Before I crack on with this post, allow me to just preface it by saying: I am no skincare expert. I read a heckuva lot of beauty blogs, watch a whole heap of YouTube videos and pour over magazines and beauty books like there is no tomorrow. However, I’m not in anyway qualified as a skincare specialist or a beauty guru or even as a make-up artist.

So there are still a lot of things in the beauty world that baffle me, quite honestly. And retinol is one of those things. I kept reading about it, and hearing how important it was for people in their mid to late twenties to start using it. A quick internet search turned up a whole lot of information, not a lot of it that digestible, however I did ascertain a couple of facts. The first thing is that retinol is a form of vitamin A. So far so good. The second is that it is one of the key ingredients in a lot of anti-ageing products.

Which is where I came up against a few unanswered questions. How old should you be when  you start using it? Does someone of my age (mid-twenties) need to use anti-ageing products every day? And so on.

After a bit more research, I also learned that a lot of people use retinol in order to tackle a lot of acne issues – particularly acne scarring. It seems that the vitamin A helps to stimulate new blood vessels in the skin, which in turn helps your skin to heal and recover. In other words, the retinol helps your skin to fight any damage caused by the acne a lot quicker and more effectively, thereby decreasing the risk of scarring.

And that’s where I hit gold; to me, all of that sounded just great. I suffer from some pretty awful acne scarring and redness on my cheeks and my forehead, which is usually made all the more prominent in the summer – thanks to the sunshine. So I picked me up some retinol and got to work.

Now I admit, I struggled when it came to picking a specific retinol to use. Again more internet research took place, and through this I learned that there is a difference between ‘prescribed retinol’ and the stuff that you get off the shelf in Boots or Duane Read. Obviously the prescribed stuff is going to be a heckuva lot stronger – whereas the stuff you buy in the drugstore will be fine for everyday use, particularly if you’re just using it to clear up a bit of scarring.

So I picked up the Indeed Labs Retinol Reface and have been using it now for around a year… ten months maybe? And I love it. Despite my initially clueless-ness about the whole retinol thang, I can honestly say that this has helped to improve my skin so much – I really don’t know what I would do without it. My scarring has gone down, I’m getting less of those awful under the skin spots that linger for weeks on end, and on the whole my skin feels a lot smoother and plumper.

In other words: two thumbs way, way up (who can guess the movie reference?).


2 thoughts on “Embracing retinol: A guide for total beginners

  1. tirurit says:

    I have been thinking of getting into retinol so this was very helpful!

  2. Hello! I was about to answer your retinol question when I kept reading and saw that you answered it for yourself, even better! I’m a certified aesthetician and wouldn’t suggest anyone in their twenties to use retinol unless they were suffering from acne or acne scarring. It’s fantastic for that. Retin-A, or it’s derivative, retinol, help hyperexfoliate the skin which is what makes it great for scarring, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, etc. I am doing a “Why Series” on my blog just to help people understand all of those ingredients like Retin-A, AHA’s, amino acids, peptides, antioxidants. Love your blog and your photos! I will definitely add this product to my wish list.

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