Everything you need to know about retinol

Learn all about retinol & why it’s such a popular anti-ageing ingredient


If you haven’t discovered the wonderful properties of retinol yet, you’re in for a treat. This skincare superstar is raved about by everyone from beauty bloggers to celebrities, but why’s it so popular?

What is retinol? 

Retinol is an over-the-counter cosmetic ingredient that’s become popular over recent years for helping to soften existing wrinkles and fight against the formation of new ones. Many people in the UK use creams containing retinol to help reduce signs of ageing, but its array of fantastic uses don’t end there. Due to retinol’s revitalising qualities, it can also be used to help improve the appearance of a number of other skin imperfections. 

How does retinol work? 

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A. It helps to smooth imperfections and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, as well as being great for helping to reduce the appearance of dark spots, blotches and sun-damage.

How long before I start seeing results from retinol? 

Although retinol is indeed a gem of the skincare world, it won’t work immediately, but be patient. Good things come to those who wait, and after a period of time you might begin to see a fresher, younger-looking you every time you check yourself out in the mirror.

What retinol products should I use? 

At Boots we’ve got a wide variety of different retinol creams and serums to suit your skin type and beauty needs. If you’re particularly worried about the dryness and irritation that comes with retinol creams, then you’ll be pleased to know that No7 uses a different active form of Vitamin A in their age-defying serums and creams. Retinyl palmitate, also known as Pro-retinol, is converted into retinoic acid (the most active form of Vitamin A) by the skin but is considered a much gentler ingredient than retinol and is less irritating to use. If fast anti-ageing results are what you’re after, then look no further than the No7 anti-ageing skincare range. One product that’s great for fast anti-ageing results is the No7 Protect and Perfect Intense Advanced serum. This can help visibly reduce the appearance of wrinkles in as little as 4 weeks, making it perfect if you’ve got a date in your diary you want to look your brilliant best for.

Effects & precautions

Chances are you’re raring to go and grab some retinol creams to add to your skincare regime; we don’t blame you! Still, there are some things to be aware of before you start using retinol.

· A common effect of using retinol creams is that they may result in your skin becoming somewhat red and dry.

· You can minimise the dryness and irritation that comes with retinol use by using a good hydrating moisturiser daily. Using a soothing or hydrating facemask 2 or 3 times a week may also help to reduce these side effects.

· Another effect of retinol is that it may cause your skin to become sensitive to sunlight. A simple fix to this is to use an SPF sun cream (we recommend SPF 30 at minimum).

· Overusing retinol cream won’t speed up your results, but it could make the side effects more severe. To avoid this happening, don’t use retinol more than once a day.