What is Vitamin A? Benefits of Using Retinol in your Skincare Routine


With all the skincare products and ingredients out there that claim to help acne and signs of aging, there’s one that’s been proven and approved by dermatologists. This is vitamin A, or otherwise known as retinol, retinoids, and retin-A. For those of you who don’t know, Vitamin A benefits the skin by targeting specific skin conditions.

What is Vitamin A?

Vitamin A (otherwise known as retinoid) is an active anti-aging ingredient present in many skincare products today. It’s a natural compound that is present in your body. This vitamin works to help your immune system, repairs tissue damage, and improves your eye health. The word “Retinoid” is actually an umbrella term that can stand for both retin-A and retinol. The latter is a derivative (and much weaker form) of Vitamin A.

How does it work for our skin?

In a nutshell, vitamin A benefits the skin through Retinoic acid, which works by stimulating the dermis layer (the bottom and deeper layers of the skin). This helps to encourage collagen production, regenerate new cells, and push out the old cells to the surface to reveal…new and clean skin!

When can I use retinol products?

Since retinol is known to help with anti-aging and acne-fighting, it’s an ingredient best suited for those with mature skin, adult acne, fine lines and wrinkles. If you’re reaching your late 20’s to early 30’s and onwards, using a retinol product can help your skin appear youthful and glowing. But if you’re in your early to mid 20’s, you can consider using an over-the-counter retinol for prevention and even for your acne.

How do I use retinol products?

Keep in mind that every product out there in the market have different percentages of retinol which can either help your skin or harm it. The highest can go over 2% while the lowest is generally in the range of 0.01 or 0.025%.

Another tidbit of info to keep in mind: according to the FDA, it’s not required for brands to disclose retinol percentages in their products, so definitely make sure you check the label to make sure you know how much vitamin A you’re getting! And one more thing you can’t use retinol if you are pregnant or breastfeeding so please keep that in mind.

Suggestions to Using Retinol

Method 1

If you’re brand new to using retinol, start off by slowly incorporating it into your night skincare routine. Wash your face with a cleanser, pat dry, and wait for around 3-5 minutes. This will help to make sure your face is completely dry and the retinol won’t irritate your skin. Afterwards, take a quarter sized amount of retinol, spread evenly onto the face and follow up with a moisturizer. This will help to rehydrate the skin and reduce any potential flakiness.

Method 2

This method is great for sensitive skin types trying out retinol products. Wash your face and moisturize as usual. Wait 30 minutes for your moisturizer to completely absorb into the skin. After 30 minutes, apply the retinol evenly onto your face. Be sure to avoid the eye and mouth areas! For this method, the moisturizer acts as a buffer so that the strength of the retinol won’t directly irritate your skin.

Method 3

A third method is to wash your face, pat dry, and mix in your serum or moisturizer with the retinol. Do this onto your palm before applying to the face. If you’re a beginner, this method is the most gentle way to introduce retinol for your skin without irritation.

Keep in mind that it’s super important to moisturize right after you use your retinol products. This will help to avoid peeling or flaking. Afterwards, apply sunscreen during the morning to avoid photosensitivity.

Some of my recomendations

drunk elephant a-passioni retinol cream

Drunk Elephant Retinol Cream is a really great retinol cream that actually works to smooth out the fine lines and wrinkles on the skin. The texture and feeling is very soft and silky and it immediately makes the skin feel soft and smooth and hydrated.

This retinol cream is very easy to apply; it comes in a tube which makes application sanitary and easy to apply just the right amount. You really only need a little bit to cover your entire face. After using this product for a short period of time, I was already impressed and excited. My skin was looking and feeling much plumper and more supple.

After using it for a longer period of time, my fine lines and wrinkles were significantly plumped and diminished. It also helped the overall tone and texture of my skin! Overall, this is a really great retinol cream that helps plump fine lines and wrinkles as well as help improve the overall appearance and feeling of the skin.

Paula’s Choice BOOST 1% Retinol Booster

The texture of this retinol product is thinnest I’ve encountered so far, and it contains multiple soothing ingredients (oat, licorice etc) and it works really well with most other products without being too heavy, greasy or balling up.

Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Anti-Wrinkle Retinol

This anti-wrinkle night moisturizer uncovers vibrant, younger-looking skin within two weeks of use.

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