Whether you’re looking for the formula to clear, glowing skin or simply exploring preventative or reactive skincare routines, chances are you’ve come across someone raving about retinol. Though retinol has become the gold standard for anyone in the beauty industry (and for a good reason), this trendy ingredient often comes hand in hand with questions galore. Wondering what it is, how it works, how to use it and more? We asked Canadian dermatologist Dr. Ari Demirjian our most pressing retinol questions to create an expert guide for the skincare lovers in all of us.
What is retinol?
Retinol is an over-the-counter version of a retinoid, which is a prescribed product, and is derived from vitamin A. “Retinol refers to one type of molecule, but there’s also retinoids, retinaldehydes and more,” says Dr. Demirjian. Our bodies naturally produce retinol but these levels decrease over time. So though retinol isn’t as potent as a retinoid, it’s a great way to introduce vitamin A into your routine.
How does retinol work and what does it do to the skin?
Retinol works its magic at a cellular level by speeding up your skin cell turnover, which slows down as you get older. With regular use, it can help reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles, dark spots and hyperpigmentation, leaving you with brighter, smoother and more vibrant looking skin. Retinoids are also known to increase collagen production, boost radiance and accelerate skin cell renewal, which all contribute to visibly reducing the signs of aging.
How should you incorporate retinol into your existing skincare routine?
“People think that since retinol is a rejuvenating product that it will also be moisturizing, but that’s not the case,” says Dr. Demirjian. “It can be quite drying. So start with the lowest dosage possible and test it on a small area of your skin for a few days to see if you can tolerate it.” He also notes to avoid highly sensitive areas, such as your eyelids or around the eyes. You may experience some redness and peeling, which shouldn’t persist. But if it does, Dr. Demirjian recommends giving your skin a break, starting with a lower dose again, and consulting your dermatologist before moving forward.
Should you change your skincare routine when using retinol?
“Ideally, you want to use retinol at nighttime and always use sunscreen during the day,” Dr. Demirjian says. “When dealing [with retinol], let the skin heal by using a hydrating moisturizer.” He also advises against over-exfoliating when using retinol to give the skin a chance to heal.
When and why should you start using retinol?
The general consensus on the best time to start using retinol is almost always in your late-20s or early-30s. The science behind this? Until your early 30s, your skin cell turnover rate is around 28 days, but this slows down to every 50-70 days once you enter your 30s. Starting retinol at this time is, of course, a preventative measure, but that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to start.
What are the benefits of using skincare products with probiotics?
Our skin is our largest organ, so it needs just as much nourishment as the rest of our body. And similar to our gut, our skin has a microbiome that works to protect and heal it. Using products with probiotics infused into the formula reinforces your skin’s microbiome and, ultimately, protects your skin barrier. Using a probiotic-infused product alongside retinol can work to soothe and counterbalance the possible irritating effects of retinol itself.
What are the benefits of Marcelle’s new Retinol3 + Probiotic Night Serum?
Made with Retinol3 complex, this serum combines a unique blend of three different types of retinol—pure retinol, natural plant-based bakuchiol to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots and signs of aging, and retinol-like peptides to improve the skin’s radiance and tone. This combination of retinol ingredients creates a clean* formula that’s suitable for all skin types, providing the best of both retinol and probiotics to leave you with supple, soft and smooth looking skin.
Are there general do’s and don’ts to know before adding retinol to your skincare routine?
Do hydrate and use a sun care product with a broad spectrum, and only use retinol at night. Don’t pick at your skin, it’s recommended to connect with your dermatologist to ensure you’ve locked down a routine that works best for you.
Learn more about Marcelle’s new innovative and accessible Retinol3 + Probiotic Night Serum here.
*See marcelle.com/en/clean for more details.