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What is retinol and what does it do for your skin?

The wonderful ingredient retinol is used in many skincare products. But what exactly does it do for your skin and when do you need retinol?


Read all about retinol: the skincare ingredient that is going to make a difference.


Retinol is a form of vitamin A added to various skincare products, and is known to improve skin texture. Hence, it is considered the ingredient to fight skin ageing. It stimulates skin renewal from the inside out, quickly fading fine lines, spots and scars. It can also help you with the external signs of acne. So a product containing retinol can be a wonderful addition within your current skincare routine and contribute to a healthy and even complexion.

At what time of day do you use retinol?

Retinol is a slow molecule: it needs time to get into the right layer of skin. For this reason, it is often recommended to use products containing retinoids in the evening, so that your cell renewal can get a boost during the night. It can also make the skin a little thinner and more sensitive, which can make it vulnerable to the sun during the day, for example. Therefore, in combination with retinol, always use an SPF during the day.

Here's what to watch out for when using retinol

When using retinol, always make sure to build up slowly so that your skin can get used to it. Start with one retinol product and use it every other day for the first week, for instance. If you notice that your skin is still restless after two weeks, we advise you to stop using it and seek advice from our experts.

Furthermore, it is important to moisturise the skin well when using retinol, as it renews the skin and can therefore dry it out. Go for a rich care product with, for example, hyaluronic acid in it, so that your skin's moisture levels are well maintained.

Also watch out for over-exfoliation. Retinol exfoliates from the inside out and another exfoliator or peel - which works more on the top layer of the skin - can then actually irritate the skin more and make it more vulnerable. Good Genes by Sunday Riley and the Enzyme Peel by Susanne Kaufmann are mildly cleansing exfoliators and do work well with retinol.

Here's how to start applying retinol

Sunday Riley's Luna Sleeping Night Oil contains the perfect dose of retinoids to start with. The blue oil becomes transparent on contact with the skin and goes to work overnight for soothed, even and glowing skin in the morning.

Verso's Super Facial Oil is also a good option for retinol rookies. Skin cells are "activated" without irritation to promote collagen synthesis, accelerate cell renewal and boost the skin's metabolism. A wonderfully nourishing, rich oil suitable for all skin types.

If you are already a retinol pro, Verso's Super Facial Serum is perfect for you. The powerful and high dose of Retinol 8 in this serum enhances the anti-ageing effect and gives cell renewal a real boost. The result? Healthy, strong and youthful skin.

Retinol as an anti-ageing powerhouse

Want to use retinol as a true anti-ageing powerhouse? Then use it in combination with vitamin C, allowing it to do its job even more powerfully. A combination of these two ingredients not only stimulates cell renewal, but also the production of collagen and elastin. Kat Burki's Retin-C Treatment Complex makes it extra easy for you by offering these ingredients together in an effective formula.

The best retinol eye care

Reducing fine lines near the eyes? Then go for a product with retinol specially formulated for the delicate skin around the eyes. Kat Burki's Intense Recovery Eye Serum or Dr Brandt's 24/7 Retinol Eye Cream are highly recommended. The latter also contains a beautiful crystal complex with light-reflecting properties, for an extra bright eye look.

Retinol for men: what do you need to know?

Men's skin is a bit thicker and usually has slightly different needs, due to shaving for example. Especially for men looking for an efficient and luxurious product, there is The Grey's 3-in-1 Face Cream. An innovative and advanced total package for today's man, with a unique blend of retinol, peptides, blue sea kale and antioxidants. A delicious face cream that repairs, hydrates, rejuvenates and protects.

Still finding retinol a bit exciting and looking for an alternative? Then go for an organic product that offers the anti-ageing benefits of retinol but does not pose the risk of irritation. Patyka's Repair Night Serum is a good option in this case. The rosehip oil in it is also a source of vitamin A and will be recognised by the skin as a form of retinol. You use this lovely oil as a 21-day night treatment, without another cream on top. After a week's break, repeat this treatment, and after three months your skin will be youthful as never before.

Note: Are you pregnant? Then we do not recommend using retinol. This, because retinol can make the skin more sensitive to UV light, which can cause skin discolouration and pigmentation.