Retinoids (or vitamin A derivatives) seem to be the popular kid at the skincare party these days, it's very 'In' at the moment and we are seeing Retinoids pop up everywhere!

Retinoids are one of my favourite skincare ingredients, it’s something I only discovered in the last three years after having my first child as I was suffering from Hormonal acne and the ageing effects of nearing 30 with two kids. I loved it so much as it was a product which I saw real noticeable results from fairly quickly, I found my acne was clearing up and my skin was looking smoother and more refined after only a few weeks of use.

There are so many different vitamin A derivatives available, it can be a confusing and intimidating product to begin using if you don't know how retinoids work and what is best for your skin type. If you're experiencing adult acne or ageing effects on your skin then it might be a great product to begin adding to your skincare wardrobe, take a look below at a quick easy guide to retinoid products.

What are Retinoids?

Retinoids are a type of compound derived from Vitamin A which we commonly find in acne treating and anti-aging skincare. The confusing thing with Retinoids is that they can be called lots of different names as there are multiple different derivatives of Vitamin A, all of which are slightly different. Some of the most common Retinoids you will see are:

  • Tretinoin
  • Retinol
  • Adapalene
  • Retinaldehyde
  • Retinyl esters

Vela Day’s Active Compound utilises a new type of encapsulated Retinol which has a unique delivery system that ensures the retinol is delivered to the right layer of the skin to treat skin conditions while causing minimal irritation like traditional retinols.

Why should we use Retinoids?

Topical Vitamin A derivatives are one of the only things which can truly reverse the signs of ultraviolet radiation in our skin's dermis. Repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun is one of the main causes of skin ageing, this is called Photoaging.

Photoaging is said to be responsible for up to 90 percent of visible changes to the skin, it differs from chronologic ageing as the damaging radiation alters our normal skin structures and causes premature signs of ageing in our skin. UV radiation significantly affects both layers of our skin, the Epidermis (or top of our skin) and the Dermis (the deeper layer of our skin). With age, our Epidermis becomes significantly thinner as the skin cells become damaged. This leads to skin sagging and wrinkles. In our dermis, UV radiation causes a condition called Solar Elastosis which causes an accumulation of abnormal tissue in your dermis. It also damages the blood vessels which provide circulation to our dermis which causes dull-looking skin.

By using retinoids, you can begin to thicken up the epidermis, smooth out fine lines, improve the elastin tissue and improve the microcirculation in your dermis which can give your skin a rosy glow. Retinoids are truly a superpower product that is proven to reduce the signs of skin ageing.

Who should be using Retinoids?

Everyone can use retinoids, just make sure you start with a low dose and begin to slowly introduce it into your routine. However topical Retinoids should be used with caution with pregnant or breastfeeding and always check with your doctor before use.

Its always best to speak to your dermal therapist, GP or dermatologist if you are unsure about what retinoid is best for your skin.

When should you introduce Retinoids into your skincare?

We accumulate the majority of the sun damage by the time we are in our 20's, with around 70% of sun damage occurring in early childhood. The photoaging we accumulate in childhood begins to manifest on our skin in our 20's with things like hyperpigmentation and fine lines. This is why it’s a great time to begin introducing low strength retinoids to begin treating that damage and preventing further skin damage.

We suggest beginning to introduce retinoids into your skincare routine around the age of 25, once your skin’s collagen production begins to weaken. There are many different strengths of Retinoids on the market so if you do choose to begin using them start with a mild low strength Retinoid and work your way up to a higher strength product as you need it, you will still see significant improvement in the skin from weaker over the counter Retinoids with consistent use.

Using Retinoids is a cumulative process so it takes 3 - 6 months to begin seeing real results and can be used on and off for as long as you want. While it's great to start in your 20's to tackle the damage early, starting retinoids at any age is hugely beneficial it just means the later you start the more damage there is to reverse so it may take longer to see significant results.

How to use Retinoids?

Each Retinoid product is slightly different in structure and strength so it's important to follow the instructions given for the type of retinoid you are using. Even the lowest strength retinoids are still very powerful ingredients and should be used with caution and patience. The most important thing when starting retinoids is to slowly introduce the skin to the product, this will help you avoid major irritation, flaking, and dryness which can all be side effects of using retinoids. These side effects are all normal occurrences when using retinoids and are part of the process however you do want to minimise the effects as much as possible.

How you introduce retinoids into your skincare regime depends on your skin type, if you have sensitive skin then start with a short exposure and build up. If you have more normal type skin then you can try to introduce slightly faster and more frequently. Some common ways to begin using retinoids are:

  • Short exposure - Apply a small pea size amount to clean skin after cleansing and leave it on for 10 - 20 minutes. Wash it off completely and apply a moisturiser. Repeat every 2 - 3 nights for 2 weeks depending on the sensitivity and then slowly increase your exposure until you can leave the product on overnight without causing irritation.
  • Barrier method: Thoroughly cleanse your skin at night and apply an oil-free moisturiser first. Apply a small pea-size amount of Retinoid over your moisturiser and leave on overnight. Repeat every 2 - 3 nights.
  • Staggered exposure: Apply a small amount of Retinoid to your clean face at night. Apply 2 – 3 nights a week depending on desired results.

Vela days Active Compound uses a unique form of encapsulated retinol which is highly efficacious yet still gentle enough to be used daily without buffering. This serum encompasses all the actives you need and can be applied daily.

After cleansing and toning, simply apply 1 – 2 pumps to the palm of your hands and pat the serum all over your face in an upwards motion. Follow with sunscreen during the day and your Vela Days Oil Infusion at night.

The most important thing to remember when using Retinoids is to be sun safe, you must wear sunscreen every day when using retinoids and make sure you avoid long sun exposure as retinoids can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. There is no point using retinoids if you are going to cause more sun damage to your skin daily by not wearing sunscreen.