WTF: Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and is considered to be one of the key ingredients in the fight against ageing.
Retinol is actually a weaker form of tretinoin (aka retinoic acid); the acid form of vitamin A. Tretinoin is highly effective at treating acne and acute promyelocytic leukaemia. It has also been used as a powerful treatment for skin aging. Tretinoin is so powerful that it is only available on prescription. However, its excellent skin benefits lead scientist to create retinol, a lighter, less aggressive form of tretinoin that can be used in over-the-counter beauty products.
Beauty Benefits: Retinol has been proven to stimulate cell renewal and cell turnover, boost collagen production, unclog pores and help to reduce pigmentation. The ingredient is particularly effective because our skin cells contain retinoid receptors that help regulate how the cells function. Ageing causes skin cells to behave more erratically and it is the continual use of retinol that helps to normalise them (which, in turn, helps delay skin ageing).
Warnings: Retinol can cause a handful of side effects, which include dry skin, redness, flaky skin, irritation and skin peeling. However, it is important to note that these side effects - if they do occur - are often only temporary.
Found in: Sunday Riley's Luna Sleeping Night Oil (£85.00 SpaceNK / $105.00 Sephora). Described as a next generation retinoid oil, this premium skin saviour contains an advanced retinol complex that helps reduce the depth of lines and wrinkles, correct free radical damage and promote firmer and clearer skin. Luna is lightweight and fast-absorbing for an oil. However my favourite thing about this infamous oil is that I only have to use it once to see an improvement in my skin!