ones – Yay! But from the ripe old age of… wait for it… 21… our cell turnover rate starts slowing down. And as we hit our 40s & 50s our cell turnover rates can actually double. This results in dull, uneven skin tone and rough skin texture.

In comes Retinol. Not quite a knight in shining armour, but we don’t need that anyway, do we?

Retinol effectively sends a message to the skin to speed up cell turnover rates. It says “Send new skin cells up, quick!”  But how does it do this?

Well, the “how” actually explains some of the negative effects of retinol. Retinol sloughs away the dead skin cells built up on the surface of the skin. This then sends the message to send up new skin cells. 

BUT doing this poorly can result in thin, peeling, dry and damaged skin. This can happen quickly and can affect the skin long term.  So what do I do? To retinol or not?? How about yes to Retinol but Retinol in the right way. 

Yes to using high concentrations of pure retinol (not derivatives such as retinyl palmitate)
Yes to using encapsulated technology so that the retinol is slow released over a period of time resulting in a less harsh application.
Yes to incorporating other supportive ingredients to strengthen the skin whilst new cells are formed
Yes to a “low & slow” introduction of retinol
Yes to retinol application in the evenings only
Yes to washing off your retinol every single morning
Yes, yes, yes to medical grade broad spectrum sun screen, every single day.

Following these important steps when incorporating retinol into your routine will result in healthier, brighter and more youthful skin.

Want to know if the retinol you are using is working for or against your skin? Ask us in salon which retinols we recommend.