Retinoids 101

Retinoids 101

When it comes to reversing the signs of ageing skin, retinoids are hands down the industry’s gold standard ingredient of choice. They have the power to reverse the four main signs of skin ageing and help to minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, smooth skin texture, even out skin tone, and minimise the appearance of pores.

How do retinoids work?

Retinoids encourage skin cell turnover and renewal and help boost collagen production in the skin. This gives skin a smoother, more even-toned appearance. Skin texture and pore appearance is refined, and skin becomes clear with increased clarity.

Benefits of retinoids

  • Increases cell turnover and accelerates skin renewal
  • Effectively evens out skin tone
  • Refines skin texture and minimises appearance of pores
  • Helps decrease the amount of collagen breakdown from sun exposure
  • Stimulates the production of new collagen
  • Reverses skin ageing, minimising appearance of lines and wrinkles

Types of retinoids

There are various types of retinoids which is an umbrella term for the entire family of Vitamin A derivatives. Retinol is the most commonly referred to retinoid, but formulas range from relatively gentle over-the-counter products to potent prescription treatments so it can be confusing to know which one to choose for your skin.

Retinoids vary in strength and thus results can vary. As a rule, the more potent the retinoid the more potential for skin irritation.

Retinoic Acid is the strongest form and drives the positive changes we see in the skin; however, this is only available on prescription and is highly irritating. What’s important to note, is the weaker derivatives when applied to the skin, convert to retinoic acid and deliver the same benefits over a longer period of time.

Retinaldehyde (Retinal) is the closest type to Retinoic Acid and is usually formulated in very small amounts as it has a high potential for skin irritation.

Retinol is highly effective and is slowly converted into retinoic acid by the skin. This means there is less skin irritation than with retinal and retinoic acid. Retinol will feature at different percentages in products from around 0.2% to 3%. The higher the percentage the stronger the formula. It’s advisable to work your way up to more potent formulas to avoid irritation and negative side effects. You can find this in Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum which features a 3.5% retinoid complex.

Encapsulated Retinol is a technology to help stabilize the retinol to ensure maximum potency. Encapsulated retinol also delivers the active in a time released fashion ensuring maximum delivery and minimal irritation. You can find this technology in Age Reversal Eye Complex and Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum.

Retinyl Esters (such as retinyl palmitate) are on the weaker end of the retinoid spectrum and are typically very well tolerated but do take longer to see results. You can find this in Retinol Clearing Oil which combines a gentle retinoid with Salicylic Acid to deliver clearer skin whilst targeting signs of ageing.

Granactive Retinol (HPR) is a new-generation retinoid which acts directly in the skin and does not go through the conversion steps. This sits between Retinol and Retinal in terms of strength but is very well tolerated. This features as part of the 3.5% retinoid complex in Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum.

Regardless of which formula you use, it’s important to note that enzymes in the skin convert all retinoids into retinoic acid. The more closely related a retinoid is to retinoic acid, the more quickly your skin will utilise it. At Dermalogica we formulate with either retinyl esters, retinol or granactive retinoid to reduce the risk of skin irritation and maintain optimum skin health.

How to use retinol

To tolerate retinoids and avoid the common irritation and dryness associated with their use, skin needs to build up what are called ‘retinoid receptors’ first. These receptors are proteins that are naturally found in skin, and they help retinoids do their work. Skin can build retinoid receptors through controlled exposure, which is why it’s recommended to start slowly with retinoid products and build up to higher concentrations.

  • Introduce retinoids gradually: slowly building up your skin’s tolerance helps avoid and reduce irritation. Start by using twice a week for 2 weeks, then every other day for another 2 weeks then ultimately every day.
  • Apply Retinol at night as they degrade in UV light.
  • During the day, always use sunscreen to help protect your skin against UV exposure.
  • Avoid or limit other exfoliants/acids to reduce the risk of over processing your skin.
  • Increase hydration: It’s common for skin to become drier with retinoid use due to the acceleration in cell renewal. Include a nourishing cleanser and hydrating serum in your daily regimen. Some people benefit from including a slightly heavier moisture too.
  • Avoid Retinol if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Safety is our priority, and we recommend pregnant and/or breastfeeding clients to consult their physician first before using any products that contain Retinol.

To help you choose the right product chat live to a Dermalogica Expert, or book your Virtual Consultation with Face Mapping now. 

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