Retinol. It is one of those buzzwords that is thrown around a lot in the skincare community, and for good reason! It is one of those products that we will shout from the rooftops about. Retinol can absolutely transform your skin, if (and it’s a big ‘if’) you do it correctly.
There are different strengths of retinol products and to get the best results, you have to know which one your skin is going to love. If that seems overwhelming, that’s why we’re here! Let’s break it all down…
What is Retinol?
The thing to remember here is that the world of retinoids is a complicated one. There are a bunch of different types and concentrations. We’re going to focus on retinol, which is derived from vitamin A.
On most retinol products, you’ll see a retinol percentage. That is the strength of the product and is super, super important to take a note of. More on that later…
Our vegan retinol products are Encapsulated Retinol and we’re a bit biased, but we think that’s the only way to do it. The retinol is enclosed in tiny capsules which allows the active ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin layer before being activated. This is perfect for sensitive skin, as it maximises skin benefits while minimising dryness, irritation, and flaking on the surface of the skin, sometimes a side effect of traditional retinol.
Why Use Retinol?
The list of results you’ll see from introducing retinol into your skincare routine is just about endless. It has anti-ageing and acne-fighting powers, and resurfaces the skin by speeding up cell turnover, giving you an IRL Instagram filter glow.
It also stimulates collagen production to plump fine lines and fades any acne scars or hyperpigmentation from sun exposure. You’ll also see improved skin texture and tightened pores.
And just because we like to go the extra mile, our retinol products contain tomato extract to regulate oil production and fight free radicals, carrot seed oil for anti-ageing benefits, and sunflower oil to strengthen the skin barrier.
You will start to see results in 2-3 week with the possibility of some redness and slight peeling, but as long as you’re using the right strength retinol, it is nothing to worry about.
Which Retinol Strength to Use
There is a misconception that retinol is always too harsh and irritating, which is usually a sign that the product is too strong and the skin is not used to it. While you may experience some slight sensitivity when you first start using retinol products, this is just the increased cell turnover. Your skin will become accustomed to it and you’ll be seeing those amazing results in no time.
The golden rule to see results without irritation is to start low and slow. Think of using retinol like running a marathon - you have to train your skin! We’ve developed four levels of retinol strengths; 0.25%, 0.5%, 0.75%, and 1%.
Without fail, we tell all of our customers to start with the Level 1 Retinol, which has a retinol percentage of 0.25% (experts agree that you will struggle to see results with a lower concentration than this). If you are new to retinol or our retinol products, starting with the lowest concentration is going to seriously lower any risk of sensitivity or redness.
Another thing to remember is that retinol is a treatment - don’t think of it like a moisturiser you can slather on twice a day. Use just a pearl sized amount every second night after cleansing. Then you can go ham with your moisturising lotion or oil.
After finishing the first level of your Encapsulated Retinol, if any redness or peeling has stopped, then you’re ready for the next level - congrats!
If you’ve got sensitive skin, you will probably want to stay around the Level 1 or Level 2 mark (and patch test before you start), whereas if you have oily or thicker skin, you’ll probably be able to tolerate and see results from a higher retinol percentage. In a nutshell, it is a super personal thing, so just go slowly to see what works for you.
You don’t want to be messing around with strong retinol products if your skin is not ready for them, or you can risk long-term irritation, itchiness or flaky patches. Don’t stress though, if you start slowly and build your way up, your skin will become just as obsessed with retinol as we are and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!