When Cherry Healey scientifically proved the various skincare benefits of Retinol in a BBC documentary, the industry saw many people switching their trusty AHA (Alpha-Hydroxy Acids e.g. Glycolic Acid) and BHAs (Beta-Hydroxy Acids e.g. Salicylic Acid) for a Retinol alternative.
As with any highly concentrated ingredient, there are various myths circulating the internet regarding the use of Vitamin A in skincare, so in this article we’ll be identifying fact from fiction.
Myth 1: Retinol acts as an exfoliator
Avid skincare enthusiasts tend to associate skin peeling with exfoliation due to the historic education surrounding at-home chemical (acid based) peels, but that isn’t the case for Retinol based skincare. In fact, when the skin looks a little red, dry or flaky after the initial application, it tends to be the result of a mild irritation and should subside with time.
While Retinol is a great choice and helps to plump the skin by encouraging collagen production, evens out pigmentation and smooths the complexion, an exfoliator should also be integrated into your skincare regime to ensure dead skin cells are buffed away and to avoid blocked pores – this can either be in scrub or acid-based form (e.g. Glycolic Acid).
Myth 2: The stronger the concentration of Retinol, the better
Retinol is extremely unique. Introducing too high a percentage of vitamin A into your regime too quickly (without medical recommendation) can in fact do the skin more damage than good, so it’s generally advised to gradually introduce it and increase the strength as your skin builds a tolerance.
The Super Facialist Retinol+ range is a great choice for those experimenting with adding this hero ingredient to their regime for the first time, or those looking to re-introduce it, as the percentage of Retinyl Palmitate included in each product is mild enough to combine multiple products, but strong enough to witness anti-ageing benefits.
Myth 3: Retinoic acid and Retinol derivatives work in the same way
With so many options on the market, it can be a little confusing, but one important thing to note is that you can only access products with Retinoic Acid through a medical prescription. This is because the pure form of Retinol is extremely effective at treating acne/reducing wrinkles and has been scientifically identified as pharmaceutical, so cannot be sold within the beauty industry.
Retinol derivatives, most commonly Retinyl Palmitate, are the form of Vitamin A featured within most high-street products, as they provide the fewest side effects due to their mild (but buildable) concentration. Derivates works their magic upon contact with the skin, where they transform into a small amount of Retinoic Acid.
The level of Retinol included in both our Anti-Ageing Day Cream and Night Cream is measured at 0.1%, while our Retinol+ Restoring Serum includes 0.01% Retinol – which is the equivalent of 0.018% Retinyl palmitate.
Myth 4: Results are fast
Sadly, there is no instant miracle where skincare products are concerned – Retinol based products usually take anywhere between 4-6 weeks upwards to start noticeably impacting the skin.
Stick with it though, as in time, the increased speed of cell turnover witnessed through regular Retinol application will help to firm, smooth and rejuvenate the skin.
Myth 5: Retinol should only be used if you’re 30+
While the target consumer for this type of skincare collection is 30-40 years old (those witnessing the first signs of ageing onwards), Retinol can be hugely beneficial for a wide range of ages.
In fact, it can positively impact those in their early 20s with blemish prone skin (in moderate doses), as this multi-tasking ingredient not only minimises fine lines and wrinkles but also helps to even out skin tone, unclog pores and tackle excess oil production.
Interesting fact: retinoids have historically been prescribed in their pure form as a remedy for acne prone skin.