Hello, precious ones,

today we are talking about retinol! Whoever has been following me for a while sure knows how fond I am of retinol and its benefits and that I am always on the outlook for the best retinol possible. But let’s start from the basis:

WHAT IS RETINOL: Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and its most commonly used as an anti-aging ingredient thanks to its effectiveness at treating major signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage etc

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RETINOL AND RETINOIDS: The difference between retinol and retinoids is that over-the-counter products contain a form of retinol in ester forms (vitamin A derivatives) like retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate, etc (you’ll typically see these names on ingredient labels). “These need to be converted into retinoic acid by the skin at the cellular level in order for the skin to use it. Basically, the more conversions it takes for an ester form to get to the retinoic acid form, the weaker it is. So over the counter retinol products tend to be much weaker than prescription only retinoids such as Retin A (tretinoin is the actual active ingredient)but they also carry much less chance of irritation.

WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE ONE OR THE OTHER:  Ok, so this is the main question. Tretinoin is an amazing cell-communicating ingredient capable of doing wonders for your skin and also working as an antioxidant. It was first used in the seventies to treat acne, but years of research and studies have concluded it is also fantastic as speeding u skin cell turnover and to boost collagen production and is now referred to as the anti-aging gold standard. Problem is most people cannot tolerate tretinoin and its side effects can range from moderate to severe: flakiness, redness, extreme dryness or like I experienced myself ‘ retinol purge’: weeks of breakouts which I had never experienced before. Having said that, going in slowly starting at 2 or three times per week and slowly increasing can lessen the side effects. You can choose between 0.025% and 0.5% strength to start with . Retinol carries much less chance of irritation since it needs to be converted by your skin, but it also takes longer to work its magic. If you are willing to dip your toes into the retinol wagon I suggest you start with Retinol(just make sure on the ingredient list you see ‘ Retinol’ and not all those other palmitate derivatives as they are even weaker). My absolute favorite one is Paula’s choice clinical  1% retinol treatment

HOW TO USE RETINOIDS:  should you decide to go straight into the retinoids, here are a few tips to avoid or lessen the side effects:

1- only use at nighttime and always wear SPF during daytime

2- apply on perfectly clean and dry face(wait 20 mins after washing face to apply to make sure is completely dry)

3- avoid corner of the eyes, side of the nose and mouth and these areas tend to be extremely sensitive and prone to dryness

4- start with twice a week application for a month, then 3 times and so on until your skin gets gradually used to the product.

5- wait 20 mins after retinoid application and layer additional products( i recommend vitamin c and a nice hydration moisturizer to prevent flakiness)

HOW TO I GET TRETINOIN IF I DON’T HAVE A PRESCRIPTION: Well, in the UK, you can now sing up to       

for £19.99 plus p&p, you get every month your tretinoin delivered to your house, previous a questionnaire to be filled in to assess you are a suitable candidate for the product.

WHAT DOES ALEXINWONDERLAND RECOMMEND:  I have tried both retinol and tretinoin, and yes tretinoin works faster but it also caused, on me, some noticeable side effects which were bothering me so I decide to switch to one of the most potent retinol alternatives as I mentioned above and I am loving the results

with both retinol and retinoids you have to be consistent:  at least six months of continued use before you can start seeing dramatic results.

Enough rambling for now, I hope I did not bore you and I do hope you found this post interesting and informative, please let me know your favorite retinol products in the comments section.



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