Now that I’m paying more attention to my skin and decided to introduce new and effective products to my face routine, retinols couldn’t be left out. As I explained in my Top 3 Ingredients you want into your Skincare Routine, retinols are highly effective in reversing signs of aging, helping the skin to look and act healthy. It can diminish wrinkles, increase collagen production, fight acne, eczema, fade discolorations.
Retinol is a form of vitamin A largely used in over the counter skincare products, as it may cause less irritation than prescribed retinoids (like tretinoin – retinoic acid), because it needs to be first converted into retinoid acid in the skin. For that reason it also takes longer to show results, and a you need a higher retinol concentration than you would for the acid. But yes, unfortunately they can irritate your skin and you may have to build up tolerance to it.
I did go to my dermatologist in Brazil who prescribed me retinoic acid in a manipulated formula, however apparently they don’t do manipulated medicaments in the UK, so you need a prescription from your GP. My tube which contained 0.025% retinoic acid plus hydroquinone unfortunately got bad after I forgot it in the hotel in France when moving to London. (Plus, hydroquinone, a skin lightening agent, is prohibited in Europe in concentrations above 1%).
Well, before I can try to get a prescription from a doctor I still need to be assigned to (yes, standard bureaucracy!) I decided to start using my Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle cream that contains a small amount of retinol but it’s better than nothing! It is a very inexpensive formula that contains multi-vitamins and is moisturizing. I did not experience irritation with it and I’m using it every night. Another well formulated product containing retinol is the ROC Pro-Correct Anti-Wrinkle Rejuvenating Fluid with hyaluronic acid, which I bought for my husband as he has oily skin, and he did not experience any bad reactions either.
That’s a great way of easily introducing retinol to your skincare routine without experiencing bad reactions (well, hopefully!), and the continuous use will show skin improvement. It’s also nice to start with a low concentration then look for products with higher ones so you can build up tolerance slowly. Some people seem to be able to use high concentrations every day, some will only be able to use a couple of times a week and some seem not to tolerate retinols at all. That’s something we will have to experience ourselves to see!
I did use my prescribed retinold for around 20 days and experienced peeling and dryness, however I was amazed on how fast I got a glowing skin. I’ll definitely go back for a stronger product later on, than I will write another post on how my skin reacts to it and what we can do to make it better!