Universally touted as the no.1 ingredient for anti-ageing
What is retinol?
Retinol is the animal form of Vitamin A, which is an important element needed to keep our immune system strong. This is because it has healing properties and an ability to fight against illness and infection, as well as benefiting eyesight and improving bone strength. Vitamin A is often cited as a member of the antioxidant vitamin family, which, according to Benefits and Liabilities of Vitamin A and Carotenoids, can protect against stress and chronic diseases. Vitamin A can be found in foods that are by-products of animals: eggs, cheese, oily fish, meat (especially liver), milk and yoghurt. You can get provitamin A from leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, tomato products and fruits.
What are the benefits of retinol on your skin?
As well as being an imperative ingredient to be consumed in any diet, Vitamin A (or retinol) has therapeutic agents that can be used topically to combat skin disorders. Beyond deficiency: New roles for vitamins states that vitamins are becoming more and more important in benefiting and array of skin conditions such as ageing, psoriasis, acne and damage from environmental elements such as the sun.
Vitamin A or retinol - which comes under the umbrella term of 'retinoids', which also includes retinal, retinoic acid and retinyl esters - is an agent accessible in certain skincare products. When used on the skin its main benefit is the ability to rewind the signs of ageing. It works to rejuvenate and resurface the skin by speeding up cell turnover, leaving the skin smoother, brighter and more youthful looking.
Retinol is the number one ingredient in skincare that is aimed explicitly at diminishing the signs of ageing and reducing fine lines and wrinkles, as well as improving uneven skin tone and pigmentation.
Where can you get retinol?
You can buy skincare products that are enriched with Vitamin A or reintol, targeted at those who want an anti-ageing, skin revitalising product. You can buy it in moisturiser or oil form, but most commonly as a serum.
How do you use retinol?
Retinol can cause your skin to become more sensitive to UV rays, so remember to load up on SPF creams in the day. Most retinol products, especially ones that are more concentrated, are best used overnight as they are given time to absorb deep into the skin, and avoid sunlight, of course.
Shop the best retinol products in the gallery below
Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion, £44 from Beauty Bay
This product works to smooth fine lines as well as renewing and rejuvenating the skin's texture, to achieve a youthful glow. It promises to counteract any possible irritation caused by the retinol by also including Vitamin C and E in the formula.
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%, £8 from ASOS
Ordinary is a brand that has been making headlines and breaking records recently. It's simple, no-nonsense packaging means it's incredibly affordable, and while retinol products can be fairly expensive it is worth trying this cheaper option out.
This product tackles signs of ageing. Massage a couple drops onto your face before bed as part of your skincare regime, and remember to wear SPF in the day.
Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment, £53 from Paula's Choice
This products prides itself on combating ageing, breakouts, brown spots and enlarged pores. You should apply a pea-sized amount after moisturising and toning, before you apply serum, but on no more than three evenings a week whilst you build up tolerance, as it can cause irritation and drying.
Regenacalm 2% Retinol and Vitamin C Serum, £18.99 from Face Theory
This products works to regenerate and repair blemishes, fine lines, dark spots and areas of hyperpigmentation, for a smooth, clear complexion. It is advised to apply this underneath your moisturiser, so it can penetrate deep into the layers of skin for optimum affect.
La Roche-Posay Redermic R UV Moisturiser SPF 30
La Roche-Posay products are famously great for resurfacing the skin to fade brown spots and dark marks left behind from breakouts. This product contains a 0.3% dosage of retinol so is not as strong, but counteracts potential UV damage by being SPF 30. It is suitable for daily use.
This Works No Wrinkles Eye Repair, £33.50 from Beauty Bay
This product is a retinol-based cream and tackles the effect of lack of sleep can have on the wrinkles around your eyes. It works to preserve elasticity and hydration, and improve skin firmness and flexibility. Apply liberally once or twice a day.
Seaweed Bath Soak, £6.95 from Seatox
The Selkie Smooth bath soak is made up of 100% Fucus Serratus seaweed, which is packed with essential vitamins and minerals like Iodine, magnesium, zinc and retinol (aka Vitamin A).
Seaweed is believed to aid skin conditions such as acne, and helps improve the skin's elasticity so it appears more youthful.
To use, bathe with the seaweed for 20-40 minutes and let your skin absorb the good ingredients. You will feel baby-soft and look radiant.
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