Get the lowdown on this anti-aging secret weapon.

We’ve said it before, retinol is one of our very favourite anti-aging secret weapons. Because we often sing (or shout) its praises, we get a lot of questions about what it is, how to use it, and most frequently, whether all retinols are created equal.

Project Skin MD, Vancouver, Retinol

Because we don’t want anyone missing out on the benefits of this powerhouse product, we’re giving you the low down.

So, what is retinol?

Retinol is a pure form of vitamin A. It’s an anti-aging powerhouse that works by increasing cell turnover six-fold, and stimulating collagen and elastin production along the way. The product is famous for its ability to both exfoliate dull, damaged cells and stimulate new, healthy cells to address wrinkles and fine lines, pigmentation, sagging of the skin, and other aging concerns. It also enhances penetration of your at-home skincare.

How exactly should I be using retinol?

If you’ve never used retinol before, start slow. Our skincare advisors always recommend starting with a lower formulation (like SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 or 0.5 – more on these below), once per week for the first month. Over time, you can slowly work your way up to more frequent use and/or a higher formulation. This gradual introduction is so important and helps avoid drying and irritating your skin.

Project Skin MD, Vancouver, Retinol

After cleansing your skin at night (retinol makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so always use at night and wear a broad spectrum sunscreen during daytime hours), apply a dime-sized amount over your whole face and neck. Let it absorb for approximately 30-40 minutes before applying any other products, including your nightly moisturizer. Light flaking and peeling can be expected and are completely normal; this means your dead skin cells are sloughing off to reveal a brighter complexion! You should start to notice a difference in the way your skin looks within 3 weeks.

Are all retinols the same?

The short answer is no, and that’s why we recommend the best of the best. We love SkinCeuticals retinols because they’re formulated with high concentrations of pure retinol and enhanced with the latest stabilization and delivery technologies to ensure maximum efficacy while minimizing irritation and other common side effects.

SkinCeuticals now offers three different retinol formulations: NEW SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3, SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5, and SkinCeuticals 1.0. While every formulation provides excellent anti-aging results, each is designed with a different concentration of pure retinol, ideal for use at different stages to ensure your skin is conditioned to the ingredients’ potent effects.

If you’re new to retinol use: NEW SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3.

Project Skin MD, Vancouver, Retinol

If you’re a retinol rookie, this one’s for you! The newest addition to SkinCeuticals’ retinol product portfolio, Retinol 0.3 is recommended for first-time retinol users. With the lowest concentration (0.3% pure retinol) of the three available products, it’s a great introductory product to help establish consistent skin tolerance before advancing to a higher concentration. It’s also a great option for patients with reactive skin, looking to reap the benefits of pure retinol, while keeping irritation to a minimum.

If you’re ready to step it up a notch: SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5.

Project Skin MD, Vancouver, Retinol

As you get more and more acclimated to retinol use, you can start to work your way up. As you may have guessed, SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 contains 0.5% pure retinol, is ideal for skin preconditioned with Retinol 0.3, and is a great stepping stone en route to Retinol 1.0 (in fact, consider it a prerequisite). We recommend Retinol 0.5 to patients looking for optimum skin quality and health maintenance.

If you’re a retinol expert: SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0.

Project Skin MD, Vancouver, Retinol

You’ve made it. You’re a retinol pro. Formulated with 1% retinol (the highest concentration of pure retinol available), this product is ideal for treating photodamaged and problematic skin and should only be used for advanced treatment of (you guessed it!) skin preconditioned with Retinol 0.5.

If you’re looking to learn more about retinol use, and which product is right for you, schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our skincare advisors today.

Schedule your skincare consultation today.

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