What is Retinol?

In recent years, skin care companies have released many products advertising the benefits of retinol. Retinol, a form of vitamin A, is a naturally occurring fat-soluble vitamin found in animal products such as fish oils and liver. It's also manufactured in the form of retinoids, tritonin and retinyl palimitate.

What is retinol used for?

Retinol was first used to treat acne but is now frequently used to treat signs of ageing, fine lines and wrinkles, refine pores, reduce blemishes and acne scarring. 

Retinol is an antioxidant that's been shown to reduce the risk of cancer by neutralising free radicals. It increases cell production in the top layer of skin, so new skin cells begin to grow underneath and push their way towards the surface of the skin. Resulting in the cells looking smoother and the skin looking younger.

It has a positive effect on collagen production, because skin uses retinoic acid when it produces collagen. As a result, skin looks plumper and it helps to reduce pigmentation that comes with sun damage.


Clear skin with using RetinolThe greatest cause of damage is the sun, which can greatly accelerate the effects of aging. Chemicals, such as second-hand smoke and pollution, also work to harm sensitive skin tissues. Retinol stimulates cell growth and production and helps misshapen skin cells to grow back to their proper form to help repair this damage.

Retinol is an excellent product to use because it works simply by repairing and improving the overall health of your skin.

Anti-ageing creams contain varying amounts of retinol, so check the label before buying. All the High Street beauty products that state they contain retinol may only contain a very small amount and will not say how much. With Cosmeceutical products you will find high levels of retinol and a good delivery system, so the retinol stays effective in the bottle and penetrates deep into your skin when you use it.

What are the side effects of retinol?

Because the turnover of skin cells is higher, the cells at the surface are younger and more vulnerable to sun damage, so you should always wear a daily sunscreen even if it’s not sunny. There's no point getting the anti-ageing benefits of a retinol cream, only to have them undone by sun damage. Retinol taken orally affects cell growth, it's known to cause birth defects and therefore should not be taken during pregnancy.

Applying retinol

Retinol needs to be applied at night. It can cause irritation, so start by building up retinol use slowly to help skin to adapt. Use a retinol cream every third night for a week, then alternate nights for a week before going for nightly use. If burning, stinging and skin peeling persist for more than a day or two discontinue use. It can take about 12 weeks to notice the full effects of retinol, so don't be discouraged if you don't notice any changes at first. Use Medik8 Hydr8 B5 if you experience any redness or irritation, it soothes, moisturises, gets rid of the red flaky skin without the heaviness of other moisturisers.

Can I use glycolic acid with retinol?

To give you even more exfoliation, AHAs or BHAs can be used alongside retinol, but it can be too much for some people.
If you experience drying, redness or sensitivity, consider alternating your retinol product with your AHA or BHA exfoliant to find the right balance for your skin.

If you prefer an alternative to a retinol cream but want similar anti aging effects then using a glycolic acid product would be a great choice. It has similar benefits and is less irritating to sensitive skin than retinol, so you could start using this product alone and gradually add retinol to your skin care routine. Glycolic acid has been found to increase the effectiveness of retinol by enhancing the penetration. Also using a Vitamin C will reduce environmental skin damage and enhance collagen production. By using Retinol, Glycolic Acid & Vitamin C together they all do something different to contribute to rejuvenating the skin.

Retinol creams that have high levels & are stabilised, are delivered to the deeper layers of the skin.

Our range of Professional Retinol skincare products include:

PCA Skin Retinol range of products by different skin types/concerns:

  • • One for Brightening (pigmentation),
  • • Clarity to reduce Acne breakouts and clear complexion,
  • Anti-aging for mature and aging skin;
  • • and one for sensitive skin that reduces redness and signs of aging, without causing irritation.

Jan Marini Age Intervention Retinol Plus – Highly concentrated of all-trans-retinol is combined with advanced peptides and antioxidants for maximum results. Improves the radiance, texture and tone of the skin, diminishes fine lines, aging and sun damage. 

Medik8 Retinol 3TR contains highly stable, pure, encapsulated all-trans retinol at 0.3% concentration, combats common skin-ageing concerns such as facial wrinkles, lines, folds and a loss of firmness by stimulating collagen and hyaluronic acid production. Retinol has also been proven to improve skin clarity and texture, promote anti-pigmentation plus demonstrate anti-acne and pore-minimising effects, all leading to a more youthful skin appearance. Increase to Medik8 Retinol 6TR then Medik8 Retinol 10TR.

NeoStrata Skin Active Retinol + NAG Complex is formulated to synergistically build skin’s matrix to lift and firm, diminish the appearance of age spots, and smooth lines and wrinkles from the inside out. Formulated with 0.5% pure, stabilised Retinol. Patented NeoGlucosamine® amplifies and intensifies the volumising and firming benefits versus Retinol alone. The formulation gently exfoliates skin to help reduce the appearance of uneven pigment and age spots.