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  • Writer's pictureMonicaproartist

Why Retinoids are your anti-ageing BFF!

Retinoids are essential for helping with those lovely life lines. I call them life lines because they are just that. They tell the story of what we've lived through, how much we've smiled and that we're here to tell the story. Nothing will help ever get rid of every line and wrinkle but who wants that? It's unrealistic and unnatural! That being said, we all want a little help to slow time down. That's where Retinoids come in!

The Lowdown

Retinoids are essentially Vitamin A. They were originally used to help sufferers of acne but through scientific studies they were proven to reverse signs of ageing as well as prevent them. They're like little wizards that work deep in the skin to help with the production of collagen and elastin production. As we cannot produce vitamin A ourselves, this needs to be supplied by diet and skincare! Whilst they are all derived from the same source, they are not all the same in terms of strength or results.

When should using them?

From a preventative perspective, you should start in your 20's or 30's- basically, whenever you feel you're beginning to suffer with fine lines.

What to expect when you first start using a Retinoid product:

  • Some redness and soreness

  • Peeling - especially when going up a level in strength!

  • Irritation

Retinoids are extremely unique in that they need to really be used with care. You must must give your skin the time to adjust to the treatment. Help your skin adjust by sandwiching your product between layers of moisturisers to reduce the strength until your skin becomes used to it. You can also use oils such as jojoba or squalene throughout the day to help. It sounds awful doesn't it? But the longer-term result will be that your skin will look smoother, plumper and with fewer lines. Just remember, there is no such thing as a quick fix, especially when it comes to these products.

How do I start?

The most commonly known form of Retinoids is Retinol. This form is widely available and because they are not as strong, they are a good place to start. However, it will take longer to see results. Retinoids are extremely potent and it is super important to build the strength up over time. Always use a whole bottle at one strength before moving up to a stronger one. It's always advisable to start by using Retinol a couple of times a week as part of your evening routine. This will allow your skin to adjust and reduce any reactions you may have.

La Roche-Posay Retinol 0.3%

La Roche-Posay Retinol

This is a great place to start. It has 0.3% Retinol content and the Vitamin B3 helps to strengthen the skin's barrier. It's ideal for anyone with sensitive skin too.

The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalene

The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalene

This is a great product at a great price. It is slightly stronger so if you're using this as a beginner, then be sure to weaken it with moisturiser and start with using it only a couple of times a week.

The next level up is Retinaldehyde. This acts quickly but can cause some irritation. It's said to work 20 times faster than Retinol. However do not be tempted to go straight to this level. Your skin will NOT thank you for it! Some of the best ones out there are these:

Indeed Labs Retinol Reface 1% Retinoid

Indeed Labs Retinol Reface

This product contains 1% next generation retinoid fluid, 1% short and long-term time release retinol complex and 3% retinol-like peptide, helping to provide the same benefits as traditional retinol.

Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules

Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules

These claim to be 76% more potent than regular Retinol, and the capsule format retain optimum potency.

Peter Thomas Roth 3% Retinoid Plus

Peter Thomas Roth 3% Retinoid Plus

This serum is for seasoned Retinol users but always start slow when you first try it. It also includes caffeine to help tone and condition the appearance of skin, along with super lipids to infuse moisture and calm too.

The top level product is Tretinoin. Due to the strength, it is only available on prescription and you will need to be guided by a dermatologist.

Where to use them in your routine

  • Use them ONLY at night as they cause sensitivity to sunlight. Avoid using them if you're going to be sitting in the sun for prolonged periods.

  • Start by using any new product only a couple of times a week.

  • Use after cleansing on dry skin. Then go on to apply any oils, hydrating mists and eye creams.

  • Always use a sunscreen during the daytime. By now you should know how strongly I feel about sunscreen so you should be wearing this everyday anyway! At least factor 30 please!

To End - A Few Myths!

  • Retinoids will NOT thin your skin

  • The more you apply, the better. Incorrect. A pea size amount should cover your whole face.

  • You should see results straight away. Unfortunately not! The results you see will depend upon the strength, application and your age.

  • Retinoids exfoliate your skin. As they are a derivative of Vitamin A, they are classed as antioxidants so will not exfoliate in any way.


Monica is a Professional Hair and Makeup Artist based in Leicester, East Midlands. She is a mother to daughters & loves all things skin and makeup related! Whilst she helps everyone feel their best, she especially enjoys working with clients over the age of 40, suffering with skin issues such as Psoriasis or thinning hair as she suffers with all of these herself! Her goal is to create looks that show her client's natural beauty and not mask them. Services range from bridal makeup to event makeup and occasion hair styling. For more details, please contact her via the contact form by clicking on

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