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Retinol guide for beginners

The Foolproof Guide to Adding Retinol to Your Skincare Routine


Retinol is a big name in skincare, and the reason is, it’s the real deal. A powerful skincare ingredient which can enhance skin’s collagen production, and lead to a visible reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. It also has a reputation as an irritant for those with sensitive skin, but we’re here to dispel the rumours and show you how simple it can be to add retinol to your routine for great results.


What is retinol?


Let’s start at the very beginning, what exactly is this wonder ingredient? Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and starts off as retinol esters, before being converted to retinoic acid. Types of retinoids like Tretinoin, Isotretinoin and Adapalene are stronger than retinol and are only available via prescription from a doctor. The main difference between retinoids and retinols is the way the skin can use them. Retinoids are already a type of retinoic acid and immediately get to work, but as they’re stronger and quicker, they can cause irritation. Retinols on the other hand, must be converted by the skin to retinoic acid – this process takes time but allows the skin to get used to the formulation, preventing side effects.


Why should I use retinol?


The anti-ageing powers of retinol are unparalleled, it works by accelerating cell turnover meaning dead, dull skin cells are replaced with newer, plumper cells more regularly. Retinol helps to smooth away fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin tone and fade dark spots. The powerful exfoliating action improves skin texture and radiance, while it also has an antioxidant effect helping to support skin repair. It can also help to fade blemishes and large pores, and balance oily skin. 


When should I start using retinol?


Retinol is good at fading lines, but it also works to reduce the formation of new lines. Skincare professionals usually recommend introducing a retinol serum to your skincare routine in your mid-20s or 30s. Of course, you can choose to start earlier or later.

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Ultra Facial Cream

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Do I need to worry about the side effects of retinol?

The only downside of retinol is that there can be some side effects. Sun damage is the key one to remember. Retinol makes the skin more sensitive to the sun, so when using retinol products, it is paramount that you also use a high protection SPF every day, as the sun’s rays can damage skin more easily. As for irritation, when you begin using retinol you may experience mild redness, sensitivity and dryness with the first application, but not everyone does. We recommend slowly building up your tolerance by using retinol every two to three nights. Always follow with a calming moisturiser such as our Ultra Facial Cream. It's also important to adapt any other active ingredients in your routine on the night's you use retinol. We recommend avoiding using exfoliating acids such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid and other AHAs on retinol days. Stick to ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and vitamin E to help nourish the skin barrier.  

Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum

Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum

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How do I add retinol to my skincare routine?

The serum step of your skincare routine in the evening is the best place to use your active retinol. Always apply a pea-sized amount to clean skin and wait a few minutes before applying a moisturiser on top to help counteract any dryness. Our Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum is precisely formulated to deliver a daily-strength dose of pure retinol. The unique formula offers minimised likelihood of side effects including redness, dryness and peeling, so it’s great for all skin types including sensitive. It includes peptides and ceramides to help strengthen the skin barrier function and improve skin’s tolerance of pure retinol. Slowly build your tolerance of retinol by using it every other night to begin with. You can also try the sandwich technique: after cleansing apply a thin layer of a moisturiser, such as our Ultra Facial Cream, (which contains skin hydrating glacial glycoprotein and olive derived squalane), wait a few minutes, then apply your chosen retinol, wait a few minutes again and then sandwich with another thin layer of Ultra Facial Cream.

Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum

Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum

Old price New price £50.00
Retinol Fast Release Wrinkle-Reducing Night Serum
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Retinol Fast Release Wrinkle-Reducing Night Serum

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Retinol can encourage your skin to look smooth, radiant and younger-looking, but these results can take time. Stick with it for at least six weeks. If you don’t experience sensitivity, or you’re looking to target deep wrinkles, try our Retinol Fast Release Wrinkle-Reducing Night Serum. This powerful serum penetrates up to 15 surface layers deep into the skin and works to show a visible reduction of fine lines in as little as 5 days, and visible improvement in deep wrinkles in 2 weeks.

If you’re ready to find out more about retinol and how it can work for you, 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 powerhouse skincare ingredient.

Retinol is a big name in skincare, and the reason is, it’s the real deal. A powerful skincare ingredient which can enhance skin’s collagen production, and lead to a visible reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. It also has a reputation as an irritant for those with sensitive skin, but we’re here to dispel the rumours and show you how simple it can be to add retinol to your routine for great results.


What is retinol?


Let’s start at the very beginning, what exactly is this wonder ingredient? Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and starts off as retinol esters, before being converted to retinoic acid. Types of retinoids like Tretinoin, Isotretinoin and Adapalene are stronger than retinol and are only available via prescription from a doctor. The main difference between retinoids and retinols is the way the skin can use them. Retinoids are already a type of retinoic acid and immediately get to work, but as they’re stronger and quicker, they can cause irritation. Retinols on the other hand, must be converted by the skin to retinoic acid – this process takes time but allows the skin to get used to the formulation, preventing side effects.


Why should I use retinol?


The anti-ageing powers of retinol are unparalleled, it works by accelerating cell turnover meaning dead, dull skin cells are replaced with newer, plumper cells more regularly. Retinol helps to smooth away fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin tone and fade dark spots. The powerful exfoliating action improves skin texture and radiance, while it also has an antioxidant effect helping to support skin repair. It can also help to fade blemishes and large pores, and balance oily skin. 


When should I start using retinol?


Retinol is good at fading lines, but it also works to reduce the formation of new lines. Skincare professionals usually recommend introducing a retinol serum to your skincare routine in your mid-20s or 30s. Of course, you can choose to start earlier or later.

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