Carly Argent

A is for Retinol

Carly ArgentComment

My work as a facialist incorporating the very best cosmedical skincare brands into my facials, exposed me to the benefits of Retinol many years ago. Thankfully, the high street and department store brands have followed suit and added this magical ingredient into their anti ageing lotions and potions.

But what exactly is Retinol and what are the benefits?

Quite simply Retinol is Vitamin A and to be utilised by the skin it needs to convert into Retinoic Acid like so:

Retinol converts into Retinal (Retinaldehyde) converts into Retinoic Acid

Retinoic acid in the skin speeds up cellular renewal and collagen production, leaving our skin:

  • Brighter

  • More evenly toned

  • Fine lines and wrinkles diminish

  • Pigmentation fades

  • Blemishes clear

With so many Retinol products on offer, which should I choose?

Firstly we need to distinguish Retinal (Retinaldehyde) from Retinol. Retinal acts up to 11 times faster than Retinol since it’s one step closer to being Retinoic Acid. This means when you read the % of Retinal it will be 0.06% as opposed to a rough equivalent of Retinol 0.6%. Don’t think you’re being short changed on your Vit A content, you’re not!

Retinol will often be blended with Climbazole, another magic ingredient that has been proven to improve the efficacy of Retinol. Squalane is also added to the mix to hydrate, it’s a powerful emollient that has a similar molecular structure to skin, which in turn accepts and absorbs it rapidly. We have our A Team blend but what % is right for you?

I use Medik8’s range of Retinol on my own skin and on my clients, they have an extensive range. In my opinion the +Intense range has made the original 3TR 6TR and 10TR seem redundant. + Intense utilises Climbazole and Squalane to boost the effects of Retinol without raising irritation levels. Set in an oil-based serum the consistency is light and the strength a touch stronger than it’s predecessor.

Medik8’s Retinaldehyde range is Crystal Retinal and is available in strengths 0.01%, 0.03%, 0.06%, 0.1%, set in a water-based serum-cream, it boasts direct antibacterial action, Hyaluronic acid and vitamin E for hydration.

  • Retinol 3TR + Intense £33.00 15ml

  • Retinol 6TR + Intense £39.00 15ml

  • Retinol 10TR + Intense £45.00 15ml

  • Crystal Retinal 1 £39.00 30ml

  • Crystal Retinal 3 £45.00 30ml

  • Crystal Retinal 6 £59.00 30ml

  • Crystal Retinal 10 £79.00 30ml

How often should I use it?

I always start my clients on Retinol 0.3%, introducing it slowly into the skin. The Retinol Introduction Routine is always this:

  • Apply after cleansing and before moisturising

  • Every 3rd night for 2 weeks

  • Every 2nd night for 2 weeks

  • Nightly

Sunscreen is a must when incorporating Retinol into your skincare! No ifs no buts! Broad Spectrum Physical SPF 30 minimum!

Once you’ve finished your bottle of 0.3% serum, see your facialist or skincare provider for an assessment before moving onto a higher strength. Remember to always introduce a higher strength slowly as above.