Without fail, every dermatologist we’ve spoken to in the past year has told us to use retinol (aka retinoids, Retin-A, granactive retinoids). Whether we’re asking for advice on dealing with oily skin, acne, uneven skin tone, aging or just how to get healthy, glowing skin, they’ll always name drop this miracle ingredient and insist that retinol is the answer to all our skincare problems.

What is retinol?  

Retinol and Retin-A are a form of vitamin A. They’re referred to as retinoids, but they are a slightly different type of vitamin A. Dr. Day explains that there are “Several forms of vitamin A which are used in skincare products, the most common types are retinol, retinyl esters (e.g., retinyl acetate, retinyl propionate, and retinyl palmitate), and retinaldehyde.

How does retinol work?

Retinols act on specific receptors, or targets in the skin, which helps to promote more normal maturation of skin cells. They also promote collagen production and lots of other healthy processes in different layers of the skin to help your skin look and feel healthy and smooth.

Retinol for Acne, Scars and Hyperpigmentation 

Acne: “Retinol isn’t an antibiotic, but what it does in acne is help the skin cells that line the pores to turnover more normally, which helps avoid clogged pores and this helps prevent the pimples and blackheads of acne. 

Sun damage/wrinkles: According to Dr. Day, “Retinols can help reduce sun damage effects in the skin. It helps make the deeper layers of the skin ‘thicker,’ boost collagen production, and it also blocks an enzyme called collagenase that’s triggered by the sun to breakdown collagen.”

Hyperpigmentation: “Retinols may act on various pathways of pigmentation and normalize those pathways as well as normalizing skin cell turnover. These effects lead to smoother, more even skin tone and radiant skin. 

When should you start using retinol?

When you introduce retinol into your regime (which, btw, should be in your 20s) an over-the-counter product is fine, however, when you turn 30.

We hope you enjoyed reading and will use retinol for best skin.