Retinol 101

As we get older, the hunt for that mythical fountain of youth seems to become a little more urgent.  With each new fine line, wrinkle and age spot, we’re anxious to find that magic potion that will restore the smooth, even, glowing skin we had when we were teens. Unfortunately, most of creams, serums and lotions that promise to eradicate wrinkles and improve skin texture just don’t deliver on their claims. Let’s be honest – we’ve all probably got a bathroom drawer full of products that didn’t do what they were supposed to.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any anti-aging products that can help your skin look younger. If you’re serious about improving the look of mature or aging skin, there’s one powerhouse ingredient that you should familiarize yourself with.


When it comes to anti-aging ingredients, retinol and other retinoids are some of the most effective options that you can find. A derivative of the powerful anti-oxidant vitamin A, retinol improves cell turnover to help fade skin discoloration and improve skin texture. While retinol isn’t as potent as prescription strength retinoids like tretinoin, it is one of the few substances small enough to actually penetrate the upper layers of skin and reach the lower layers where elastin and collagen production occurs. There, retinol helps boost collagen production to soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles.  It can also prevent clogged pores and hyperpigmentation for clearer, brighter skin.

Sounds like a miracle worker, right?

Because it’s such a powerful anti-aging ingredient, though, retinol can be irritating to the skin. When you first begin using it, redness, dryness, and flaking are common.  That’s why it’s important to ease your way into using a retinol product.  For the first couple of weeks, apply the product every third night.  If you don’t experience any irritation, you can increase your usage to every other night.  If you pass another two weeks without irritation, your skin may be resilient enough to use retinol every night. Read the product’s instructions, though, to be sure you aren’t using it too frequently.

If you do experience skin irritation with retinol, you can minimize the effect by waiting at least 15 minutes after you wash your face to apply the product.  Following up with your normal moisturizer can also help reduce dryness and flaking that commonly occurs with retinol. Because of the increased cell turnover, retinol also leaves your skin more sensitive to the sun so you should only use it at night and wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 during the day.

When your goal is improving skin texture and smoothness, it helps to use retinol in conjunction with alpha hydroxy acids to increase the anti-aging benefits. gloTherapeutics Retinol CS is an ideal option for mature skin because it combines retinol and glycolic acid in one serum to help reduce fine lines, smooth texture and brighten your skin. You can apply in the evening between two and five times a week depending on your skin’s sensitivity. If you have trouble with clogged pores in addition to anti-aging concerns, the gloTherapetucis Renew Serum is a better option because it contains salicylic acid in addition to retinol and glycolic acid, which allows it exfoliate inside the pore for clearer skin.

For severe wrinkles, fine lines and age spots, the gloTherpeutics Tretinol 0.5% Serum is potent enough to improve skin texture and clarity. It contains a patented form of retinol designed for more effective penetration so you see better results in less time. Use the serum to target specific problem areas or apply it all over cleansed skin. You can apply a moisturizer over the serum to fight irritation, but allow it to penetrate for at least 30 minutes before applying additional products.

If you’re experiencing fine line and crow’s feet around the eyes, look for a retinol product designed specifically for eye use to avoid irritation.  The Dermalogica Age Reversal Eye Complex contains retinol, vitamin C and peptides to effectively reduce lines around the eyes.

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