How Do I Start Using Retinol? A Blog Post From Tonic Skin Care

How Do I Start Using Retinol?

Retinol Tonic Skin Care Blog March 2022

Retinoids (in particular retinol/Vitamin A) have become the first ingredients that people think of when discussing ageing of the skin. But with so many variations and formulations, where do you start?

A quick search on Google will reveal countless articles from beauty bloggers and magazines such as Cosmopolitan on their thoughts about this powerful ingredient and it seems that the hype is not waning.


What do retinoids do?

Benefits to the skin can include an increase in firmness and plumpness, and a smoother and brighter complexion.

Serum Tonic Skin Care Blog March 2022

My Top Tips On Starting Retinol

Although the retinoid you purchase in your favourite skin care brand is much weaker than prescription retinoids, there are still some points to bear in mind, to maximise benefits and minimise side effects.

  1. Start low and slow. If you are brand new to retinol, then I suggest starting at a low concentration and building up slowly if you feel you need to (you can stay on a low strength forever if you wish). A typical regimen could be using the retinoid-containing product twice weekly for a month, increasing to alternate nights and eventually every night.
  2. Apply at night. Since retinoids can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, it is best applied at night. Use after cleansing and before night moisturiser, if using.
  3. Wear SPF. See above point. Make sure to wear SPF everyday, especially if using retinoids in your skincare routine. There is no point in using this beneficial ingredient and then not protecting your skin from the number one cause of premature ageing.
  4. Use hydrating skincare. Some of the side effects of retinoids include dry, irritated, reddening, peeling skin. Not everyone will experience them but many will to some extent. Often people find their skin gets worse before it improves. And that is the good news, the side effects are mostly temporary! In the meantime, ensure your other products in your routine are not drying and exacerbating these issues. Use hydrating cleansers and nourishing moisturisers to minimise these effects. Go back to tip number one, low strength and slow build-up.
  5. Have patience! Retinoids at low strengths in skincare can take a long time to show benefits (up to 6 months). It is definitely somewhat of a marathon rather than a sprint here but worth it for the benefits it brings. Stick with it if you can tolerate it!
***One very important point is that Retinoids should not be used in pregnancy or breastfeeding***

    My Top Retinoid Picks From Tonic Skin Care

    Skingredients Skin Protein Serum

    Skingredients Skin Protein Serum
    Contains retinyl palmitate, the least powerful of the retinoids. Therefore, a great starter product for someone wishing to begin their retinoid journey. It is mild enough that it can be used everyday from the get-go. It also contains a host of other skin-boosting ingredients including Beta-carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A, Vitamins C and E, tea extracts and pro-collagen peptides.

    Skin Formulas Vit A Restore Serum

    Skin Formulas Vit A Restore Serum
    Contains retinol in a 0.2% strength, therefore use twice weekly to begin with. It is fast absorbing, with little amount needed to help improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, increased skin firmness, more even skin tone and texture and an increase in skins plumpness.

    Often when I ask followers on Instagram to ask me questions about skin care, it is retinol that they enquire about. I hope I have answered some of these queries but if you have a question, message me here in our chat box or send me an email to
    Michelle x

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