Everything You Need to Know About Retinol

Everything You Need to Know About Retinol

Are you wondering how does retinol work? In this article, we will answer that question and MORE. We’ll break down the science behind this skincare superstar and show you how to make retinol a part of your daily routine for the best results.


When applied to your skin, retinol penetrates deep into the dermis to speed up cell turnover and boost collagen production. With continued use, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles diminishes and your skin tone evens out to give you a fresh and youthful look.


Versatility of Retinol

Retinol is ideal for everyone regardless of age, but there are a few exceptions. It can adversely impact individuals with sensitive skin if not used with caution. Pregnant women should also avoid the use of retinol.


Before applying retinol, always carry out a patch test to ensure you aren’t allergic to the formula.


If you are new to using retinol, start slow. Use only a small amount once or twice a week to determine how your skin reacts to the formula. As you build up a tolerance, you can gradually increase the frequency of use.


Understanding Retinol

When shopping for a retinol product, remember that retinol comes in various strengths that can influence its effectiveness and the results you achieve.


Types of Retinol Products

Over-the-Counter Retinol

Yes, you can purchase retinol products in drugstores and cosmetic counters. They are the mildest form of retinol, often found in serums. Serums are an effective delivery method as they are easily absorbed by the skin.


Medical-Grade Retinol

Stronger than over-the-counter options, but not as concentrated as prescription retinoids, medical-grade retinol can be found in doctors' offices and high-end medical spas. These products come in serums, creams, and gels.


Prescription-Strength Retinoids

Retinol that is a prescription strength is known as retinoids. They are available only via prescription. You might recognize names like tretinoin or brand names such as Retin-A.


The powerful prescription retinol products deliver results quickly, often within four weeks. However, they can cause skin irritation initially, requiring gradual acclimation before nightly use.


By understanding the different types and strengths of retinol, you can choose the best option for your skincare needs.


How to Find the Best Retinol for Your Skin Type

So you want to try retinol? Below are a few things to consider when selecting a retinol product for your skin type.


Packaging Matters With Retinol

Yes, how the retinol is packaged matters. The retinol formula is very sensitive to air and light. In fact, light can render it ineffective. Any retinol product you purchase should be packed in opaque, airless, or air-restrictive containers.


Choose Fragrance-Free

Fragrances in retinol products can increase the risk of irritation. To avoid unwanted side effects, choose fragrance-free options.


Avoid Drying Alcohols

Retinol can naturally dry skin so you’ll want to stay away from retinol products that also contain drying alcohols like SD alcohol and denatured alcohol. The combination can damage your skin and cause it to dry out.


Match Products to Your Skin Type

Retinol comes in a variety of formulas so you’ll want to match it with your skin for best results.

  • For dry skin, creams are generally best.
  • For normal to combination skin, lotions are suitable.
  • For oily or congested skin, serums or gels are ideal.


Consider Retinol Texture and Personal Preference

Choose a retinol product that feels good on your skin, integrates well with your skincare routine, and delivers the results you want.


If an over-the-counter retinol product isn’t delivering results after a few weeks, try a different one. Finding the right match might take some trial and error. What works for one person might not work for you.


In addition to retinol, other derivatives like retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde, retinyl retinoate, and retinyl propionate are common in skincare products. While retinol is the most researched, these alternatives can also be effective.


Remember that retinol works best when combined with skin-replenishing ingredients, skin restorers, and antioxidants. These supporting components enhance retinol's effectiveness and improve your overall skin health.


By considering these factors, you can find the best retinol product tailored to your skin type and personal preferences.


Retinol Benefits

Let’s explore the benefit of retinol for use by everyone - young or older.
The benefits of retinol are impressive.

  • Reduce wrinkles and fine lines: By boosting the body’s natural production of collagen, retinol smooths out wrinkles.
  • Even out skin tone: Retinol can fade dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
  • Improve skin texture: Retinol makes skin smoother and softer.
  • Unclog pores: It helps to keep pores clear, reducing breakouts.


Without a doubt, retinol is an impressive powerhouse for those seeking youthful, radiant skin. Even if you have acne or frequent breakouts, retinol can give you the smooth skin you have been dreaming about.


