retinol | Skincare
Sarah Lee | 20.11.2020


Introducing one of our favourite families - the Retinoids! An umbrella term for a group of compounds derived from Vitamin A, they are the ultimate ingredient for skin renewal and combating the signs of ageing. You may have already heard of the head of the household, Retinol a product consistently championed by the experts, but dig beneath the surface and the scientifics of this group can raise a few questions.



In short, retinoids can increase cellular turnover by first stimulating the removal of dead skin cells from the surface as well as regulating cells involved in collagen and elastin production, helping the skin to look smoother, brighter, firmer whilst reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

When we’re babies, cellular turnover can happen in as little as 3-5 days yet as we age, it slows down and can extend this process by up to 28-45 days by the time we’re 30 and 45-60+ days as we get older.

Retinoids are heroes for targeting the signs of ageing, improving skin texture and tone and leaving you with a brighter, firmer complexion. They can also be used to treat acne.


So what’s the difference?

Retinol itself doesn’t affect the skin directly and works with the enzymes within the skin to convert it into Retinaldehyde and then Retinoic Acid which is where it then becomes effective and skin cell turnover increases. The speed of this process can depend on a few factors such as the percentage of retinol, stability and genetics

At the more potent end of the spectrum are prescription retinoids such as Tretinoin and Retin-A. These are already formulated as Retinoic Acid therefore don’t need to be converted once applied to the skin.

And the new kid on the block is Granactive Retinoid which offers a much lower irritation potential and is unique due to its ability to bind with retinoid receptors within the skin cutting out the need for metabolic breakdown.



Consistency is key with Retinol - it can take up to six weeks to see results - the time it takes for your skin to turnover revealing the results of the products you’ve been using along the way. The speed of this process can depend on a few factors such as percentage of Retinol, stability and genetics. Due to all this, Retinol is a slow worker - the longer you use it, the better the results will be.

Our Retinol products are formulated for slow release so can be used nightly. If you’re new to retinol, introduce slowly and gradually increase use to build your skin’s tolerance. We also recommend a patch test (behind your ear) 24 hours before to check your skin’s reaction.


Helping to target the signs of ageing, this serum helps target the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with less risk of irritation which can be typical with retinoids. It also boosts overall skin clarity and uneven skin tone for a brighter, more even complexion. The 1% RetiStar stabilised Retinol equates to around 0.05% Retinol whilst the Granactive Retinoid used equates to 0.05% Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate. We’ve also added Squalane for hydration and soothing.

HOW TO USE: Only use Retinol in the PM. On cleansed skin, and after Hyaluronic Acid if you are using it, apply a pea-sized amount and massage into to the face and neck. Follow with moisturizer, oil or both depending on preference. Start off using it 2-3 times per week and increase gradually if your skin can tolerate more frequent use. For more information on layering, watch the video in the layering section below.

Shop The INKEY List Retinol



A nighttime eye cream formulated to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while giving extra support to your most fragile skin. Our Retinol Eye Cream has been formulated with slow release Vitamin A derivatives shown to support natural collagen production, while being gentle enough to use around the eyes. The 3% Vitalease™ (Retinol) is a stabilized retinoid compound, slow-release formula which equates to 0.09% Retinol.

HOW TO USE: Use in the PM starting off 1-2 times per week and increasing depending on your skin's tolerance. After serums, apply a small amount onto finger and gently pat around the contour of the eye, following with usual moisturizers or oils. Can also be used to target lines around the mouth, avoiding the lips.

Shop The INKEY List Retinol Eye Cream



SPF: Retinoids can increase sun sensitivity so whatever retinoid is being used, SPF 30 or higher is a greater must than ever due to the skin becoming more susceptible to UV damage.

NIGHT ROUTINE: Retinol is best used in the PM of your routine to avoid damage from sun exposure and to allow it to work its magic overnight.

LAYERING: We recommend not mixing retinol with Alpha Hydroxy Acids at the same time as this can lead over exfoliation and sensitised skin so alternerate and use on different nights. Also, avoid mixing Vitamin C products. You can alternate the time of day you use these.

AGE: We generally recommend using Retinol to those age 25+ to help support the skin as its natural collagen and elastin production starts to slow down.

CONDITIONS: We don't recommend using retinoids if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and to consult a dermatologist if experiencing rosacea, eczema or other skin conditions.

For more information about our Retinoids and The INKEY List products, contact us at #askINKEY

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