Let's talk...Retinol

Lets talk.....Retinol 🧐

The use of topical retinoids (vitamin A) in skincare was first introduced in the late 70’s. It has now become one of the most popular skincare products and is recognised for it’s outstanding role in prevention and treatment of skin ageing.

Benefits of Retinol:

✅ Increase collagen and elastin synthesis

✅ Reduce lines/wrinkles

✅ Smooth skin texture

✅ Even skintone & reduced pigmentation

✅ Prevent collagen degradation

✅ Exfoliation of dead skin cells

✅ Acne control

✅ Restore skin barrier

✅ Improve natural hydration

✅ Reverse skin sensitivity

Vitamin A comes in various strengths and formulations, the strongest form is dispensed on prescription and recommended for more short term treatment use (~5 months). These include natural retinoids such as Tretinoin (retinoic acid) and synthetic retinoids such as adapalene. They are used to treat more acute conditions or when a rapid, more aggressive result is required. Once the desired effect has been achieved we would switch to a maintenance regime using a long term retinol.

When you begin to use a retinoic acid, such as tretinoin, we anticipate a reaction. This can include redness, irritation, flaking and sensitivity which can be a little troublesome for some clients who are public facing a lot, and can be a factor putting some people off using it. It is important to remember that this reaction is good! It shows us the product is doing what we want it to and shows the skin is beginning to repair itself and function in an optimal way. It will calm down as the skin improves (usually ~4 weeks) and we can manage the severity of the reaction by reducing the frequency/strength of the product if necessary to suit your lifestyle. So you may wait longer for your amazing results but the downtime will be much more manageable.

Many medical skincare products and some over the counter products contain non prescription vitamin A in the form of retinol, retinaldehyde and retinyl esters. These are most effective when used continuously, and will take a couple of months for the benefits to become apparent. During this time however there will be noticeable improvements in superficial skin texture even within a matter of weeks. They can be used long term and should feature as part of your basic skincare regime.

Retinol is a precursor to retinoic acid so there is an extra step involved within the skin to convert it from one to the other. This means the reactions are much more manageable. This makes it an ideal product for use long term and as an addition to any skincare regime for both treatment and prevention. Some people will still get some of the anticipated reactions we expect with retinoic acid but generally on a much lesser scale and for a shorter time. Some people will not experience any reaction.

We expect maximum benefit of retinol use to be achieved around 8-12 months of continuous use. Once achieved we then reduce to a maintenence regime which may involve application just a few times per week. This will keep the benefits and prevention properties kept to their optimum.


All skin types will benefit from the addition of a retinol and it is seen as the ‘gold standard’ in anti ageing treatment and prevention. Whether you opt for a more aggressive and speedy regime involving retinoic acid, or a more leisurely and manageable journey with retinol ,is entirely dependant on how severe your prior skin condition is, your desired time frame to achieve, and your tolerance to put up with the anticipated initial reactions. Either way your skin will see huge benefits from the addition of vitamin A and we can discuss which product best suits your lifestyle and concerns.

🧴Important note - Retinol of any kind should NEVER be used without a good sunscreen, which must be used daily. If you have been keeping up with my blogs then this will already be a staple in your skincare regime! 🤗☀️

By Emma York

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