Britney Spears’ lawyer files request for new conservator of her finances
Britney Spears’ lawyer files request for new conservator of her finances

Jennifer McShane

All you need to know about Elizabeth Holmes’ unbelievable Theranos fraud case
All you need to know about Elizabeth Holmes’ unbelievable Theranos fraud case

Jennifer McShane

Millie Mackintosh opens up about her c-section experience and recovery
Millie Mackintosh opens up about her c-section experience and recovery

Sarah Finnan

Andie MacDowell: Why is my grey hair an issue and George Clooney’s isn’t?
Andie MacDowell: Why is my grey hair an issue and George Clooney’s isn’t?

Sarah Finnan

Looks like weddings of 100 guests might go ahead this August, under one condition
Looks like weddings of 100 guests might go ahead this August, under one condition

Lauren Heskin

Pink offered to pay the Norwegian beach handball team’s fine for not wearing bikini bottoms
Pink offered to pay the Norwegian beach handball team’s fine for not wearing bikini bottoms

Sarah Finnan

Long Covid: ‘I never expected chronic fatigue and its impact on my family’
Long Covid: ‘I never expected chronic fatigue and its impact on my family’

Jennifer McShane

30 life questions that will strengthen your closest friendships
30 life questions that will strengthen your closest friendships

Geraldine Carton

7 comforting films worth watching to take your mind off Covid
7 comforting films worth watching to take your mind off Covid

Jennifer McShane

Looking for an outdoor wedding venue? This Japanese Garden in Co Waterford might be it
Looking for an outdoor wedding venue? This Japanese Garden in Co Waterford might be it

Sarah Finnan

Image / Editorial

Thinking of using retinol for the first time? Here’s everything you need to know


by Holly O'Neill
03rd Jul 2020

Your ultimate retinol cheat sheet


Ready to get started on your retinol journey? With such an active ingredient, it’s best to take advice from the pros. Registered nurses and co-owners of Renew Aesthetic Clinics, Sinead Gallagher and Jeanette Dunne break down everything to know about using retinol.

Related: What is hyaluronic acid?

Where does retinol come from?

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and is used to revitalise the skin.

Is it known by any other name?

There are different types of retinols and many different products that contain retinol. Retinyl palmitate, retinol, retinaldehyde, adapalene, tretinoin, isotretinoin, and tazarotene are all various forms of retinol, which in turn are various forms of vitamin A.

What are the benefits of using it?

Retinol is the gold standard ingredient when it comes to reversing the signs of ageing. It has the power to increase cell turnover therefore aiding skin renewal so it reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Retinol targets skin discolouration and breaks up existing pigment and brightens and allows for a more even skin tone.

How does it work in the skin?

Retinol works to increase cell turnover, stimulate collagen and elastin production, fade hyperpigmentation and helps the skin stay hydrated. As we age our skin cell turnover slows down and by using retinol it encourages a healthy turnover. Retinol can treat and prevent everything from stubborn cystic acne and eczema to sun-induced wrinkles and dark spots.

Who should use it?

At the average age of 27 we start to see the signs of ageing and early signs of sun-damage start to show on the skin. The skin starts to lose elasticity and the free radical damage of pollution, ageing and sun damage start to show. Like everything, prevention is better than cure but it is never too late to start using retinol. We would recommend starting to add retinol to your regimen in your late 20s and from there on. As there are many different forms of retinol and different strengths, if you add retinol into your regime later in the ageing process it is important that you use a higher strength, i.e. 1% in order to reverse the signs of ageing.

Should anyone not use it?

Retinol is an extremely powerful ingredient and many people do find it difficult to tolerate. Luckily, there are many new, more innovative forms of retinol on the market and how it is used is vital to the reactions that may occur. You should only use retinol at night-time, using very sparingly initially, once or twice a week, and gradually build up the frequency in which it is applied. Always follow the instructions given by your healthcare professional where you purchase it and, if you are concerned, contact them to get advice on the application. You should never use retinol if you are pregnant as vitamin A is highly detrimental to a developing foetus and if you have any skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema you would need to consult your doctor before use. It is also very important that you wear SPF 30+ when you are using retinol.

Related: Everything to know about salicylic acid

Where does it come in your skincare routine?

