Although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having spots and acne, a completely normal skin issue to experience, suffering from it can still be a source of anxiety.
I’ve dealt with bouts of acne on and off for 10 years, something I’ve written about here. Just last week a party of spots showed up on the lower half of my face, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t send me into a tizzy.
However, remaining calm I remembered some advice I was given at a recent event with skincare brand Skin Proud, here I learned that retinoids can actually be an acne sufferer’s best friend. Medical and Cosmetics Doctor, Dr Ewoma, explained that retinols are not just reserved for older skin, as you might have assumed, but actually can serve a big purpose for those who deal with regular breakouts too.
With a bottle of retinol stashed away in the back of my skincare shelf, rarely used because I was unsure what to do with it, after a little research I soon realised that I best be cracking open that retinol.
What’s the difference between a retinol and a retinoid?
Retinoids and retinols are pretty much the same thing, however the difference between them is strength. While retinoids are often only available with a prescription, retinols can be bought over the counter.
How do retinols treat breakouts/acne?
A good retinol serum can work wonders for your skin issues when used the right way. As a derivative of Vitamin A, which helps to regulate skin cell turnover, something that’s vital for your skin if you’re suffering from breakouts. Retinol works from the inside out, unclogging pores and also allowing other products to get to work better.
This is good for both current breakouts and old ones too, if you’re left with scars or marks from previous spots retinol can kickstart your skin into action and greatly reduce the appearance of redness and markings.
How should I use it?
Retinols can be a little tricky to use, often enough to put you off trying them altogether, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Each retinol product is different, depending on its strength, so it’s important to read the instructions on the back and follow those closely.
Typically, you will begin incorporating retinol into your routine slowly. Try it twice a week, working up to three times, and then every second or so day when your skin has familiarised with it. The most important thing to note is that you should never ever apply a retinol in the morning, only as part of your nighttime routine, as retinols increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
For this reason, always be sure you apply a sunscreen during the day. In the morning, you could use a salicylic acid on your breakout areas, or if you have a more sensitive skin, stick to using a vitamin c or hyaluronic acid underneath your suncream.
Which dosage is best to use?
Retinol serums usually range between 0.25% and 2%. Deciding which one to use all depends on your skin type. If your skin is on the sensitive side, it might be best to stick to a lower dose, if your skin is combination/oily you can try a higher dosage, but always remember to start off slow.
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