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How Does Retinol Work?


How Does Retinol Work? How Does Retinol Work? How Does Retinol Work?

Let’s face it: Sooner or later, you’re bound to have a few fine lines and wrinkles crop up on your face—it’s all a part of getting older. And if you’ve noticed this common sign of skin aging, you could be asking yourself what you can do about it. Well, you may want to consider starting an anti-aging skin care routine. That means it could be time for your complexion to meet retinol! This popular skin care ingredient is commonly found in anti-aging skin care product formulas (such as face moisturizers and eye creams) for good reason. Here, get the lowdown on what retinol is, how retinol works, and how to add skin care products formulated with retinol to your skin care routine.

WHAT IS Retinol?

While birthdays are super-fun, the effects of aging on your skin might not look as joyous. That’s where retinol comes in. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that is often found in anti-aging skin care products.


According to the AAD, retinol works by unclogging pores, which can make your skin look brighter. However, according to the AAD, retinol can be drying, so you should be mindful of that fact when you’re using any products formulated with it. When applying retinol, remember the saying, “less is more!” (Here are Our Best Skin Care Products for Dry Skin.)

How Do you use retinol?

If you’re interested in using skin care products formulated with retinol as part of your skin care routine, the AAD recommends starting slow until your skin builds up tolerance, since, like we said, retinol can be drying to the skin. Generally, retinol should be used as part of your nighttime skin care routine, and you should follow up with a moisturizer afterwards. Plus, when you wake up in the morning and go through your A.M. skin care routine, you should apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher as your last step before putting on any makeup, as retinol can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Additionally, you should take other sun protection measures as well—reapply sunscreen every two hours, cover up exposed areas in long sleeves, pants, a broad-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses, seek shade, and limit your amount of time in the sun, especially during the sun’s peak hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where can you find retinol?

Retinol is one of the trendiest skin care ingredients today, so now’s the perfect time to add it to your beauty regimen. Try the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Dual Overnight Moisturizer, which is formulated with glycolic acid, Pro-Retinol, and vitamin C to help brighten the appearance of your skin with continued use over time. Gently smooth it over cleansed skin before you hit the hay, and remember to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen in the morning as directed and take the other sun protection measures we outlined above as well.

what does a skin care routine with retinol look like?

While retinol can play an important role in your skin care routine, it’s not the only thing you can do to maintain your complexion’s beautiful, youthful-looking appearance. Add these tips to your skin care routine along with using a moisturizer formulated with retinol.

1. Wash with a facial cleanser twice a day. This is one of the best steps you can take for a pretty complexion. Washing your face at night is particularly important to help address the buildup of dirt, oil, and makeup that has piled up during the day. Since your skin can get drier as you age, use a cream facial cleanser, like the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Radiant Smoothing Clean Cleanser.

2. Apply sunscreen every day. We can’t stress this point enough! According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, leaving skin unprotected can cause damage, which can in turn lead to visible signs of aging down the road, like wrinkles and dark spots. The sun emits two kinds of rays—UVA and UVB—and UVA rays are the ones responsible for making your skin look older, while UVB rays cause burning. It’s important to protect yourself against both, so opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen formulated with an SPF of 15 or higher to get the job done and reapply regularly. Taking other sun protection measures (like limiting your time in the sun and wearing sunglasses are crucial, too.

3. Exfoliate. Slough off dead skin cells from the surface of your skin by incorporating a gentle exfoliator into your routine once or twice a week. The reason why this step is so important: As you get older, your skin’s ability to shed old surface skin cells slows down, and this buildup can lead to a duller-looking complexion. Try the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Scrub Cleanser, which is formulated with gentle micro-pearls and glycolic acid. Just remember that alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so make sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher or a moisturizer formulated with SPF, like the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Day Lotion SPF 30, afterwards as directed.

4. Pay attention to your eyes. They can give away your age! If you experience the appearance of dark circles, puffiness, or fine lines, adding an eye cream to your daily skin care routine could be a good idea. Try the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Eye Cream.

5. Apply retinol at night. Remember: Use a moisturizer formulated with retinol as part of your nighttime skin care routine, then follow up with a broad-spectrum sunscreen and other sun protection measures in the morning.

Want more anti-aging skin care tips? Check out our article, A Skin Care Routine for Aging Skin.