The Pros and Cons of Using Retinol

Retinol is just another name for vitamin A. While it used to be only available as a prescription medication, more and more commercial products that incorporate lower dosages and forms of retinol are now made available over-the-counter. These can be more gentle and easy to start with.

Woman applying serum looking at mirror reflection

What Is Retinol?

Retinol is just a different name for vitamin A. While it used to be only available as prescription retinoids, there are more commercial products that incorporate lower dosages of retinol. Retinols are widely considered the best products for skincare, contributing most through its anti-ageing properties. It has been clinically proven that they can rid the skin of wrinkles, reduce pigmentation and improve the texture of our skin.

However, some experts have also disagreed with the effects of retinol, citing that it could lead to a prolonged- damage to the skin barrier. There have also been some concerns about the long term carcinogenic effects of retinol. However, more human complaints are needed to confirm this claim since this study was done on rodents.

Before you start incorporating a retinol-based product in your everyday skincare, there are some pros and cons of using retinol on your skin that you should consider:

The Pros of Retinol

· A decrease in the marks of pigmentation

· Increased production of elastin and stimulation in collagen

· Retinol can also increase GAGS (molecules essential for hydration of skin)

· Youthful and healthy glow to any type of skin

· Smooth skin texture, lesser breakouts, bumps and blemishes

· Reduction in oil production on the skin

· The pores on your skin reduce in quantity and size

· Skin laxity improves

The Cons of Retinol

· Your skin’s sensitivity to the sun can increase. That is why if you’re using retinol, make sure you’re wearing a great SPF.

· There can be a mild peeling of your skin

· Retinol can also cause mild inflammation or redness on the skin

· Your skin might become unusually dry

· Your skin might start to feel warm

Our recommendation: start small

If you are convinced of the benefits of incorporating retinol into your skincare routine, we recommend starting out with a very low dose and slowly working your way up. Start with applying once a week, at night, for a week, then every other night for 2 weeks before going nightly after. You should also build your skin barrier with moisturisers that contain ceramides. Some of our favourites include the FIRST AID BEAUTY Ultra Repair Cream, CeraVe Moisturising Cream and Dr. Jart Korean Cosmetics Ceramidin Liquid.