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The ABCs of Retinol: Your Ultimate Skincare Guide

by Haruka Jifuku 06 Dec 2023 0 Comments

The ABCs of Retinol: Your Ultimate Skincare Guide

The ABCs of Retinol: Your Ultimate Skincare Guide

Guess what's creating a buzz on social media lately? It's none other than the sensational retinol! You've probably heard about it, maybe even given it a go yourself. But hold up—do you really know what retinol is and how to wield its power for flawless skin? No worries, because in this blog, we're diving deep into the world of retinol. From unravelling its fantastic features to seamlessly integrating it into your skincare routine, we've got you covered. And hey, stay tuned for our top picks of K-beauty retinol products—they're nothing short of amazing! 

What is Retinol?

Retinol, also known as vitamin A1, is a fat-soluble vitamin in the vitamin A family that is found in food and used as a dietary supplement. As an ingredient in skincare, retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that has gained widespread popularity for its various benefits in addressing several skin concerns.


  • Anti-Ageing

Retinol is renowned for its anti-ageing properties. It helps stimulate collagen production, which is essential for maintaining skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  • Cellular Turnover

Retinol promotes cellular turnover, aiding in the shedding of old, damaged skin cells and encouraging the growth of new, healthier ones. This process can result in a smoother and more even skin tone.

  • Acne Treatment

Retinol is effective in managing acne by preventing the formation of comedones (clogged pores) and promoting the turnover of skin cells, which can help reduce the occurrence of breakouts.

  • Hyperpigmentation

Retinol can be beneficial in addressing hyperpigmentation, such as dark spots and sun damage, by promoting the turnover of pigmented cells and encouraging a more even skin tone.

Who Should Avoid Retinol?

While retinol can be beneficial for many people, there are certain individuals who should exercise caution or avoid using it altogether.

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women

The safety of retinol during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not well-established. High doses of vitamin A, of which retinol is a form, can be harmful to the developing foetus.

  • People with sensitive skin

Retinol can be irritating, especially for those with sensitive or easily irritated skin. It may cause redness, dryness, and peeling. Individuals with sensitive skin should start with a lower concentration and gradually increase if tolerated.

  • Individuals with certain skin conditions

People with eczema, rosacea, or other skin conditions may find that retinol exacerbates their symptoms. It's important to consult with a dermatologist to determine whether retinol is suitable for your specific skin type and condition.

  • Those using certain medications

Some medications, such as certain antibiotics and antifungal drugs, can interact with retinol and increase the risk of skin irritation. It's crucial to inform your healthcare provider of all medications you are taking before using retinol.

If Retinol doesn't appear to be suitable for your skin, consider trying Bakuchiol instead, a natural alternative known for its similar properties to retinol. Derived from the Babchi plant, it offers skincare benefits by promoting collagen production and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Known for its antioxidant properties, Bakuchiol also helps improve skin texture and elasticity without the potential irritation associated with retinol. 

Bakuchiol is generally considered safe for use by pregnant women and individuals with sensitive skin.

PURITO Bakuchiol Timeless Bloom Revitalising Serum (30ml) - £26.00

PURITO Bakuchiol Timeless Bloom Revitalising Serum (30ml)

Purito's Bakuchiol Timeless Bloom Revitalizing Serum boasts 1% Bakuchiol, a natural, skin-friendly alternative to Retinol. Infused with peptides and herbal extracts, it enhances skin elasticity, stimulates collagen production, and reduces fine lines and wrinkles while providing nourishment and soothing effects.

HARUHARU WONDER Black Rice Bakuchiol Eye Cream (20ml) - £15.00

HARUHARU WONDER Black Rice Bakuchiol Eye Cream (20ml)

Haruharu Wonder's Black Rice Bakuchiol Eye Cream brightens and improves wrinkles, enhancing elasticity with 2,000ppm fermented Black Rice Extract for dark circles and 5,000ppm Bakuchiol, a natural alternative to Retinol.

How to Use Retinol Correctly

  • Start Slowly

If you are new to retinol, use lower concentrated retinol once or twice a week to allow the skin to acclimate for the first several weeks. As tolerance builds over weeks, the frequency can be gradually increased, but it's crucial to monitor the skin for any signs of irritation and adjust accordingly.

  • Evening Application

Apply retinol in the evening to clean, dry skin. This is because retinol can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, and using it at night minimises the risk of sun exposure.

  • Avoid Mixing with Other Actives

When using retinol, it's advisable to avoid certain skincare ingredients that may cause irritation or diminish the effectiveness of retinol. 

    • Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) 

Both retinol and vitamin C offer skin benefits, but using them together may lead to potential irritation. Consider using them at different times of the day or on alternate days.

    • Benzoyl Peroxide 

Combining retinol with benzoyl peroxide, a common acne-fighting ingredient, can increase the risk of skin irritation. If using both, consider applying them at different times, such as using one in the morning and the other in the evening.

    • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)

Ingredients like glycolic acid and salicylic acid can enhance exfoliation, increasing the risk of sensitivity when used alongside retinol. Introduce them gradually or use them on alternate days to assess skin tolerance.

  • Sun Protection

Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day when using retinol. This helps protect the skin from UV damage, as retinol can increase sensitivity to the sun.

BEAUTY OF JOSEON Relief Sun SPF50+ PA++++ (50ml) - £17.00

BEAUTY OF JOSEON Relief Sun SPF50+ PA++++ (50ml)
Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun, a lightweight organic chemical sunscreen with SPF50+, offers ultimate protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays. Enriched with grain probiotics and rice extract, it reinforces the skin's natural barrier, absorbs easily without leaving a white cast, and is suitable for sensitive skin.

K-Beauty Retinol Items

COSRX The Retinol 0.1 Cream (20ml) - £26.00

COSRX The Retinol 0.1 Cream (20ml)
COSRX Retinol 0.1 Cream is a lightweight anti-ageing formula, perfect for first-time users, featuring Super Vitamin E, Adenosine, and Panthenol for improved skin elasticity, reduced wrinkles, and enhanced moisture retention.

SOME BY MI Retinol Intense Reactivating Serum (30ml) - £34.00

SOME BY MI Retinol Intense Reactivating Serum (30ml)
Some By Mi Retinol Intense Reactivating Serum is the ultimate anti-ageing solution, featuring superstar ingredients Retinol, Retinal, and Bakuchiol for enhanced elasticity, prevention of fine lines, and skin rejuvenation. Its unique formula penetrates deeply, preventing sagging and improving texture.

SOME BY MI Retinol Intense Advanced Triple Action Eye Cream (30ml) - £19.95

SOME BY MI Retinol Intense Advanced Triple Action Eye Cream (30ml)

Reverse ageing with Some By Mi Retinol Intense Advanced Triple Action Eye Cream featuring dermatologist-praised Retinol and Retinal, known for their effectiveness in anti-ageing. Packed with star ingredients like Niacinamide for brightening, Centella Extract for soothing, and Panthenol for nourishing, this cream smoothens fine lines and enhances collagen production and elasticity.

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