What Is Retinol & Do I Need It?

What’s All The Fuss About Retinol?  The Skin Clinic at Urban Spa & Wellness in Bishop’s Stortford Investigates…

Most of us have heard of retinol, but do we really understand what it is and how it can be used to improve our skin?  The skin specialists at our Bishop’s Stortford salon look into retinol to explain how this ‘miracle product’ can help fight the signs of ageing when used in the correct form and strength.  

The best skin treatments near you

Bishop's Stortford



What Is Retinol?

Retinol is a form of vitamin A which is added into skin care serums and moisturisers to boost the amount of fibrin and collagen your body makes. By adding retinol to your daily skin care routine you can help to reduce skin pigmentation, improve your skin’s texture and reduce fine lines & wrinkles as it has really great smoothing effects.

These are the most common forms of retinol:

Retinyl palmitate – the least potent retinoid that can be found in over-the-counter products
Retinaldehyde – a slightly stronger retinoid found in over-the-counter products
Retinol – the strongeest of the retinoids found in over-the-counter products
Tretinoin – prescription only and helpful for people with acne and light acne scarring
Tazarotene – prescription only retinoid commonly sold in two concentrations (0.05% and 0.1%) and helpful for acne, psoriasis, sun-damaged skin.

How Much Retinol Is Right For My Skin?

Some dermatologists will also prescribe a strong form of retinol – tretinoin – to help clear acne as it can regulate sebum (oil production), while also reducing the appearance of acne scars. 

However, there are numerous scientific studies that suggest retinol in over-the-counter products can also make a difference to your skin.

At The Skin Clinic at Urban Spa in Bishop’s Stortford, we use and recommend the SkinCeuticals range of products.  Take, for example, SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3, which is a concentrated facial cream with pure retinol designed to improve fine lines, open pores and improve skin tone. Formulated to minimise irritation and specially packaged to preserve its potency, this retinol cream can also improve discolouration and blemishes by accelerating cellular turnover.  Talk to one of our skin specialists about our SkinCeuticals brightening facials

Will My Face Peel When I Use Retinol?

Your first step if considering using a retinol-based product is to talk to one of our skin specialists.  We can assess your skin and give advice regarding any skin concerns you may have, before recommending the appropriate product or treatment. 

It’s important to make sure you know the strength of the solution you’re using, as well as finding out what’s right for your skin. If you’re not used to retinol products or you use a concentration that is too high for your skin type, you may find that they cause your skin to become red, dry and flaky.  The last thing you want is to damage your skin – so please book in for a consultation at The Skin Clinic at Urban Spa today so we can help you.

If you buy an over-the-counter product, please make sure it comes in an airtight container.

When Should You Start Using Retinol?

It’s difficult to say when you should consider using retinol skin creams.  It really does depend on the state of your skin.  For example if you suffer from acne then your skin may benefit from skin-renewing ingredients like retinol.  Equally, your skin can become sun-damaged at any stage in your life so if your skin is showing the signs of ageing or pigmentation, now might be the time to start using retinol-based products. 

Should You Use Retinol Products During the Day or Night?

If you are using a 1% or 1%+ retinol, this is best used at night time when your skin will not be exposed to the sun.  Retinol is very effective for skin renewal so fresh skin may be more sensitive to the sun. 

Must I Protect My Skin From the Sun After Using Retinol-Based Products?

Yes.  Always use sun protection and particularly if you are using products containing retinol.  

What are AHAs?

If you’ve heard of retinol, you’ve probably also heard of AHAs – also known as Alpha Hydroxy Acids.  Retinol works really well when it is teamed with AHAs.  Retinol works at a cellular level, whereas AHAs work at the very top of the skin.  In effect, the AHA clears the debris from the surface of your skin so the retinol can penetrate the layers below. 

However, if your have sensitive skin or skin that tends to become irritated, be aware that you may experience redness, irritation or flaky skin when using retinol or a combination poroduct containing retinol and AHAs or BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids) such as glycolic or salicylic acids.  

Book A Complimentary Skin Consultation at Bishop Stortford’s Top Skin Clinic

We really do want to help you with your skin issues so please book in for a complimentary skin consultation by calling us on 01279 465666 or 465333 today.  We are happy to help.

Report an issue.

Sometimes website display issues can be fixed with a hard refresh. If this does not resolve the problem, please complete a bug report below.

By submitting this form a screenshot will be taken of this website as YOU currently see it which include sensitive information. You also agree to diagnostic information being taken including but not limited to: Browser type (Chrome/Firefox, IE etc), Operating System and IP Addresss. We may attempt to contact you in order to help resolve the issue you are reporting to us.

Thank you! Our technical team will look at this issue shortly.