Most of us have heard about retinol (which is the scientific name for vitamin A) Scientific research has proven that retinol is a powerful tool in the prevention of skin ageing; it has been proven to boost collagen, increase firmness, help with uneven skintone, brighten skin, smooth the skin and tighten pores.

How does Retinol work?

Simply by promoting the growth of new skin cells by allowing the skin to shed it’s dead cells faster, this then allows new cells and collagen to develop, which improves the appearance of the skin.

We asked Dr Preema Vig for her opinion and she said that ...”Over the last decade retinol got left behind as a key anti-ageing ingredient, mainly because it was seen as quite an aggressive skincare solution that caused dryness and irritation that was only available on prescription. Not anymore, recent technological advances have meant that retinol is available in off the shelf products, is safe to use and when bolstered with other key ingredients it delivers a youthful radiance, firmness and improved appearance of wrinkles.”

Here are Dr Vigs top facts and benefits of retinol:

Retinol Facts

✓  It is a derivative of Vitamin A

✓  Helps to treat acne

✓  Is a powerful antioxidant

✓  Increases skin cell turnover

✓  Improves collagen production

✓  Reduces pigmentation

✓  Prevents lines and wrinkles appearing


• Protects against UV-induced photo damage

• Heals and reduces skin inflammation

• Treats acne

• Improves collagen production

• Fights skin damage from intrinsic ageing

• Controls hyper pigmentation

What is the best formula to use? 

Serums and creams are the most common way of using retinol, many of which are designed for night time use; essentially, you apply your formula after your night time cleanse, dead skin is loosened while you sleep and washed away when you do your morning cleanse. Apart from serums and creams, you could choose a Retinol peel; if you need a stronger peel you should ideally consult a professional, although there are milder at home peel kits available.

Retinol, rapidly break down when exposed to the sun and air. That’s why retinol-containing products should always come in pumps or tubes with tight-fitting caps. Once opened, these products do not keep well and should be used within a couple of months.

The percentages of retinol found in products can vary – the highest percentage you can get without having a prescription is 2%.

Who can use Retinol?

Those with sensitive skin conditions should consult a dermatologist first as it can cause irritation.

Potential side effects?

Flaking, peeling, redness, irritation and itching, all of which are generally short lived however it is important to note that you should start slowly and with a low dose to see how your skin reacts, especially as for some people, the condition of their skin can get worse before they see the improvement they’re seeking.