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June 29, 2020

What is retinol?

Retinol is one of the vitamin A derivates most widely used by the cosmetic industry. Retinol diminishes the visible effects of photoageing by stimulating collagen production and accelerating skin cell renewal. When absorbed by the skin, retinol transforms into retinoic acid, which encourages cell turnover and boosts collagen, thereby minimising the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and balancing skin tone.

Benefits of retinol

1. Anti-ageing

Retinol improves the synthesis of collagen and expedites skin cell renewal. Retinol enhances the overall structure of the dermal-epidermal junction, which is the interface between the skin’s dermal and epidermal layers. contributes to the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles and enhances skin’s firmness and elasticity.

In a recent study, subjects who regularly applied products containing 0.1% retinol witnessed visible results after just one month. Other research has shown that even one year after ceasing regular application, the age-minimising effects of retinol are still apparent.

2. Skin texture

As we age, the skin’s epidermal layer becomes thinner, rendering fine lines and wrinkles more visible. Retinol has been proven to stimulate epidermal cell proliferation, which helps to slow down the thinning of the epidermal layer and restore skin’s plumpness and smoothness. In-vitro testing has shown that after 24 weeks of regular treatment with retinol, the tactile roughness of the skin declined by 53 per cent.

3. Skin tone

When exposed to UV rays, our skin synthesises melanin to protect itself from sun damage and burning. Melanin absorbs light and helps to dissipate absorbed UV radiation. The presence of melanin in the epidermis causes pigmentation (tanning), and can cause hyperpigmentation in some individuals. Retinol downregulates tyrosinase (which is the key enzyme in melanin synthesis), disperses keratinocytes, induces desquamation, and expedites cell turnover. These processes combine to help reduce hyperpigmentation and balance out the skin tone.

How often should I use retinol?

You can use retinol twice a day. As it’s highly compatible with other active ingredients, you can incorporate it into your skin care regimen. Apply to clean skin in the morning* and at night.

*As retinol can potentially increase skin's sensitivity to sunlight, we recommend following up with a broad-spectrum sunscreen (such as our very own Sunfragma ZnO with SPF50) for daytime use.

Can retinol be combined with Vitamin C?

Contrary to popular belief, retinol is highly compatible with other skin actives and is recommended for use in tandem with vitamin C and exfoliating acids. Vitamin C helps to stabilise retinol, and these two actives work together very effectively to target visible signs of ageing, including fine lines and wrinkles; to thicken the epidermis, making skin feel plumper and smoother; and to brighten skin and balance skin tone. Retinol provides countless benefits for the skin, whether used alone or in conjunction with other actives.