Never mind the Botox, here’s the retinol

This wonder skincare ingredient delivers luminous skin – and no needles are involved

Look as young as you feel: over time retinol will help the skin get used to rejuvenating itself. Photograph: iStock

Look as young as you feel: over time retinol will help the skin get used to rejuvenating itself. Photograph: iStock

 

I see nothing wrong with Botox or cosmetic surgery. Modern women are in an impossible situation in which they are vilified for growing old, and then vilified for cosmetically altering themselves. Wrinkles can be beautiful and foreheads that don’t move can be very strange, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for wanting a face that represents the age they feel.

I think many of us are quietly curious about Botox. However, if you’d like to avoid the needle, there are many topical treatments you can spend a fortune on while chasing your youth.

Retinol is a form of vitamin A hailed as a wonder skincare ingredient – it’s that one thing that really works. It increases cell turnover, stimulates collagen production, unclogs pores and evens out pigmentation, as well as thinning out the top layer of skin resulting in a firmer, more luminous appearance. It’s available over the counter and by prescription. One per cent is the highest concentration retinol I use, as I have sensitive skin, and caution is needed when using it.

I once lathered myself in the stuff and for a week I left parts of my face everywhere I went. My skin was red, peeling and itchy, and there wasn’t enough moisturiser in the world to soothe me. Ten days later, my skin looked incredible but the same effects can be gained, albeit more slowly, without having to stay in your room for a week.

These days I’m introducing retinol slowly into my routine, once a week at the moment, and only applying a pea-sized amount to a completely dry face to avoid any irritation. I apply on a Sunday night, followed by moisturiser, and notice some peeling by Tuesday. Only apply retinol at night and remember to wear factor 50 during the day, as it causes photosensitivity. Over time the retinol will help the skin get used to rejuvenating itself. With retinol, it’s about playing the long game.

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