What exactly is retinol?
Retinol is a form of Vitamin A. It’s a hugely garlanded ingredient in skincare because multiple studies have shown it can stimulate collagen production, restore smoothness and fullness, improve skin density and minimise wrinkles. It’s brilliant for all of the issues mature skin faces. Used as part of a restorative skincare routine, it can help deliver fresh, glowing. dewy skin.
What’s the difference between retinol and retinoid?
Retinoid is the group name for several forms of the ingredient. Retinol is a lower concentrated version of retinoid. Retin-A is a prescription strength version. Hydroxypinacolone retinoate – which is what we use in our Intense Night Oil – is a gentle form of retinol.
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You can find hydroxypinacolone retinoate – a gentle, non-irritating form of retinol – in Votary Intense Night Oil and Intense Eye Oil.
How does retinol work?
It’s a multi-tasker. It speeds up the turnover of surface skin cells so that skin is more even-toned, fresher and smoother. It exfoliates dead skin to avoid pores getting clogged and to stop skin becoming blemished or congested. It stimulates collagen production to minimise fine lines. It increases blood flow to the skin for a more glowing complexion. Retinol triggers the skin into behaving more like younger skin. It’s the dream.
Is it a plant-based ingredient?
No. Retinol cannot be derived from plants. At Votary we use active, man-made ingredients when they are what’s needed to compound the power of natural pure plant oils to deliver performance results. There’s been lots of beauty buzz recently about ‘plant retinols’ but all forms of actual retinol are made in a laboratory. At Votary we don’t believe it’s currently possible to get the same impact and result from a plant derived ingredient.
Why do some people find it an irritant for their skin?
Like any potent ingredient, retinol can be tricky for some people. It can make skin feel irritated, dry or red, but that’s usually because it’s been used in too strong a format, has been used daily too quickly, or has been used without also using sunscreen.
When you first start using a retinol product you should use it two or three times a week and work up to daily usage when you are confident your skin is comfortable with it. Retinol also makes the skin more sensitive to UVA, so it can feel parched or become red when exposed to sunlight. I have always recommended daily SPF as it’s crucial for maintaining overall skin health, and it’s even more important when you start using a retinol-based product.
If you introduce it into your skincare routine in this way – gradually and in tandem with a high SPF – your skin should have all of the benefits and none of the irritation. I also suggest only using it on your face at night, to limit the possibility of irritation or sensitivity to sunlight. It’s also why I selected a particularly gentle retinol type – hydroxypinacolone retinoate – for our Intense Night Oil to minimise the risk of irritation. It’s cleverly designed to work while you sleep so you wake to smooth, fresh, plumper-looking skin.
Why is retinol good for my skin?
Retinol can reverse some of the signs of skin-ageing. It’s that simple. Wrinkles and fine lines are diminished, tone is evened-out, hyper-pigmentation is reduced, and skin looks fuller, brighter and smoother. It’s a powerhouse for ageing skin. Should I ever avoid using it?
Some studies suggest that it is best to avoid using retinol based-products when pregnant. Additionally, if your skin has flared-up, or if you have rosacea, eczema or psoriasis, it’s best to consult with your dermatologist before using any product which contains retinol. If you are using roaccutane, it is also best avoided.