During my incessant research sessions to find out which the best active ingredient for my skin is – in order to preserve it at its best as long as I can and to avoid the use of syringes or scalpels in the future – I became passionate about the topic of Retinol. In the last year, in fact, this form of vitamin A has been a recurring protagonist of my studies. As an incurable skincare lover, after reading hundreds of studies and researches, dozens of beauty bloggers’ posts and watching dozens of video-testimonials of women who have been using it for just over 30 years, I have elaborated some personal conclusions that I would like to share with you here.
1) It is one of the most effective ingredients in combating wrinkles, crow’s feet, scars, photo-aging and age spots.
2) It was widely introduced as a cure for acne many years ago and only later it was discovered that as a ‘side effect’, it made the skin smooth and spotless.
3) The one available on the free market is Retinol, usually in very low dosages, while the stronger version is called Retinoic Acid and is prescribed exclusively by dermatologists.
4) It is essential to use Retinol and Retinoic Acid only in the evening, to avoid any contact with sunlight – just imagine being a vampire – and you must wear a high sunscreen (which should always be done, but at more reason in this circumstance given the photosensitivity that follows).
5) Many women who have been using it for years (I am referring to all the testimonies I’ve read of women living in the United States, where the attention, the diffusion, the availability of instruments aimed at improving your appearance and the sharing of information are wider) state that it is essential to introduce the use of Retinol at a young age, many recommend even from the age of 25, as it would lead to better results to intervene in a preventive manner at the onset of wrinkles and spots. Reading all these testimonies have made a little wavering with my conviction that the most ‘active’ ingredients should be used only after the age of 50.
6) If in the case of Retinoic Acid, it is essential the consult of a dermatologist, it is advisable to consult one even before using over-the-counter products based on Retinol, just to make sure that they are right for you.
7) Many people after the use of Retinol, even in small percentages, can experience severe redness, sensitization, and scaling skin. These are usually normal phenomena that are resolved by lengthening the intervals between one application and another: I read about women who use it only once a week and others who apply it without problems every night (once again the opinion of a specialist, in addition to your field practice). Also, in this case, the web is full of resources to remedy these reactions: from the use of Clarisonic to eliminate all traces of desquamation to the contemporary use of super-moisturizing balms. But the message is unequivocal: do not give up, the reactive skin phase will pass and you will be satisfied with the results.
8) Your skin needs to get used to this ingredient, so start with caution and increase the frequency until you tolerate it (however, never more than once a day) and do not be discouraged.
9) My personal experience so far is limited to the sporadic use of the Redermic R cream from La Roche-Posay. The characteristic is that the Retinol content, at 0.1%, is released gradually making this cream also suitable for the most sensitive skin like mine. Personally, I came to use it even three nights in a row without having any adverse reaction. After an intermittent use for a few weeks, I can say that I have noticed an improvement on some small scars.
10) If you are looking for the definitive push to introduce Retinol in your skin care routine I recommend you the Youtube channel Melissa55, a smiling lady who lives in the South of United States. She has used several products with different concentrations of this active ingredient for many years as unique skin care, no botox, no filler, no dermabrasion, nothing else. If you are not bothered to watch these videos just go see her Instagram greed and admire her beautiful face ( and neck ): she is 63 and you will not believe it!