When it comes to how to use retinol, use only at night. Follow these easy steps – cleanse, then apply retinol remembering that a little goes a long way. I know we’re all tempted sometimes to cake on the product, with the hopes that more product will equal better results. With retinol, that couldn’t be further from the truth. All you need is a pea-size amount to use over your entire face. Use it according to the instructions given and start slowly by using it once or twice a week. SPF the following morning is key as it can cause light sensitivity.

Is there anything it shouldn’t be mixed with?

As retinol can cause dryness and flakiness on the skin, you should use other active ingredients with care such as alpha hydroxy acids and if you experience any sensitivity you should pull back on using active ingredients. Also, if you have active acne and are using benzoyl peroxide to spot treat, you should only use one or the other, not both together as it will cause too much reaction. Most people experience dry, flaky, and peeling skin when used together. Retinol should be used cautiously.

Is there anything to look out for when shopping for retinol?

When buying retinol it’s important to know the % of retinol you are been sold as some people can get more severe reactions than others. Most over the counter retinols have a very low % of retinol and therefore won’t be very effective so when purchasing it is much better to get advice from a nurse or a doctor so they can prescribe a higher % and the best option for your skin type and explain how to use the product correctly. Encapsulated retinol will be slowly released into the skin avoiding the intense redness, dryness and peeling associated with retinol in its raw form, like Image MD. It is only used at night time. Don’t go mad using it every night, build up slowly. It will make your skin sun-sensitive so a good physical SPF every day is vital. It will cause more reaction around areas that have thin skin like the eyes and neck so be careful. Good quality retinol will show signs of improvement in your skin in about a week.

IMAGE Top Picks

Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum, 60 capsules for €90

What is it?

Encapsulated retinol equals no exposure to light and air meaning the potency of your retinol is preserved. The retinol in these capsules was found to be 76% more potent than its non- encapsulated equivalents.

What’s in it?

Wrinkle-smoothing peptides, moisture-barrier reinforcing ceramides, moisturising emollients plus retinol work hard to give you all the benefits of retinol with the added bonus of protecting against the dryness associated with it.

Image Skincare Ageless Total Overnight Retinol Masque, €89

What is it?

An overnight retinol mask to be used a couple of times a week in a thin layer that releases hydration for less irritation.

What’s in it? 

Marine collagen releases hydration continuously and the skin is protected against free radicals. Inflammation and oxidative stress is controlled and we’re giving bonus points for triple action time-released retinol.

Juliette Armand Retinoid C Serum, €39

What is it?

A powerful antioxidant serum that protects from free radicals while stimulating the cellular regeneration of the skin.

What’s in it?

Two powerful active ingredients that everyone should have in their skincare routine — vitamin A plus vitamin C.

Photography by Elizabeth Arden.

Have a skincare question or ingredient you’d like explained? Email your suggestions here.

Read more: ‘Each case is unique’: An expert’s guide to combating chronic acne

Read more: What is salicylic acid and do I need it in my skincare routine?

Read more: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley shares her €837 make-up routine

Also Read

EDITORIAL
You don’t have to love football to have been affected by the tragic scenes at the Finland Denmark game

There were heartbreaking scenes as footballer Christian Eriksen was given CPR at the European Championship game Questions have been raised...

By Amanda Cassidy

EDITORIAL
This is what happens when you hypersexualise young girls growing up

Who is demanding the fetishization of young girls anyway?”When I was working in my early twenties, and even my late...

By Amanda Cassidy

toxic
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis

EDITORIAL
Setting mental health boundaries: ‘I didn’t expect the level of anger it caused’

The entitled backlash when someone tries to set their own boundaries is concerning, writes Amanda Cassidy “One particular friend just...

By Amanda Cassidy

Mandy Moore pumping
EDITORIAL
Mandy Moore climbed an active volcano at dawn… while pumping

Hiking a mountain and breast pumping – now, that’s what we call multitasking at its finest. Mandy Moore enjoyed an...

By Sarah Finnan

EDITORIAL
Book gift ideas for every kind of reader

Anyone who said books and socks make for boring gifts has clearly never received a delightfully absorbing book or a...

By Amanda Kavanagh

EDITORIAL
‘In a public health emergency, why does so much of the post-pandemic talk revolve around drinking?’

No other European country is having the same public order challenges our capital city is experiencing, writes Amanda Cassidy I...

By Amanda Cassidy