Your Retinol Starter Kit


Your Retinol Starter Kit

By Shammi Mondal

Retinols are one of the most trusted and hard-working ingredients in the skincare universe. They possess a range of superpowers, such as preventing acne and pigmentation, and reducing fine lines. But to really get to know and make the most of this multitasking ingredient, read through celebrity dermatologist Dr Jaishree Sharad’s advice.


What is retinol?


In short, retinols are a kind of retinoid, a derivative of vitamin A that get converted to retinoic acid (an active form of the molecule). While the two are similar, retinoids are more potent while retinols are milder in comparison.


They both encourage cell turnover, which means they renew the surface of your skin and reveal healthier, brighter skin. Retinol also boosts the production of collagen, the protein that gives your skin its suppleness and elasticity.


So, who is it for?


If you are looking for something to help with the fine lines on your face or hyper pigmentation, retinol is the ingredient for you. “Retinol is a very potent anti-aging solution; it also reduces acne,” says skin expert Dr Jaishree Sharad.


This versatile ingredient can be used by a diverse age group. Dr Sharad explains, “For those below the age of 30, retinol is prescribed as a drug to reduce acne. After the age of 30, you can incorporate it in your night-time skincare routine.”   

How to use a retinol? 

Retinol comes in various forms such as serums, creams, gels, ointments, and even face masks.  As a medication to control acne it is prescribed in the form of a gel or ointment. As a part of your night-time skincare regimen, it is advisable to use a pea-sized amount of cream or serum once a week, then gradually increase its usage depending on how your skin responds to it. 


“Topping off any retinol cream with a good moisturiser is a must,” recommends Dr Jaishree. This is because too much retinol can make your skin dry. “It's ideal to use a retinol-based product at night, while milder concentrations of the ingredient like retinal or retinyl esters can be used during the day, provided they are well coated with a layer of sunscreen.” 


Dr Sharad’s advice for beginners:  

  • . Start slow by applying retinol once every alternate night. 

  • . Avoid applying too much retinol at once, begin by using a pea-sized amount of your retinol serum for your entire face. 

  • . Make sure you moisturise, layer a hyaluronic acid or a peptide-based moisturiser on top of your retinol skincare always. 

  • . Always consult your doctor first, before applying retinol while pregnancy or breastfeeding 

  • . Avoid using retinol before waxing or a laser treatment, speak to your dermatologist before the treatment.