This blogpost is sponsored by RoC® Skincare, available now in Australia at Chemist Warehouse.

What is retinol?

Retinol is a form of Vitamin A, essential for healthy function of the eyes, immune system, and skin. Retinol must be converted in the skin to exert most of its effects, to retinal and then retinoic acid. Retinoic acid is the prescription version for medical conditions, but if you just want the antiaging, pore-unclogging, skin-smoothing effects without so much drama and potential irritation, you can go for retinol. A vitamin A related compound is called a retinoid, so all three of the below molecules (and more!) are retinoids, but only retinol is retinol.

What does retinol do to skin?

It helps prevent visible signs of aging, and helps with breakouts too. Retinoids exert most of their antiaging effects once converted to retinoic acid, by influencing gene expression, but they also have some antioxidant activity.

The results of regular use are;

  • Prevention of collagen/elastin breakdown, meaning skin is full and elastic for longer
  • Thicker skin in the dermis, meaning decreased appearance of lines. In the eye area, this can also mean diminished appearance of dark circles, because some dark circles are muscle (purple/red) showing through thin skin.
  • An increase of collagen production, which keeps the skin thick and supported
  • Hyaluronic acid presence in skin is indirectly increased! This is a water binding molecule that keeps skin moisturised and bouncy looking. The retinoid helps teach your skin to hydrate itself better.
  • Reorganises the cells and the way they shed, leading to smoother and less breakout-prone skin
  • Retinoids inhibit inflammatory mediators, which… sort of de-stresses the cells. Happy cells are healthy cells!
  • Can address pigmentation, both directly by preventing melanin production and transfer, AND in conjunction with other ingredients (by helping the previously damaged, discoloured cells turn over)

Altogether this means reduced fine lines and roughness, and smoother, more even skin.

How do I know which product to choose?

Despite the current skincare landscape (forever striving for higher percentages), the concentration is only one piece of the puzzle. In fact, some products can feel stronger and give more pronounced results because of the packaging, inclusion of antioxidants, or even encapsulation for freshness. Retinoids are not particularly stable molecules, and not all brands have made an effort to keep them active for the lifetime of their products. Look for brands with clinically proven results and stabilised retinol.
I highly recommend RoC® Skincare – they were the first to stabilise retinol, they’re easy to find at Chemist Warehouse, affordable, and with 100+ clinical studies and 27+ years of research, theirs is the most proven retinol on the market.

How long will my retinol results take?

Let me give you a scenario:
You want the results quickly, so you use a lot, and you use it often. Your skin has no time to adjust and becomes overwhelmed, leaving you with side effects like stinging, breakouts, flaking, and dryness. You stop using your retinoid because you don’t like the side effects and you’re back at square one.
Not ideal, right?

My advice to you is, give it six months to a year. Introduce slowly, keep an eye on your skin the day after use, and take it as it comes. Much better.

RoC® is one of the only skincare brands to have completed a one-year clinical study proving that the benefits of RoC® retinol formulas increase with time, do not plateau, and in fact, become more effective with continued use.

How do I introduce slowly?

Start your retinoid by using a pea size, once per week. Some of the irritating side effects appear on day 2 (ie, Wednesday) after use (on Monday), so don’t get too comfortable if your skin is OK on day 1 (Tuesday). Here are some example starter skincare routines for you:

MethodPM Skincare Routine
Straight UpCleanse, Retinoid, Moisturise
The SandwichCleanse, Moisturise, Retinoid, Moisturise
The SerumCleanse, Calming Serum, Retinoid, Moisturise
The MostCleanse, Red LED Mask, Retinoid, Calming Serum, Moisturise

Do one of these once per week for a month, then see where your skin is at and how comfortable you feel. Because this is a long game, you’ll want a product that’s stabilised, so it’s fresh and potent every time. I like the biodegradable RoC® Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Night Serum Capsules for this reason – you twist the capsule open, it’s the perfect dose for your face and neck, and it’s fresh and potent because you just opened it. You can get them in the 10 capsule size or the 30 capsule size. The perfect beginner retinol.

From here, do your retinoid night 2 nights in a row every week for another month. And be sure it take it easy on the other actives. Don’t even worry about other actives – this is the gold standard anyway.

You’ll see a reduction in fine lines, visible pores, pigmentation, and non-inflammatory acne lesions (blackheads and whiteheads).

For the RoC® Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Night Serum Capsules, we have a clinically proven reduction in fine lines with skin appearing firmer after 4 weeks. You can get started now by picking them up at Chemist Warehouse and Ultra Beauty.