If you’re like me, you constantly examine your skin for fine lines and wrinkles. Whether I’m in my dorm, at home, or on vacation, I spend time in front of a makeup mirror searching for unwanted aging signs. Yes, it is a borderline obsession, but I think it’s a healthy one. Anti-aging is arguably the most important part of any skincare routine. Even if you don’t see discolorations, fine lines, or wrinkles now, these early aging signs will start to appear if you don’t incorporate the right products into your skincare routine. I mean, who doesn’t want to look dewy and youthful?

So, how do you combat these early aging signs? More importantly, how do you get rid of them once you have them? The answer is simple: Retinol. Retinol is a synthetic derivative of Vitamin-A that falls under the broader category of retinoids, which includes both over-the-counter Retinols and prescription Retin-A, which is significantly more potent.

According to Dr. Shereene Idriss, a New York City dermatologist, retinol “helps boost collagen production and aids in cell turnover,” which results in “more even, smoother skin and helps reduce the appearance of sun spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.” Retinol’s miraculous ability to boost cell turnover not only leaves you with a bouncier, healthier complexion, but it has been shown in studies to prevent certain cases of skin cancer.

Retinoids are also great for fighting acne. As someone who struggled with acne for years, I hopped on the retinoid bandwagon early; however, I used the more potent Retin-A prescribed by my dermatologist rather than over-the-counter Retinol creams, oils, and serums. I used both Tretinoin and Tazarotene, the two most common Retin-A products on the prescription market. And, while they did help curb my acne and resurface my blemished skin, these powerful Retin-A products were extremely drying, leaving my skin thin and sensitive. As such, it is important to stick to Retinols, rather than prescription-strength Retin-A. I do, however, keep a tube on hand for spot treatment or when there’s a deep wrinkle I see forming.

In order to achieve your best skin results, use Retinol products with a low retinoid concentration. Typically, Retinol products sold at Sephora, Ulta, and other mainstream stores come in four different concentrations: 0.25%, 0.5%, 1%, and 1.25%. I recommend starting at the lowest dose, using the product only two to three times a week. This will allow your skin to slowly acclimate to retinoids without shocking it. From there, you can build up your “tolerance” to Retinol, using it 3-4 times per week and increasing the concentration as you see fit with your skin type and desired results.

Right now, I use FAB Skin Lab’s Retinol Serum in 0.25% concentration every night, and have a tube of Tretinoin in 1% concentration (from Italy because retinoids are $20 there versus $300 in the US) for spot treatment. I. started out using the FAB serum every other night, but quickly increased my usage to every night. Not only does FAB’s serum leave my skin renewed and refreshed, but I have seen a marked improvement in the fine lines I was beginning to see form around my eyes, cheeks, and forehead.

One final word on anti-aging: if you decide to use a Retinol at night, it is imperative that you use sunscreen in the morning. Retinoids make your skin more sensitive to the sun, which can lead to long-term sun damage if you don’t take the proper precautions. If you follow The (Skin)ny, you’ve read my article on sunscreen and know how I feel about it. Here’s the short version: YOU MUST WEAR IT. It’s that simple.

Ultimately, I recommend everyone start using Retinols now. It’s never too early, especially if you want to freeze your fantastic, wrinkle-less features in time. And, while Retinols aren’t cheap, they’re worth their weight in gold for the results they produce.

Here are some of my favorite Retinol products for those looking to add this magical ingredient into their skincare routine.

1. FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum, 0.25% Pure Concentrate, $58, sephora.com

Photo credit: ShopStyle

2. Sunday Riley Luna Night Oil, $55-$105, sephora.com

Photo credit: Dermstore

3. The INKEY List Retinol Anti-Aging Serum, $9.99, sephora.com

Photo credit: Amazon

4. Caudalie Premier Cru Anti-Aging Precious Oil, $89, sephora.com

Photo credit: Caudalie

Don’t let your skin fall victim to wrinkles in time. Add a Retinol to your skincare routine and discover the fountain of youth for yourself.


The (Skin)ny

Carolyn Hammond

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