The 8 most Googled questions about retinol answered

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Intrigued by beauty’s most hyped ingredient, but not sure where to start? We’ve rounded up the most searched for retinol questions and put them to the experts…

When it comes to beauty ingredients there are few more likely to invoke fear than retinol. 

Folklore and misinformation outweigh the facts and therefore lots of us choose to avoid retinol completely, instead of embracing it as one of the most important beauty ingredients to have in your arsenal.

In order to separate the retinol fact from fiction, we rounded up the most searched for questions and put them to skincare experts Dr Preema Vig and Dr Irena Daniels.

  • 1. What is retinol?

    “Retinol is a type of vitamin A,” explains Dr Daniels. 

    “There is a big family of different types of vitamin A that deliver different compounds so it can come in lots of different forms of skin products.

    “Retinol helps to minimise the appearance of wrinkles, increase elasticity, smooth texture and reduce the oil in the skin, which is why it is good if you have blemish-prone skin. 

    “It is also useful for reducing the appearance of sunspots and pigmentation.”

  • 2. How do I use retinol?

    “Retinol should always be applied at night after cleansing the skin,” says Dr Vig.

    “When using a retinol product, it is important to start using it in small doses,” adds Dr Daniels. 

    “Starting with once a week, gradually incorporate it into your skin routine on a more regular basis. 

    “This can then be built up to a couple of times a week or more.

    “If you have never used it before and try using it more than once a week you will find that the skin will be more prone to irritation, such as redness and possibly peeling of the skin.”

    Try introducing retinol into your nighttime routine with a soothing formula like La Roche-Posay’s Retinol B3 Serum.

    The serum balances the efficacy of retinol with hydrating glycerine and soothing vitamin B3 – just the thing for sensitive skin.

  • 3. Does retinol work?

    “100%! Retinol is clinically proven to help with many skin conditions,” says Dr Daniels.

  • 4. Is retinol good for skin?

    “There are very few people who are unable to use retinol due to the sensitivity of their skin,” says Dr Daniels.

    “It is advised that those who are pregnant and breastfeeding should not use it during this time.

    “I would recommend that you look for a retinol with 0.2% and begin to gradually build this up over time. 

    “However, it’s important to find the right retinol for your skin concerns – and ideally consult a dermatologist.”

  • 5. Can you use vitamin C with retinol?

    “Yes, you can use vitamin C and retinol together,” says Dr Vig. 

    “Neither product makes the other ineffective. However, laying the products on top of each other may increase skin irritation and redness.” 

    “It will be more effective for the skin if you use retinol during your evening routine as you will give it plenty of time to penetrate the skin’s surface,” adds Dr Daniels.

    “Then use vitamin C as part of your morning routine.”

  • 6. How long does retinol take to work?

    “I always advise waiting 12 weeks after consistent use to see results from retinol,” says Dr Vig.

    “You will start to notice improvement in the skin’s texture first. 

    “It will take longer to notice fine lines and wrinkles softening.”

  • 7. Can you apply retinol under eyes?

    “If you apply normal retinol to this area you will get a lot more dryness, irritation and the side-effect will be more extreme than on the rest of your face,” says Dr Daniels. 

    “I would suggest looking for an eye cream that contains retinol instead of using your usual retinol on this area.”

  • 8. Does retinol thin the skin?

    “Retinol may thin the skin,” says Dr Vig. 

    “However, when used properly and making sure that the skin has time to optimally increase skin cell turnover, the ingredient can actually thicken the skin which helps soften fine lines and wrinkles.”

Introduce retinol to your nighttime routine with La Roche Posay Retinol B3 Serum.