6 Things I Learned About Using Retinol

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Read on if you’re curious about retinol’s skin-improving effects and want to add retinol to your skincare routine.

Of all the active skincare ingredients, there’s one that hasn’t been getting nearly enough attention: retinol.

Retinol is most commonly associated with its anti-aging and acne-treating benefits. While stronger formulations are available only through prescription, over-the-counter skincare products can still contain retinol at undisclosed but safe and effective percentages. So you could be using retinol without even knowing it! But what exactly does it do?

While Vitamin C and even acids have become commonplace in the skincare junkie’s routine, getting started with retinol can feel overwhelming and confusing simply because there isn’t a lot of information out there compared to other ingredients. How does it work? Is it just for anti-aging? Is it safe? What age can you start using it? How do you use it?

Photo: Murad

I set out to put it to the test myself with Murad’s Retinol Youth Renewal Serum for 6 weeks. Here’s what I learned from my experience!

1. Retinol works by speeding up the skin turnover cycle

First of all, it’s important to know what retinol is. Simply put, it’s a retinoid, which means it’s a form of Vitamin A! You may see other retinoids under different names such as Tretinoin, Retin-A, Adapalene and such, but they all work in a similar way.

Unlike acids which exfoliate the top layer of skin, retinols works on your skin in a deeper way. It works by speeding up the skin turnover cycle, or the rate at which your skin cells replace themselves while also boosting collagen production. So your old cells die and are replaced with fresh, new cells at a faster rate, which means: baby skin, literally.

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