Skincare can be complicated. With new product launches happening all the time and must-have miracle ingredients making headlines, it’s not always easy to know what’s right for you.You might have heard of retinol (it’s certainly been making waves in the beauty world). Billed as a gold-standard ingredient, you’ll find plenty of products that include retinol, each promising a range of different benefits.1 But what is retinol, and how could it benefit your skincare routine? We’ve got everything you need to know below.
What is retinol?Retinol is actually a catch-all term for compounds derived from vitamin A. These are officially called retinoids, and there are quite a few different varieties out there. Some are available over-the-counter or in your favourite beauty products, while others are only available by prescription.2 Usually, prescription retinoids are more potent, while over-the-counter options are more accessible.3
Retinoids are thought to provide a range of benefits. From reducing the appearance of wrinkles to smoothing skin, retinoids have the potential to help a host of different skincare concerns.
Benefits of retinolCelebrities, dermatologists, and beauty gurus have all praised the benefits of retinol.4 But could this product actually deliver? Some retinol benefits might include:
- Healthy-ageing properties5
- Reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines6
- Anti-oxidant properties7
- Reduced sensitivity8
- Improved texture9
Potential retinol side effectsWhile retinol products are generally thought to be safe for most skin types, it’s a good idea to do a patch test before using them. It may be worth considering a low-percentage product a couple of times a week to start with, as this is likely to be less harsh on your skin.11
Some retinol side effects might include:
- Irritation and dryness12
Expertly reviewed by:
Reviewer: Manisha Taggar
Last updated: 21 December 2020