Your Ultimate Guide To Using Retinol To Get Your Glow On!

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Ladies, do you know the correct way to use this anti-ageing serum?

Retinol has long been accepted by beauty gurus worldwide as the one ingredient that can stop — even reverse — subtle signs of early ageing. It also goes hand-in-hand with radiant, flawless skin. But along with its long-term beauty benefits, retinol’s short-term downsides have been linked with peeling, irritated and red skin. Is this really true though? Let’s get some retinol facts clear so that you can incorporate it in your beauty regime without fear!  

The Most Important Retinol Facts To Bear In Mind


retinol facts

Serums and creams are all the rage in the market. What brand do you use? Image courtesy: Maxizest and Finevine

1. It boosts your skin confidence

You may know that vitamin A takes on many forms and retinol is just one of them. This powerful compound promotes skin cell renewal. It also boosts collagen (which starts to decline when you turn 30).

In addition, retinol can remove fine lines, wrinkles, and reverse some effects of sun damage.

2. It reduces the appearance of fine lines

Yes, fine lines and wrinkles are a natural part of getting older. But did you know that you can start to develop these pretty early on — for some, even in their 20s! This is why beauty experts recommend using a retinol cream definitely when you are in your 30s, and even in your 20s for a protective effect.

This is because retinol can help your skin produce collagen, a protein that stops wrinkles from appearing. Just remember to protect your skin from the sun after using a retinol-containing product, to minimise skin irritation and sensitivity. 

3. It works best at night

One of the most important retinol facts to remember is that it works best at night and doesn’t discriminate against different skin types. This powerful ingredient promotes overnight skin cell renewal, which in turn cleans out blemish-causing clogged pores. The result is clearer skin when you wake up!

More Retinol Facts And Questions Answered!

Can you use retinol before applying makeup? 

As we mentioned earlier, the magic of retinol works best when it’s applied at night. But this doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate it into your daytime skincare routine. Just don’t forget to slap on the sunscreen afterwards.  

Experts also suggest that the different forms of retinol (cream or serum) should be used in different ways. Serums should be used after the area is clean, with additional moisturisers if you need extra hydration. And creams can be blended in to your regular skincare routine. 

retinol facts

If you do have to use retinol out in the sun, don’t forget to dab on some strong sunblock to give your skin the best care it needs. Source: Laneige and shutterstock

Is retinol a youth elixir?

Yes, you can say that again! Because this form of vitamin A does the following magical things for your skin:

  • Helps boost collagen and makes the skin more taut and plump, with less fine lines. 
  • Helps the skin cells to regenerate faster, resulting in an even skin tone.  
  • Stops skin from darkening. Retinol halts skin pigmentation, leading to brighter skin tone. 

Don’t rush expectations, though. These improvements will only start to show after around four weeks, with more pronounced changes taking up to three months.

This is exactly how to use retinol for best results

If you’re worried that retinol will irritate your skin — stop! You can reap the benefits of this beauty miracle, just as long as you let your skin adapt to it slowly. 

The trick is to increase the concentration gradually. Here’s how:

  • Apply a weak retinol serum (0.1-0.3 percent) twice, in the first two weeks 
  • Within the next fortnight, apply it every night
  • Reduce as necessary if your skin is irritated
  • Let your skin adjust itself to higher retinol levels
  • Once your skin is comfortable, use a higher concentration and repeat the process, until it acclimatises to 1 percent retinol. 

You can use retinol with exfoliating acids, AHAs and BHAs — all chemicals which cause the skin to shed and renew. While retinol promotes cell division to replace dead cells, AHAs shed the dead surface layer, exposing healthy skin underneath. All of these working together and lead to healthy, even-textured, radiantly glowing skin.

Now, with a variety of products in the market, you may be unsure where to begin. Don’t worry — just start from this list!

5 Retinol-based creams you must try 

Here are the five best retinol-based creams that we recommend. 

1. Hada Labo Anti-Ageing + 3D Gel Moisturising (S$41.90)

In addition to retinol, this non-oily, quickly absorbing three-in-one gel contains resveratrol extracts that can lighten age spots. Its 3D Hyaluronic Acid can also seal moisture into your skin, keeping it well-hydrated.

2. La Roche-Pochay Redermic R Eyes, 15ml (S$63.90)

This is a really good option for keeping your sensitive under-eye area looking fresh and youthful for many more years to come! Its refreshing texture is coupled with an immediate lifting effect you can actually see.

3. Glow By Dr Brandt Ruby Crystal Retinol Hydracreme (S$88)

This specially formulated face moisturiser has micronised ruby crystals and skin illuminators that immediately brighten your face. It’s also loaded with olive-active (maslinic acid), which keeps redness and irritation at bay.

4. Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM (S$115)

Retinol Fusion uses advanced technology to mix retinol and vitamins C and E into capsules, which maximises the potency of skin cell renewal. Included is also a shot of moisture which keeps your skin dewy and fresh.  

5. Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil  (S$142)

This paraben, phthalate and sulfate-free serum is good for all skin types. It is balanced with essential oils like German chamomile and blue tansy and can guarantee your skin some TLC at night and a radiant glow in the morning! 

Ladies, now that you are armed with information about retinol, go grab a product from our shopping list today! We promise that your skin will thank you forever!

*Do consult a medical professional before using retinol if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking other medicines.

References: Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Marie France Singapore

(Feature & lead images: Stock images)