Face it: every time you buy a new skin cream you take a leap of faith that it’s actually going to deliver. Well, the wait and watch is now officially over. There’s ample dermatologically certified proof that retinoids actually work, offering multiple skin benefits from boosting cell turnover and acne control to fading fine lines and improving elasticity.
For long line of celebrities, retinoid creams are now making waves as beauty must-haves for the well-informed and discerning women ’round town. In fact, what started as an effective anti-acne remedy in the ’70s has now transformed into a gold standard, age-defying ingredient that’s making its way into a host skin care creams and serums.
But what is retinol?
It’s a weaker, over-the-counter version of tretinoin, a prescription vitamin A derivative that works marvellously to reverse sun damage and ageing. Nykaa skin care expert, Dr. Dhimant Goleria says, “Tretinoin has several anti-ageing benefits. It’s proven to even out the skin tone, improves texture and tighten pores. It has an anti-ageing effect because it decreases the appearance of fine lines, stimulates blood flow and boosts collagen levels.”
Not convinced, yet? Here are our skin-saving reasons for investing in some retinol therapy now.
It’s kind to first-timers
With so many skin priming benefits, why does retinoid still have a scary rep? Its earlier avatar, tretinoin was abrasive, because it caused excessive skin dryness and irritation, but newer versions are choc-a-bloc with skin benefits and definitely worth a try.
Dr. Goleria says retinol creams are excellent for unclogging pores and speeding up cell turnover in as little as four weeks to reveal, fresh, clearer skin. “Tretinoin can be harsh but Retinol is much milder and better tolerated by most.
The results may not be as dramatic and the only precaution is adequate sun protection to protect the delicate new skin,” he says. He says synthetic retinols are a big no-no because they are very harsh on skin. Meanwhile plant-based retinols remove dead cells and boost collagen synthesis without damaging the skin’s delicate and protective lipid barrier. It’s a good idea to start with a night potion like Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair
and gauge the results for yourself.
It allows you to skip the specialist
Forget tedious trips to the skin specialist for prescription products. Some retinol formulations tackle different skin concerns from the occasional acne breakouts to the beginnings of pigmentation.
This is an all-encompassing over-the-counter product that yields impressive results, repairing everything from fine lines to patchy skin in one smooth application. The only caveat? Give the transformation three months because it takes that long for retinol to convert to retinoid acid, the key active ingredient.
It won’t make your skin sun-sensitive
Dr. Goleria says this is one of the biggest myths surrounding retinol creams. “Your skin would be equally sensitive to sun after you use a facial scrub,” he points out. So, you have two options: either use a retinol-based cream like Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer
at bedtime, or use one that’s formulated for the daytime, like Lakme Youth Infinity Skin Firming Day Crème
, and top up with sunscreen for added protection. It’s also a good idea to start using a retinoid cream in the summer when humidity levels are high so your skin doesn’t feel over-dry when the retinol’s effects kick in.
Your skin won’t get worse before it gets better
Thank the ‘new-gen’ retinoid formulations for this. Although now, while they may cause mild dryness and flaking, it’s nothing a little dab of makeup can’t hide.
To ease your skin’s transition, Dr Goleria recommends using a retinoid-based cream every alternate or third night till you’re comfortable using it every night. Another rule of thumb is washing and patting dry your face ten minutes before applying a pea-sized blob. If your skin feels taut, use a mild moisturizer over it.
When should I not use a retinoid cream?
Doctors stress that pregnant and breastfeeding women should stay away from all vitamin A derivatives including retinoid creams, sunscreens and serums because of the link to fetal abnormalities. Using it in combination with Benzoyl Peroxide and Alpha Hydroxy Acids can deactivate the formulation. Needless to say, women with ultrasensitive skin that peels or reddens excessively should also stop using a retinoid formula.