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Our guide to retinol - 5 simple tips
If you're a well-read skin care user, you're probably already familiar with retinol - one of the most talked about ingredients in the skin care world. If, on the other hand, it is an ingredient that you just discovered, you will probably soon notice that you suddenly see and hear the word retinol everywhere. This is because this is one of the few ingredients that has long been used in skin care and has a scientifically proven effect. What retinol is, how it works and what results you can expect, we thought we'd share with you in a simple five-step guide.

But first, here's what retinol does in a nutshell

  • Stimulates the skin's collagen and elastin production
  • Improves the skin's structure, which can rejuvenate the skin's appearance
  • Dampens and regulates the skin's sebum production, which makes the skin less oily
  • Counteracts clogged pores and has a preventive and therapeutic effect on acne
  • Reduces and prevents pigment changes by increasing cell renewal

1. What is retinol?

The collective name for vitamin A in skin care and pharmaceuticals is retinoids. Tretinoin is the strongest and most effective, followed by retinol, retinal and various types of retinyl esters. However, only retinol, retinal and retinyl esters may be used in cosmetic products.

The retinyl esters, i.e. anything that starts with retinyl in the ingredient list, are by far the most widely used retinoids. The reason is that they are the most stable and best suited for traditional skin care* because they do not degrade, i.e. lose effectiveness, as easily at room temperature. However, they are the least effective retinoids because they are twice as large in molecular weight compared to pure vitamin A, i.e. what is called retinol, and therefore do not penetrate the skin in the same way.

*Traditional skincare is what we call skincare with a long shelf life that can be stored at room temperature due to various additives that are there for the product and not for the good of the skin.

2. Why use retinol?

Retinoids are often used in skin care and pharmaceuticals because they are effective against signs of aging, acne, psoriasis and other skin conditions. The strength of what is called retinol is that its molecules are so small that they are able to penetrate the skin and reach our middle skin layer, the dermis, where it stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. This improves and evens out the skin texture and therefore results in smoother skin with fewer fine lines and wrinkles.

3. What is meant by retinol having a scientifically proven effect?

Retinol is one of the most well-studied substances in dermatology and the cosmetics industry and one of the few substances that actually demonstrates an effect on the skin in clinical studies. The importance of retinol for the skin was already clear during the First World War when it was discovered that a lack of retinol led to very dry and hardened skin. At the end of the 60s, they succeeded in producing the substance synthetically, and for the past twenty years it has been used to treat various skin conditions such as acne. It was when retinol was used to treat acne that the rejuvenating properties of retinol were discovered. Patients who were treated received as a (positive) side effect as it led to fewer and smaller wrinkles and more elastic skin.

4. When should I use retinol?

We recommend mainly using retinol in skin care products that you apply at night. Retinol is sensitive to UV light and degrades quickly, i.e. loses its effectiveness, when exposed to sunlight. This also applies to the retinol that is naturally present in our skin. Retinol also increases cell renewal and if you use retinol, we recommend that during the day from April to September you use a sun protection factor of 30 to 50 on your face if you are going to be outdoors (if you live in the Nordics).

5. What is important to consider if I want to start using skin care with retinol?

Few skin care users know that retinoids are extremely sensitive and can lose effectiveness over time if storage conditions are not optimal. Simply put, you may not be getting the effect your skin care product actually promised. Retinol is sensitive to air and temperature and is easily destroyed. Therefore, never buy a cream with retinol if it is packaged in a jar, as opening and closing the lid will significantly reduce the retinol's effect. In Skinome's products, we can guarantee that the retinol concentration is maintained thanks to our refrigerated logistics chain and that we ask our customers to store the product in a refrigerator.

When using retinol, one should always be careful. Try one night and see how it feels, and then try again after 2-3 nights and continue in this way preferably for 2-3 weeks. If it feels good, you can start using the product every night.

Our retinol products

Night Active Retinol
Our Night Active Retinol contains skin-specific retinol as our focus is to mimic the skin's natural composition as much as possible. We have chosen our concentration, 0.06 percent, with the goal that it should be just right for the skin and its function to promote healthy skin. Read more about Night Active Retinol.

Night Active Control
Our Night Active Control also contains skin-specific retinol as our focus is to mimic the skin's natural composition as much as possible. In this formula, we have chosen a slightly higher concentration, 0.1 percent, as an oily/combination skin is more tolerant than a drier skin is. Read more about Night Active Control.