The benefits of Retinol in your 30s – and the sins to avoid while using it

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Hailed by skincare doctors and beauty insiders as the holy grail of good skin, Retinol is the key ingredient when it comes to fighting ageing.
So if you’re in your 30s and are starting to notice those fine lines, it’s important to incorporate a product with Retinol to help boost your skincare regime.
“Retinol is a type of retinoid, derived from Vitamin A. It’s highly effective at reducing fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the production of collagen,” explains Dr Rekha Tailor of Health and Aesthetics.


© Graham Snook Photography


“Retinol works by encouraging basal cells in the lowest layer of the skin to divide and as a result we see new epidermal cells working their way up to the skin’s surface. It helps to prevent collagen breaking down and thickens the deeper layer of skin to help prevent wrinkles.
“It’s worth bearing in mind however that retinol may not be for everyone and can exacerbate conditions such as psoriasis, eczema or rosacea if not used under a clear treatment plan provided by a cosmetic doctor or dermatologist. For that reason it’s worth knowing these simple sins about retinol in order to avoid them.


Sin 1: Guesswork



“While there is a plethora of products containing retinol available on the market, I would always advise to consult a specialist to ensure that you’re using the best retinol for your skin and doing so in a safe way,” says Dr Rekha Tailor. “Retinol products on prescription like ZO Skin Health are more powerful and work faster. However, prescription retinol also increases the risk of skin irritation which needs to be monitored by a doctor. For this reason it’s important that you never try to guess what retinol product is right for you and instead seek the advice of a qualified expert.”


Sin 2: Skipping SPF



“Exercise caution and always remember that retinol can cause skin sensitivity at any age,” explains Lizzie Shaw, brand manager at PCA Skin. “This is because it essentially re-trains your skin cells to turn over at a faster rate than usual. During the first few weeks of use the skin has to get used to it, which is when it usually appears dry, and can sometimes appear red and peeling. And so it’s vital that you never skip wearing a high factor spf when you’re using retinol, even if it’s cloudy and you’re staying indoors. PCA Skin’s Daily Defence Broad Spectrum spf 50+ is ideal for defending against both types of UV rays and recommended for normal and combination skin.”


Sin 3: Waiting until you’ve got wrinkles 



“I would suggest that rather than waiting until you’ve got wrinkles to use retinol you should start using retinol in your 30s, because that’s when your collagen levels typically start to decrease. It’s particularly good if you suffer from pigmentation or breakouts. For most people Retinol can be incorporated into your evening routine,” says Dr Aikaterini Charakida, Consultant Dermatologist and Dermato-Surgeon at EF Medispa. “Make sure your face is washed with a gentle cleanser and wait a few minutes for your skin to dry. Then take a pea-sized amount of retinol and starting at your chin apply it with your fingertips in upward and outward motions. Avoid using retinol in your morning skincare regimen and always use SPF when you’re using retinol because of the fact that it makes skin more sensitive to sun damage.”


Sin 4: Not applying retinol around the eyes



“There’s a common misconception that retinol cannot be applied around the delicate skin that surrounds the eyes,” explains consultant oculoplastic surgeon Elizabeth Hawkes at the Cadogan Clinic, Chelsea.. “However this is absolutely not the case and it is in fact a skincare sin to miss this delicate and very visible area, especially in the current climate where facemasks obscure the rest of the face leaving the focus on the eyes. In fact the skin around the eyes is commonly one of the first places to be affected by wrinkles and crow’s feet, for which retinol is ideal to help to reduce. Used regularly retinol will firm and smooth the skin under and around the eyes. Retinol creams such as the one from SkinCeuticals should be applied at night under and around the eyes, exercising caution not to go too close to the lash line. It’s important to note that while retinol is safe to be used around the eyes, it may not always be tolerated. It’s therefore best to start with a low dose. Start weekly and build up gradually to ensure tolerance.”


Sin 5: Mixing with Vitamin C



“I wouldn’t advise mixing retinol with Vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, and AHA/BHA acids,” Dr Rekha Tailor advises. “These acids exfoliate and dry skin and cause further irritation, and benzoyl peroxide cancels out retinol so there’s no point using them together.”


Here are some of our favourite Retinol products for 2020



Dermaquest Retexture Serum, £70



This lightweight serum uses 1 per cent retinol to thoroughly exfoliate and refine skin texture, while visibly reducing the signs of fine lines and wrinkles
Its nourishing formulation is ideal for those seeking the benefits of retinol, without the downtime or irritation that traditionally comes with over use.
Use once or twice a week to help repair early signs of sun damage and to hydrate, brighten and renew the skin.


Olay Retinol 24 Eye Cream, £19.99



This gentle but effective eye cream, available at Lloyds Pharmacy, is perfect for daily use before you sleep and helps to plump up the under eye area. It works by penetrating deep into your delicate skin surface around your eyes and gives you 24-hour hydration around your peepers.


Nuture Facial Treatment Serum, £15.99



Developed using an innovative combination of effective plant-based components, this spot-fighting formula contains a vegan alternative to Retinol which can help reduce early signs of ageing.
Formulated with super-potent actives including Centella extract, Arbutin and Bakuchiol, it contains a powerhouse of ingredients which can clear flare-ups without stripping the skin.


My Vitamins Retinol Soft Gels, £6.99



One of the most sought after beauty ingredients can now be found in supplement formula.
These capsules have an EFSA approved health claim, which is that Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal skin.
It’s claimed that, over time, these capsules can help to boost collagen and reduce wrinkles caused by sun exposure.


Priori Eye Cream Q+SOD fx230, £82



Arguably one of the industry’s most renowned skincare brands, this dreamy adaptive eye cream from Priori helps to protect sensitive skin areas whilst delivering powerful rejuvenating benefits.
The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles are reduced thanks to the antioxidant compound combined with Vitamin A for a smoother, more radiant appearance.
With 0.15% Retinol for skin resurfacing, the cream boosts hyaluronic and collagen responses, while Glycerin and Caffeine work to holds water and reduce puffiness or dark circles.



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