Retinol – Part Two
Last month we talked all about Retinol, calling it “the best of the best” when it comes to skin care. Superb for fighting wrinkles and acne, I thought it was important to share a little bit more on the topic again this month since it really is such a powerful tool in your skin care regime. Today we’ll look at how best to use it, other names for retinol and where else you might find it (Hint – fruits and veggies can be an excellent source!)

Let’s start with identifying some of the other names Retinol goes by. These include: Retinoids, Tretinoin and Retin A. How do you know “what’s what” and what is best for you? That’s what I am here for my friends, to help you understand your skin, the purpose of Retinol and how best to use it in your life.

Retinoids belong to a group of chemicals that together are related to Vitamin A. They can be found in topical applications such as retinol, retinyl palmitate and retinaldehyde. There are also prescription retinoids such as renova, retin-a, Differin and Tazorac. Finally, retinoids can also be found in our food. That’s because retinoid chemicals include beta-carotene and different carotenoids are found in many of the brightly coloured and / or leafy dark green vegetables that we consume. Since I have often talked in the past about the importance of a healthy diet full of natural nutrients, and the powerful role diet can play in both your overall health and in your skin care routine, I won’t address that today. Additionally, prescription retinoids are another area I won’t discuss for the simple reason that you would have to obtain prescription products from your treating Dermatologist and this is outside my scope of practice. What I CAN talk about today are the group of retinoids that you will find in over the counter skin care products or those you can obtain from a skin care professional like me.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Retinol!
Retinol comes in a variety of strengths but you would want to look at a product that contains between 0.2 and 0.5% to start. This will help to avoid any potential for inflammation. Retinol is really like “medicine for your skin” and so, like when you use medications, I also like to provide some instructions on how to use retinol. It can be an irritant for some people and also, can dry out skin. For this reason, I suggest a slow start, using retinol just once every third day for a couple of weeks. If all goes well, use it every second day for another week and if you experience no irritation – go ahead and start using it every night as part of your routine. I also strongly suggest that this product only be used from October to May. That’s because retinol can make your skin photosensitive so it’s a good idea to give your skin a break over the summer months and to make sure that you use an SPF during the day to help provide additional protection to your skin. Using this product at night also means you don’t need to use anything else – it becomes your night cream and no other night time exfoliant is needed!

Is Retinol for everyone?

There are several other important things to remember when it comes to retinol use:

• You will need a proper cleanser that leaves no waxy residue on your skin. This is so the retinol can absorb fully and work properly!
• Retinol can dry the skin. In fact, some studies have shown that prolonged use can even cause thinning of the dermal layer. This is another reason why I recommend taking a break from it for several months, typically during the summer.
• To help protect your skin and keep it hydrated, ensure retinol is just one part of your full skin care regime. Use moisturizers daily with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerine to help protect your skin for best overall results.
• For my clients who have either rosacea or psoriasis – I don’t recommend the use of retinol. Of course, it’s always best to go with your Doctor or Dermatologist’s advice but in my practice, I will not use retinol on clients with these medical conditions.

Is retinol the “best of the best?” As my blogs for both March and April suggest, retinol is indeed a wonderful product that promises excellent results, WHEN it is used properly. I hope today to have provided you with some good suggestions on when and how to use retinol and when to take a break from using it! If you’d like to know more, make an appointment for a consultation with me anytime. It would be my pleasure to help you because…….”I’m Klara and I bring Klarity to the science of understanding your skin!”

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