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WHAT IS RETINOL AND
HOW DOES IT WORK?


What is Retinol?


You’ve probably heard of Retinol’s glowing reputation. The much-loved skincare ingredient is a favourite with dermatologists and beauty editors alike. However, it can often be difficult to separate Retinol fact from fiction. Luckily, we’re here to help! Here’s your guide to Retinol: why and how to apply it and what benefits to expect.

What is Retinol good for?

Retinol is a topical vitamin A derivative that has gained popularity for its anti-ageing benefits and for helping to treat blemish-prone skin. Available in a gel, cream or liquid serum, it’s a great addition to any skincare routine looking to clear pores and improve the look of wrinkles and other signs of ageing. ​

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What’s the difference between Retinoids and Retinol?

The term Retinoid refers to any Vitamin A derivative. Therefore, Retinol is just one of many types of Retinoid.



How does Retinol work?

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Retinol works to stimulate cell turnover and boost the production of collagen and elastin, which naturally slow with age. As collagen gives your skin its plumper, more youthful appearance, fine lines and wrinkles can appear more noticeable when production is on the decline. You may also notice your skin can appear thinner and dark spots and sun damage begin to form. ​


What does Retinol do for your skin?

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By increasing cell turnover, Retinol can encourage a brighter and more even-looking skin tone as well as reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also exfoliates to unclog pores, which can encourage breakouts and inflammation. ​


What does Retinol do for your skin?

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By increasing cell turnover, Retinol can encourage a brighter and more even-looking skin tone as well as reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also exfoliates to unclog pores, which can encourage breakouts and inflammation. ​

applying retinol cream

How to use Retinol

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It packs a punch and should be used carefully when first incorporated into your skincare routine. Depending on the percentage of Retinol in your chosen product, its likely your skin will need time to get used to this ingredient.  Therefore, always make sure you follow the directions for use on pack, normally starting with just 2 applications in the first week of use, upping that to 3 times a day in the second week. You can increase the strength and frequency to once a day as your skin adjusts. Some discomfort or peeling can be normal but if it is painful or irritating then reduce the frequency of use until your skin evens out again. If you have sensitive skin, you need to be extra aware and might be worth starting with a product with very low percentage of Retinol or one that specifically says it is suitable for sensitive skin. Waiting 30 minutes after cleansing your skin before applying can also limit irritation. As Retinols can encourage sun sensitivity, it’s really important you apply them at night and follow with sunscreen the morning after. ​

Our Retinol recommendations

To manage your expectations, Retinol can encourage your skin to appear plumper and younger-looking, but it can take time to notice the results. Stick with it for at least six weeks. Want to learn more about our radical Retinol renewal?  Book a complimentary 1-1 session with one of our Kiehl’s Skincare experts. Available via live video call or in-store, this 30-minute consultation will answer all your questions about this popular skincare ingredient. If time is of the essence and you only have a few minutes to spare, try our Healthy Skin Routine Finder. Crafted with our skincare experts’ knowledge, it shares a skincare routine that is personalised to your skin type. ​


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