ASPIRE Pick of the Week: How to Include a Retinol Serum in Your Skincare Routine

Retinol is arguably the most integral ingredient for a smooth, radiant, youthful complexion. A derivative of vitamin A, retinol is an ingredient you’ve most likely heard of, but it’s become so ubiquitous in the world of skincare that you may not be able to pinpoint exactly why you’re supposed to be using one.

Reason why you should use retinol serum in your skincare regimen
Advanced Clinicals Retinol Serum. Image courtesy of Allure Cosmetics Nigeria

Retinol is what is known as a prodrug – a biologically inactive compound that, when metabolized by the body, is converted into a drug: in this case, retinoic acid. Once converted, it then binds with the retinoid receptors in the skin’s DNA, affecting the transcription of various genes that regulate cellular proliferation and differentiation. What this means is that retinol helps your skin cells work at peak levels, accelerating collagen and elastin production to make your skin look and act younger, and helping with the treatment of acne, fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and textural issues.

Why should you choose a retinol serum over a cream or mask?

Reason why you should use retinol serum in your skincare regimen
Cerave Skin Renewing Retinol Serum. Image courtesy of Skincare Lagos

Serums contain higher concentrations of active ingredients and, because they are light or thinner liquids, tend to absorb very well into the skin. So while creams and lotions are still effective, serums penetrate the skin barrier more easily and therefore have a more dramatic impact.

Of course, your skin type can also have an effect on what type of retinol product you choose. Serums are great for those with oily skin types because they tend to be non-greasy, while cream formulations can make retinol more tolerable for drier skin types. When deciding between those formulations, it’s important to be aware of your skin and how it reacts to a powerful ingredient like retinol.

How to use a retinol serum

Reason why you should use retinol serum in your skincare regimen
Institut Esthederm Intensive Retinol Oil Serum. Image courtesy of CaretoBeauty

If you’re new to retinoids, make sure to start slow as too much of it can irritate and dry up your skin. Retinol acts like a scrub, removing dead surface skin cells and using too much of it too often will forcibly remove this layer of skin.

If you are a first-time user, apply a pea-size drop to your entire face one night a week for one week, then two nights a week for two weeks, then three nights a week for three weeks, and then, as your skin adjusts to it, every other night indefinitely. Retinols come in concentrations of 0.25 percent, 0.30 percent , 0.5 percent, and 1 percent. If you are new to retinol and your skin is prone to sensitivity, start out with the lowest percentage and increase the strength as your skin adjusts to it. Also, be consistent as that is the only way you will get full results.

Reason why you should use retinol serum in your skincare regimen
Retinol Vitamin-enriched Anti-wrinkle Facial Serum, Image courtesy of Allure Cosmetics Nigeria

Just remember, no matter what your skin type or concern, retinol can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage, so you should always wear an SPF of at least 30 when you are using it and only apply your retinol products at night before bed.

Source: Town&Country Mag

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