Using Retinol? Here are 7 Things to Know and Avoid
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Retinol helps reduce the signs of ageing by eliminating the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, building collagen, and enhancing the production of new skin cells for more youthful skin. However, products containing this powerful Vitamin A derivative should be used carefully. When used alongside some activities, skincare products, or skin conditions, there can be unintended negative side effects. 


1. Vitamin C

Unintended, negative side effects of retinol usage are dryness, redness and stinging. Simultaneously applying a Vitamin C-based product with a product containing retinol can irritate the skin. Vitamin C does not need to be entirely removed from your beauty regimen. It's simply best to avoid applying a Vitamin C serum while also using retinol—the exception is if the two ingredients are professionally formulated within a single product.


Smoothing Serum powered by Retinol

£60.00 | 30 ml / 1 Fl oz

Vegan. Prevent wrinkles, smooth existing fine lines and brighten dull skin. This light emulsion contains retinol as well as Vitamins C and E in liposome form, allowing key active ingredients—a combination of retinol and palmitic acid—to enter the deep layers of the skin.


Skin Refining Night Oil with Retinol and Vitamins C+E

£42.00 | 30 ml / 1 Fl oz

Vegan. This night oil for all skin types battles signs of ageing. Simplify your nighttime skincare routine and let the retinol oil work as you sleep. 


2. Chemical peels or laser treatments

Retinol's powerful anti-ageing effects are best experienced without interruption. Chemical, mechanical or thermal forces from skincare treatments or environmental origins can trouble the sensitised skin caused by retinol taking effect. Laser treatments are best avoided, as well as chemical peels. Treatments containing Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) or Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), induce exfoliating of the skin's deeper layers. Yet, in combination with retinol, serious irritation can result. If planning to do a chemical peel, stop using products containing retinol for at least 7 days in advance. Similarly, laser treatments 


3. Using retinol on wet skin

Sometimes, this instruction can be found on your retinol product itself. Applying retinol to dry skin reduces penetrative potential and therefore irritation potential. This is especially important for those with more sensitive skin. 


4. Going out without sunscreen

As the retinol takes effect, your skin may become sensitive as it adapts to the product. New skin cells are particularly susceptible to UV damage and skin burns more easily. Always wear sunscreen, even if it's the day after a night application of retinol. 

SIMPLE as that

SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen Lotion

£19.00 | 100 ml / 3.38 Fl oz

Broad-spectrum protection from the sun's UVA and UVB rays using Zinc Oxide as its active ingredient.


5. Dry and cold weather

Dry weather and cold weather—typical in winter—saps moisture off the skin, leading to redness, roughness and irritation. One of the effects of using retinol is the feeling of dry and flaky skin. Retinol is frequently miscategorised as an exfoliator for this reason. The true process is that of the skin adjusting to the effect of the retinoids, which are boosting skin cell turnover. The intensity of the adjustment period varies for each individual. However, common effects include redness, peeling, and irritation, summarily visible as a skin purge. If these side effects mix with dry, cold weather, the effects can feel devastating. Moisturising is the solution.

Kitchen Cosmetics 

Ultra-Face Crème

£14.00 | 60 ml / 2.11 Fl oz

Beautiful vegan ingredients form the basis of this three-times whipped creamy crème and all-year-round moisturiser. Medium to thick in texture, it penetrates deep into the skin, forming a protective layer before makeup.

6. Pregnancy

Pregnancy and retinoids should not mix. Retinoids have been clinically linked to birth defects in unborn babies. While these studies have mainly identified prescription retinoids as a cause of fetal abnormalities, it is best to avoid all topical retinol products in prepartum, or if planning to conceive a child. Use Vitamin C products in place of your retinol within your anti-ageing regime.

Dilkara Australia

Vitamin C Serum

£22.00 | 30 ml / 1 Fl oz

Through the inclusion of Australian Kakadu Plum, which has the world’s highest levels of Vitamin C, this silky serum deeply feeds and nourishes the skin. Australian Lavender and Organic Lemon Essential Oil add a brightening effect to the formula and spike the serum with a decadent scent.


7. Using retinol daily when starting out

Don't shock the skin by introducing retinol without giving it a period of time to adapt. To start with, apply only a pea-sized amount to the face at most once a week. With time, the skin will be able to handle larger amounts and will be able to tolerate retinol, allowing you to either apply it more frequently or use greater concentrations.

Neo Naturelle

Skin Repair | Face Oil with ALA + Retinol

£39.00 | 30 ml / 1 Fl oz

A skin repair face oil with a 5% concentration of Alpha Lipoic Acid to enhance the effect of retinol in the product. A powerful blend of nutrient-rich oils, including Sea Buckthorn, Rosehip and Hemp Seed oil, supports skin regeneration and makes this product easy to absorb. 

VIL Skin Care

Vitamin A Night Shift Repair Cream

£42.00 | 30 ml / 1 Fl oz

Vegan. VIL Skin Care's Vitamin A Repair Cream works hard whilst you sleep to perfect your complexion. The 2% Vitamin A Retinol works alongside 5% Glycolic Acid and 5% Lactic Acid to resurface the skin, reduce fine lines and leave your complexion glowing.

Nola Skinsentials

Fountain of Youth Age Serum

£18.00 | 30 ml / 1 Fl oz

Vegan. This all-star hydrator captures moisture from the air and binds it to your skin barrier, retaining a whopping 1000x of its weight in water. Anti-ageing retinol, soothing damask rose, avocado and meadowfoam oil give you dreamy skin with a luminous glow by morning.

Overt Skincare

The Smoother | Lift + Boost Serum

£36.00 | 30 ml / 1 Fl oz

This 2.5% Retinol serum targets troublesome imperfections right at the source. It evens and reduces skin issues by rapidly accelerating skin cell turnover, bringing forth vibrant and irresistibly smooth skin. Additional organic Jojoba Oil has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. Layered with Centella Asiatica to help soothe your skin.

Further educate yourself on the essential things to know when using retinol and retinoids. 


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Sharkey, L., & Cobb, C. (2020, September 1). 9 Retinol FAQs: How to Safely Use It, Benefits, Side Effects, More. Healthline.

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