What is Retinol and is it safe for sensitive skin?
Retinol is a form of Vitamin A. When applied, our skin cells work to convert it into retinoic acid, which has been clinically proven to have benefits to skin health.
Though Retinol is known for its ability to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, when it comes to sensitive skin, it can cause irritation. Often when you first start using Retinol there is a ‘break-in’ period, when you can experience redness, peeling or dryness. For those of us with sensitive skin, we already have a compromised skin barrier, and so are more susceptible to these kinds of reactions.
How to use Retinol for sensitive skin
My advice would be to not over do it. It’s always very tempting to load on a product to see the results, but with Retinol this won’t work and will increase the irritation. If you want to introduce the product into your routine, always patch test it first and then do it slowly. Start with lower levels of retinol and then gradually build up if your skin responds well.
What other products to use with Retinol?
While your skin is adjusting to Retinol, try to avoid other products that can be irritating such as harsh soaps. Use a trusted non-irritating cleanser to prevent further irritation or dryness, such as our Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser. It’s also best to always use a sunscreen.
Use a really nourishing moisturiser to help address any sensitivity you might experience, and also to prevent the skin from any water loss. Our Age Confidence Cream contains Ectoine, which helps to address any irritation as well as Hyaluronic Acid to hold water inside the skin.
Make sure you think about the packaging when you’re choosing a Retinol product. Retinol breaks down with exposure to air and light, so pick something that has an airtight container and an opaque bottle.
How long does Retinol take to work?
It’s important to understand that Retinol does not have an instant effect. You won’t be able to see a difference overnight; it can take months to start seeing results so you need to be quite patient.
Is there an alternative to Retinol?
Our Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil is an alternative option to Retinol for sensitive skin types. Though it does not contain Vitamin A, it contains Beta-carotene, which is a precursor (inactive form) of Vitamin A. It means the body has to convert the beta-carotene into Vitamin A, which will not happen upon application to the skin (but rather when it is ingested). However, beta-carotene acts as a great antioxidant on the skin, helping to provide protection against free radicals such as UV light or pollution.
If you’re concerned about your intake it may be worth consulting a naturopath.