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Retinol and Skin

Retinol and Skin

One of the most talked about and popular skincare ingredients is retinol or Vitamin A. It first appeared in the 1970’s as a treatment for acne and was found to have other skin enhancing benefits such as reducing fine lines, fading pigmentation, and smoothing the skins surface. It has since become one of the most sought-after skincare products on the market. 

What is retinoid? 

Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A and comes under a classification called a retinoid. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that supports functions within the body such as the skin, the eyes and our immune function. Our bodies can take in Vitamin A through both animal and plant sources. Our liver then converts this to retinol in the body.

Retinoids in skincare can be found in different forms: retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde and retinol. Prescription strength under the guidance of a dermatologist or doctor is called Tretinoin (or Retin-A). This form is usually used to treat severe acne. 

Retinol and the skin 

Our skin is very responsive to retinol which means it can be easily absorbed topically through serums and creams. It has the ability to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, smooth skin, fade pigmentation and help to heal acne and breakouts. Retinol and retinoids are considered potent ageing preventative ingredients. 

When can I start using Retinol? 

Introducing retinol into your skincare routine can begin as early as your 20’s. However, any age group can benefit from including retinol or retinoid product into a routine. 

Contraindications to retinol and retinoids include highly sensitive or sensitized skins, pregnancy and breastfeeding, irritated and sunburnt skin. Always patch test with retinols and begin with a low strength to assess the reaction on the skin. 

How should I use Retinol? 

Retinol (or any retinoid product) should be introduced slowly into a nightly skin routine. Apply 1-2 times per week initially and build up to nightly as your skin adjusts. Depending on your skin type some may find 2-3 times per week enough whilst others will be able to tolerate every night. Start with a lower strength product (around 0.25) and gradually move up to a medium strength (0.50). High strength retinols contain around 1%. 

It is not recommended to use during the day as retinols can make the skin more sun sensitive – so pop some sunscreen on during the day. 

What about sensitive skin? 

For skins that cannot tolerate retinol or any retinoids an alternative is Bakuchiol. A natural product that has shown to have similar effects as retinol but is safe for sensitive or retinol intolerant skins. 

Try Cosmedix Bakuchiol Complete. Perfect for sensitive skins wanting to include a retinol type product into their routine. Deeply hydrating, this formula helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and even out skin tone. An advantage over retinol, Bakuchiol Complete can be used both morning and evening. 

Prodermal Retinol options 


  • Retinol Brulee – uses retinol to refine and smooth skin. 


  • Super A+ Serum – utilises retinol to help reduce sun damage and pigmentation. Hyaluronic Acid is included in the formula to help with added hydration. 


  • Define – uses a gentle retinol complex to exfoliate and smooth the skin. A good first product for those new to retinol.
  • Refine – contains a retinol complex at 0.50% to help refine and reduce visibly large pores and provide preventative ageing benefits.
  • Refine + – an intensive formulation containing 1% retinol. Encourages skin renewal to help reduce wrinkles and pigmentation.
  • Serum-16 – uses a retinol formulation called LG-Retinex. Said to have the greatest potency and delivery of retinol into the skin but without causing any redness. Helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. 

PCA Skin

  • Clearskin – a nourishing, light formula containing Vitamin A that is good for oily, acne and breakout prone skins.
  • Intensive Age Refining Treatment 0.5% Pure – using stabilized retinol to help reduce irritation, this formula is designed for those concerned with ageing factors such as fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone.
  • Intensive Brightening Treatment 0.5% Pure – retinol combined with resveratrol and niacinamide to improve pigmentation and discolouration on the skin.
  • Perfecting Neck and Décolleté – uses a retinol and peptides formulation for the neck and décolleté area to target sagging, pigmentation, and lines.