5 Golden Rules To Incorporate Retinol In Your Routine

One of the ingredients that allows our skin to look better as we age in life is retinoid. 

Let us jump in. Whether you are a beginner or a veteran, the golden rule is:

#1. Go low and go slow.

  • Go low: This is about the type of retinoid that you're incorporating into your routine.

  • Go slow: Slowly incorporate your retinoid. Start by using it 1-2 times a week only for a few weeks, and slowly add a night for a few weeks, then another night for a few weeks etc… until you can use it every night.

    What are the different types of retinoids?

    Retinoids are the class of vitamin A that helps your skin renew itself, be stronger and better for you in the long run. But retinoids are not all created equal.

    Starting from the lightest form:

    1. We have retinol esters (retinyl propionate, retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate). They are the “least effective” forms of retinoids, but they're also a good entry point for people who are either very sensitive or do not know how to start.

    2. The retinol esters become retinol, which has become the mainstream synonym of retinoids. Retinols are not active when they're applied to the skin. They have to get converted into retinals, which then gets converted into retinoic acid, which is the active form. Retinols are 10-20% less potent than retinoic acid. They're good if you are a beginner or are super sensitive and want to go past the retinol ester stage.

    3. Retinal is a step above retinol. It's a good alternative if you're looking for more efficacy, but you're not ready to take the plunge into retinoic acid. It's more stable, and is a gentle vitamin A derivative. 

    4. There is a better version than retinol now, which is retinoic acid esters. This is the cousin form of retinoic acid, but is less irritating. If you're ready to start a prescription but you tend to be sensitive or are too scared for a prescription, this one's for you.

    5. Last, we have retinoic acid, aka tretinoin, aka prescription, aka the most effective one. 

                  IN A NUTSHELL: 

                  [GO LOW = (lightest to strongest) Retinol Esters → Retinol → Retinal → Retinoic Acid Esters → Retinoic Acid

                  GO SLOW = slowly incorporate retinoid to your routine]

                  So how should you incorporate retinol in your routine?

                  Watch this video to see Dr. Shereene Idriss’ other golden rules and product recommendations.