What is retinol and why is it the Holy Grail of a good skincare routine?
Retinol is the unicorn of skincare products and maybe that's the reason why every skincare enthusiast raves about it. I learned about retinol eight years ago when a former roommate began taking dermatologist-prescribed Accutane for her cystic acne. Her acne, scars, and hyper-pigmentation vanished after approximately six months. Although six months is a long time to wait for results of an acne treatment as potent as Accutane, watching the progress was just as rewarding.
My friend had oily skin and through the use of this retinol product, her skin ceased overproduction of oil by the second month. As less oil seeped from her pores, her other skincare products permeated the different layers of her skin and worked more effectively. Because her skin was less oily, her makeup went on smoother and lasted longer. Most importantly, less oil production meant fewer chances of pesky facial breakouts that ruin everything! Wait a minute, this isn’t an advertisement for Accutane, isn’t it? This is about retinol: what it is, why it’s important, and why you shouldn’t let another day go by without adding a retinol product like Masktini’s Night Ranger Overnight Renewal Mask to your nighttime skincare routine!
Here’s everything you need to know about the Holy Grail of a good skincare routine.
The basics about retinol
In case you missed it here, retinol is a potent vitamin A derivative that promotes rapid cell turnover (i.e. boosts collagen) and deeply exfoliates the skin. If you take care of your skin properly, it takes about 27 days for it to regenerate; in other words, a healthy, functional body rewards you with good skin! Using retinol on your facial skin speeds up this process.
If you have breakouts, acne scars, hyper-pigmentation, fine lines, and light wrinkles or any other superficial skin imperfections, retinol goes to battle against them and emerges victorious every time!
How does retinol work
As mentioned, retinol products boost collagen production in the skin. This is most important. Why? Well, collagen is the skin’s fountain of youth, that's why. It is the most abundant protein found in mammals and makes up about 25% - 35% of the whole body’s protein content. Of its many benefits, collagen promotes healing and prevents infection. Ample collagen is what gives your skin that smooth, firm, plump look that so many of us want well into our old age. Adding a retinol skincare product to your skin which naturally produces collagen, creates a win/win skincare routine.
What to expect when using retinol
Not all retinol skincare products are created equally. The higher the concentration of retinol, the more visible its effects. When I had that breakout from hell that I mentioned in another article, my first thought was to get a PCA Skin chemical peel. A couple of weeks before I was due to have the peel done, my esthetician made me use PCA Skin’s Intensive Clarity Treatment every other night up until the day of my peel. This particular treatment had a 0.5% concentration of pure retinol which didn’t seem like much of a big deal until I learned that 0.5% is really all the retinol your skin needs for visible improvements. My skin looked like the Milky Way of acne and hyper-pigmentation! You could use a marker to connect the dots on my face and it was disastrous to see that every day. By day two of using this product, my skin peeled as if I already applied the chemical peel! That was when I realized that I missed retinol all along and vowed to never go without it.
The worse your skin’s condition, the uglier the process may be while using retinol. You can expect excessive peeling of your skin’s problem areas, facial tightening, redness, dryness, inflammation, and burning in extreme cases.
Protect your skin against irritation when using retinol
Wearing retinol products during the day can be risky - 0/10 would not recommend. Whether you have dry skin, oily skin, normal to combination skin, or sensitive skin, proceed with caution when ushering retinol into your skincare routine to prevent skin irritation. No matter your skin type, complexion, or issues, retinol makes your skin especially sensitive to sunlight and other environmental conditions. Skin irritation is par for the course when trying potent products on your facial skin, that is why it’s best to use retinol products at night before you go to sleep.
Some of the visible side effects of using retinol improperly are freckles, age spots, brown spots, and scarring. Although this is not typical, it can happen if you misuse the product and do not wear sunscreen while outdoors. As I always mention, mineral sunscreen should be part of your skin care routine whether or not you're using retinol. Make sure that your moisturizer sunscreen has an SPF no less than 30 and reapply it liberally as you move about your day.
Don’t forget to drink water (and mind your business)
Finally, stay hydrated! What does it mean to hydrate your skin? Glad you asked. Drink water, use an oil-free face wash, and wear a water-based moisturizer daily. Nothing dries you out like spending a lot of time in the sun and wearing retinol. If you’re going to be in the sun all day, drink lots of water, and reapply a moisturizing mineral sunscreen often (yes, I know I said this already).
So, there you have it: clean, clear, smooth, and plump skin are byproducts of a skincare routine that includes retinol products. If you’re not ready to dive headfirst into the expensive range of retinol products, Masktini’s Night Ranger Overnight Renewal Mask is an affordable option that is just as effective. Night Ranger isn’t just your typical facial mask. Apart from retinol, it includes lime pearl acids that even your skin’s texture, papaya enzymes that calm redness and irritation, and hyaluronic acid that plumps your skin with hydration. These are all the good stuff that keeps the ugliness at bay. No pressure, but add it to your cart and checkout now. You’re welcome.