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Kiehl's Retinol Fact V Fiction

Whether you’re a first-time Retinol user or you’ve been taking advantage of this skincare ingredient’s anti-ageing benefits for a while, it’s time to know your facts about Retinol. Discover the truths and myths about Retinol to learn how to minimise Retinol side effects and upgrade your anti-ageing skincare routine!

Fact: Retinol Helps Visibly Firm Skin and Diminish Wrinkles

Retinol is touted for its visible anti-ageing benefits for skin largely because Retinol is known to help build collagen reserves, which in turn can help to delay the look of wrinkles and to keep skin looking firm for a supple, smooth feel and youthful appearance.

Fiction: Retinol is Only Recommended for Visibly Aged Skin

Retinol is a potent anti-ageing ingredient, but it is not only for visibly aged skin! This potent ingredient can be incorporated into a skincare routine to help delay visible signs of ageing including fine lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness or other signs of ageing to help maintain a youthful appearance. This is precisely why we recommend incorporating a Retinol-enriched serum into any skincare routine even before visible signs of ageing appear to see anti-ageing benefits while minimising the risk of discomforting Retinol effects, which can include visible redness, dryness and peeling.

Fiction: Retinol Thins the Skin

The idea that Retinol thins the skin is another myth about Retinol. This is a common misconception which likely comes from the fact that one of the Retinol side effects is causing the skin to peel due to its skin-renewing effect. Retinol actually stimulates skin renewal, which can help the skin create and bring more fresh, new cells to the skin surface more quickly, thereby causing the older skin cells to flake or peel away from the surface for a visibly smoother texture. Retinol is also shown to support skin’s collagen reserves. This is what allows Retinol to help keep the skin visibly firmer-feeling, smooth and younger-looking.

Fact: There are Different Forms of Retinoids

Pure Retinol is a type of Retinoid, which is a derivative of Vitamin A. Topical Retinoids come in two different forms: prescription and over the counter. The main difference between prescription and over the counter forms are the type of Retinoid and the level of potency, which plays a role in the level of results you’ll see, but also the possibility of Retinol side effects.

Prescription vs. Over the Counter

The prescription forms of Retinoids prescribed by a dermatologist include Tretinoin, Isotretinoin and Adapalene. These are potent, readily active and used to treat a variety of skin conditions, such as acne, in addition to treating anti-ageing concerns and photodamaged skin. Over the counter options are more popular and easily accessible. These include Pure Retinol and Retinol compounds, which are mild forms of Retinol that require conversion by the skin to become active, such as Retinaldehyde (Retinal) and Retinyl Palmitate. Within the over the counter category, you can find formulas with different percentages of Pure Retinol or combinations of Retinol and Retinol compounds. Consult your dermatologist if you have questions about the best form of Retinol for your skin!

Fiction: Only Higher Percentages of Retinol are Effective

When searching for the Retinol formula for you, keep in mind that the percentage of Retinol in a formula is not all you need to pay attention to. It's important to note that Retinol formulas with higher percentages don’t necessarily deliver the highest results, as the formula could be made up of combinations of Retinol and Retinol compounds as opposed to Pure Retinol.

Pure Retinol vs. Retinol Compounds

Instead of simply looking at percentages, you should also be mindful of the type of Retinol and other active ingredients within the formula as these will help ensure you’re able to incorporate Retinol into your daily routine with minimal discomfort.

Pure Retinol is the most efficacious form of Retinol to look for as opposed to more mild forms such as Retinol compounds, but, especially for first-time Retinol users, higher percentages of Pure Retinol can also increase the likelihood of Retinol side effects including visible redness, dryness and peeling.

Fiction: Retinol Isn’t Safe for Daily Use

Due to the Retinol side effects, it’s commonly assumed that Retinol shouldn’t be used daily from the beginning for first-time Retinol users. Typically, once the retinisation period has passed and you’ve built up your skin’s tolerance to Retinol, it’s safe for daily use. As with every skincare product, always remember to follow the directions of use.

Fiction: Sensitive Skin Types Shouldn’t Use Retinol

Those with sensitive skin types can use Retinol, just remember check the recommendations for the exact product that you’re using.

Fiction: You Can’t Use Other Active Ingredients with Retinol

It’s not entirely true that you can’t use other ingredients with Retinol. Vitamins C, E, Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid pair well with Retinol as do Ceramides and Peptides. Typically, using exfoliating acids with Retinol should be implemented carefully and used as part of your night-time routine, as exfoliating acids can increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun. For instance, once your skin is tolerant to your Retinol dosage, a gentle acid at a low concentration, such as Glycolic Acid or Lactic Acid may be incorporated a few times a week to help remove flaky skin to supply a smooth skin surface for Retinol application. As always, don’t forget to incorporate the best sunscreen for your skin type into your daily routine!

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