Retinoids are increasingly becoming a go-to option for skin concerns. Topical retinoids can be used to treat acne, hyperpigmentation, smooth out the appearance of wrinkles, as well as reveal healthy glowing skin.
I am an advocate of retinoids, having tried everything from prescription strength formulas to OTC brands. The results were so incredible that I quickly become a junkie, and have added them to my nightly routine 3x weekly. I soon found out that less is more when it comes to using retinoids, as I quickly succumbed to becoming a victim PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation)
What Are Retinoids?
Retinoids are a group of compounds which are a synthetic derivative of vitamin A. When applied topically, retinoids convert to retinoic acid with the help of specialized enzymes found in the skin.
Types of Retinoids:
What Do Retinoids Do?
Retinoids have been deemed by some to be an anti-aging miracle cure. People always ask, “Does retinol permanently reduce wrinkles?” Or “ Does retinol make you look younger?” Here are the facts on retinoids, anti-aging, and other benefits of retinoids for the skin:
Are retinoids anti-aging? Simply put, the answer is yes. Retinoids will help slow down the aging process by increasing cell turnover, and building collagen in the skin which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. But if you're well into the aging process and have a significant amount of wrinkles, don’t expect retinoids to be a miracle cure. In this case, retinoids will help to smooth out the existing wrinkles, giving the skin a slightly tighter and youthful appearance.
How To Use Retinoids For Anti-Aging?
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when starting off on your retinoid journey. Retinoids can irritate the skin especially when used in high doses. If you are a novice, it’s best to start using retinoids in smaller percentages. As your skin builds up tolerance, then you can slowly increase to a higher percentage.
How Often Should You Use Retinoids?
In the beginning, it’s better to use retinoids 1-2x per week. Monitor your skin to see results. For seasoned retinoid users, I would advise 3-4x week at most.
Please be aware that retinoids can cause irritation, peeling, redness and even PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation). PIH is caused when the skin becomes inflamed and damaged, leading to scarring and dark marks that can be hard to get rid of. To avoid a case of PIH, I would advise anyone that is using retinoids to start slowly and use low percentages.
When To Use Retinoids In Your Skincare Routine
Retinoids can increase the skin’s sensitivity to light. Therefore, it’s better to use retinoids at night to avoid sun exposure. When using retinoids, please remember to always wear sunscreen during the day. I would recommend SPF 50 for maximum protection. Some people say that retinoids can be applied during the day. I highly discourage using it during the day, as it can cause hyperpigmentation especially with people of darker skin tones.
Other Things To Be Aware Of With Retinoids
Retinoids can lose their potency over time. Look for oil based formulas such as squalene rather than water based formulas, as water based formulas break down faster. Also look for packaging that is either in a tube, pump or airless dispenser to preserve shelf life.
Your skin develops immunity to Retinoids over time
The skin can develop resistance to skincare products in general, so it’s a good idea to switch up your skincare products from time to time. People develop a resistance towards retinoids over time. That’s why it’s not good to start using retinoids when you’re too young or start off with high percentages. Start off with the lowest percentage possible and work your way up. If not, retinoids will not work for you when you need them most.
Where Can You Get Retinoids?
Retinoids are used in many OTC products. So there’s no need to visit a dermatologist unless you have a severe skin condition. The most common forms of retinoids formulated in cosmetic products are: retinol, retinyl palmitate, and retinaldehyde.
Below is a curated list with some really great skincare products that contain retinoids. If you are looking to for something to add to your skincare routine or just getting started on your retinoid journey, these products are for you.
Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask
I love a good sleeping mask! This was first product that I ever tried from this Cult Brand. I’m always skeptical when trying new products, so I made my first purchase with caution.
The mask immediately soaked into my skin. I love this product! Its packed with all sorts of ingredients that help combat environmental aggressors and help restore aging skin. The key ingredients are: encapsulated retinol, avocado, niacinamide, and coffee berry. My skin actually drinks this up! This mask is extremely hydrating and smooths out fine lines when left on overnight.
The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalene
The results I’ve gotten from using this product actually took me by surprise. Before introducing this product into my skincare routine, I used to use Retin-A gel 0.05%. This product is less irritating than Retin-A. I love the fact that it’s in squalene, so there is an extra moisturizing factor. I apply it 3x week before my applying my night cream.
One of the most popular serums by La Roche-Posay. This serum is great for sensitive skin. It helps to fight the first signs of aging, by targeting fine lines and wrinkles. This serum also works to hydrate the skin and help with uneven skin tone/ texture. It also contains vitamin B3, which makes this serum a powerhouse!
Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum
This serum is packed full of goodness. It is potent mix of 1.5% micro encapsulated retinol, and powerful antioxidants (vitamin E & vitamin C). The time released retinol serum gradually releases retinol throughout the night. Non-irritating to the skin, this product is suitable for all skin types. It helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, as well as even out skin tone and smooths the texture of the skin. If you’re looking for a radiant complexion, then this is the serum for you.
Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment
This is an excellent treatment with 1% retinol. It contains other ingredients such as vitamin C, licorice root, and peptides. This potent cocktail helps to smooth fine lines, wrinkles, firms the skin and treats hyperpigmentation.
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