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Skincare Series – Episode 4 – De-Mystifying Retinols

Skincare Series – Episode 4 – De-Mystifying Retinols

POSTED ON: 18th June 2019

Retinols have been used for many a year in high end cosmeceuticals for a very good reason: they work. However, with more and more brands talking about retinols as part of their marketing mission and it becoming an essential ingredient to any skincare routine, we feel it is essential to de-mystify retinols and separate fact from fiction.

What is Retinol?

There are two types of vitamin A: Retinol and Retinoic acid and only retinoic acid can be processed by the skin cells. Retinoic Acid is extremely potent and irritates the skin which causes redness and inflammation. Retinol is initially irritating, but after around 6 weeks, your skin acclimatises to it and it is taken into the skin cells and converted into retinoic acid for processing. Vitamin A treatment has been clinically proven to reduce the lines and wrinkles while stimulating collagen production.
Retinol must be prescribed by a Doctor or licensed clinic, over the counter doses available on the highstreet have such low dosage that it will do very little. This is why you cannot buy products like ZO Skin Health online.

What is Retinol used for?

Retinol can be used for pretty much any skin type except those with clinically dry skin such as psoriasis or eczema on their face. In a nutshell, retinol will address concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, pore size, skin tone, texture, acne, rosacea, redness… You name it, retinol can most likely help.

What is a healthy skin cycle?

When you use oils and moisturisers, you are sticking down your dead skin and disrupting the skins natural, healthy barrier function. This can increase your skin cycle from a healthy 6 weeks, to an alarming 16+ weeks. Retinol increases your cell turnover, reducing your skin cycle to this goal of 6 weeks and encourages a smoother more even complexion. It reduces the amount of dead skin lying on the surface of the skin, fighting pimples and stops the process of pigment production (freckles) while reducing hyperpigmentation for an even, clear and bright complexion.

What does Retinol do?

As we age, fibroblasts (aka cells) make less and less collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid as well as new skin cells. Vitamin A reverses this and reduces the skin cycles. Retinols stimulate the fibroblasts to produce collagen and stimulate the production of the new skin by accelerating cell turnover. As new cells are pushed to the surface of the skin, it helps combat lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone, pigmentation, brown spots and thickened skin. Patients will also see an improvement in hydration due to the increase in production of Hyaluronic Acid. However, using SPF is essential as using Vitamin A will increase your sensitivity to the sun.

Getting the most out of your retinol

Combining retinols with other key active ingredients is the big key to targeting specific skin issues. Each ingredient can help to target varying layers of the skin, meaning the retinol treatment is really tailored to you, your skin, and your goals. Certain ingredients will help to deliver the retinol to different layers of the skin meaning that you are able to target your specific issues whether it be lines and wrinkles, pigmentation and even acne scarring.


Retinol, when used properly and prescribed effectively, can be your best friend when looking for healthy skin! If you want to start investing in your skin’s health, please do let us know so we can ensure you use the right retinol for your lifestyle and skin!

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