Retinol Burn (and How to Avoid It)

You have probably heard about how retinol can burn the skin. In fact, retinol burn is a common concern. It occurs when your skin reacts adversely to retinol.


Symptoms include redness, peeling, and irritation. Retinol burn is extremely similar in appearance and symptoms to a sunburn.


To avoid retinol burn, follow these tips:

  • Start Slow: Use retinol once or twice a week at first. Gradually increase the frequency.
  • Use a Moisturizer: Apply a hydrating moisturizer after retinol. This helps to reduce dryness and irritation.
  • Avoid Sun Exposure: Retinol makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, so only apply it before bed. Use sunscreen daily and avoid prolonged sun exposure.


If you experience retinol burn, don't panic. It typically lasts for a few days to a week. Keep your skin hydrated and avoid using retinol until it heals.


What Ingredients Can You Combine with Retinol?

Combining retinol with other ingredients takes its effects to a whole new level. However, some combinations should be avoided.


Here are some safe pairings:

  • Hyaluronic Acid: This is a great hydrator and skin plumper. It complements retinol by keeping your skin moisturized.
  • Niacinamide: This ingredient soothes and strengthens the skin barrier. It can help to reduce irritation from retinol.
  • Peptides: These work with retinol to further boost collagen production, enhancing the anti-aging benefits of retinol.


Avoid combining retinol with strong exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). These can increase irritation and sensitivity.


Best Retinol Product

There are many retinol products on the market. However, in our opinion one stands out: the Smooth Sailing Retinol Face Serum by Eight Saints. This serum is gentle yet effective. It combines retinol with soothing ingredients to minimize irritation.


Here's why it's the best:

  • Gentle Formula: It is designed for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
  • Hydrating Ingredients: It contains hyaluronic acid to keep your skin hydrated.
  • Soothing Additives: Ingredients like aloe vera help to calm the skin.


Using the Smooth Sailing Retinol Face Serum can give you all the benefits of retinol without the burn.


When to Use Retinol

Okay, so you have invested in a retinol product. Now you are probably wondering when to use retinol. Without a doubt, timing is the key to successful retinol use.

  • Apply it at night because retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
  • Nighttime application minimizes this risk.
  • Use it after cleansing and before moisturizing.
  • Start with a pea-sized amount and increase as needed.
  • Spread the retinol evenly across your facial skin.
  • Avoid the delicate area around your eyes when applying.


When to Start Using Retinol

You might wonder when to start using retinol. The answer varies. Generally, people in their mid to late 20s can start using retinol as an anti-aging preventative or to even out skin tone and fight against breakouts.


You can start earlier or later in life depending on your skin's needs. It’s never too early or too late to start using retinol.


When to Stop Using Retinol

There may be times when you need to stop using retinol. If you experience severe irritation, take a break.


Pregnant women should also stop using retinol.


Consult your dermatologist if you're unsure whether you should stop using retinol.


Retinol Side Effects

Typically, when applied topically retinol is safe. However, initially or with extra sensitive individuals, mild side effects can occur such as:

  • Redness
  • Peeling or flakiness
  • Sensitivity
  • A tight feeling


If you experience side effects then discontinue use or consider adjusting the frequency of retinol use. You can also buffer the retinol product with a moisturizer or facial oil to help soothe the skin. Typically, in time, your skin will build up a tolerance to retinol and you won’t suffer from any side effects.


Also, if you find that high concentrations of retinol are just too harsh for your skin then consider a lower percentage. You can drop down to 0.1% retinol and still reapthe benefits.


Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, retinol is a game-changer for your skincare routine. It offers numerous benefits, from reducing wrinkles to evening-out skin tone. Remember to start slow and use a moisturizer to avoid retinol burn. Combining it with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide can also enhance its effects.


If you are shopping for a highly effective retinal skincare product then we suggest trying the Smooth Sailing Retinol Face Serum by Eight Saints. The retinol serum is an excellent choice for beginners and seasoned users alike. Use it at night and enjoy the journey to healthier, youthful skin.