the skin edit.

Retinol explained simply

Retinol is a skincare ingredient that causes a lot of confusion because its biochemistry is complicated and it’s included in skincare products in many different forms.

A wondrous anti-aging ingredient, retinol should  be included in your skincare routine because it has so many skin benefits. With the help of retinol, skin becomes younger, more refined, and healthier looking.

What is Retinol?

Retinol is the pure form of Vitamin A. In order for the skin to use it, retinol is converted via multi-step biochemical processes to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid is the end product  which the skin uses to anti-age itself. 

The more steps or conversions that are required, the weaker the effect of your retinol product. Most over-the-counter retinols contain retinol derivatives such as retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate and retinyl linoleate. These derivatives need to go through many steps before they become retinoic acid. They are used in cosmetic products because they are largely non-irritating. The problem is that they are often too weak to produce meaningful results because they are diluted at each step in the conversion process.

So why not just use products that contain pure retinoic acid? The problem is that pure retinoic acid causes irritation and sensitisation. It should only be used when prescribed by a dermatologist or medical professional.

New generation retinol derivatives are designed to provide retinol benefits without causing irritation. One such derivative that has taken over-the-counter retinol products to the next level is HPR (Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate). HPR doesn’t require any conversion steps to act on skin cells. It is a fast-acting retinol derivative that provides all the benefits of retinoic  acid without causing dryness, red patches or flaky skin.

Why should I use Retinol?

Retinol has many benefits for skin health. It prevents break-outs, exfoliates, addresses fine lines and wrinkles, fades pigmentation spots and maintains a supple, youthful complexion. It’s often referred to by cosmetic scientists as ‘the only proven anti-ageing ingredient’.

Retinol or Retinoids?

Many people get confused by skincare labels which refer to retinol products and ingredients as ‘retinoids’. Retinoids are simply derivatives or retinol which are a step closer to retinoic acid in the conversion chain. Retinoids are thus faster-acting.


The champion of anti-aging ingredients, retinol helps to heal cystic acne, fade dark spots, soften wrinkles and lighten hyperpigmentation. Use a retinoid night oil at night to nourish and repair the skin. Superstar Retinoid night oil is formulated with two types of fast-acting retinols that get straight to work repairing damaged skin without causing irritation.

When Should I use Retinol?

While there is no set age at which to use retinol, most dermatologists advise introducing this ingredient into your routine in your mid-twenties, particularly if you suffer from breakouts or pigmentation.

Retinol products should be used at night only as they degrade quickly when exposed to sunlight. Incorporate a retinol-based night oil into your routine as the final step to supercharge your skin while you sleep.

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