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11th Apr 2024

When should women start using retinol? A skincare expert tells us all

Kat O'Connor

Retinol is the one skincare product we’re a little bit lost about

It already feels like there are so many steps in my skincare routine but apparently, I need to add another but I feel a little bit lost about retinol.

Retinol has been mentioned a lot in recent years but it is all over my TikTok feed at the moment. Does TikTok suddenly know I’m about to turn 30 and feel somewhat concerned about my skin and wrinkles? It looks like it.

I’ve just got to grips with my skincare routine so adding a new step in is something I’m hesitant about. What if it breaks me out? What if I use too much? How often should I apply it?

Thankfully, Faye Purcell, Head Development Chemist at Q+A has the advice many of us desperately need.

She confirmed that there is no specific age to start using retinol, but introducing it into your regime is a great thing to do for your skin.

“There is no specific age or milestone to reach before you can start introducing Retinol into your regime. The good news is that Retinol is beneficial for people of a wide range of ages, so there is no wrong answer.”

She said it’s important to start using retinol when you are ready, but it is advised to start using it in your 20s as it prevents the early signs of aging.

Faye explained that retinol isn’t just for anti-aging, but it can also help with other skin issues.

“However, it could be used earlier, particularly by those struggling with skin issues, such as blemishes, or later, by those looking to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”

How do I start using Retinol?

The main thing to remember when you’re starting to use retinol is to start low and slow by incorporating it into your skincare routine once a week. You can then build it up to more frequent use.

“For most, using the ingredient 3-4 times per week is plenty. Retinol should only be applied at night as it increases skin sensitivity to UV rays.”

One thing to remember is to apply the product to dry skin as putting it on wet skin can increase the chances of irritation.

Faye shared a foolproof way to apply:

“For best results, allow up to 30 minutes for Retinol to absorb before applying a moisturiser. After 30 minutes, apply a moisturiser with barrier-repairing and hydrating ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides, or Niacinamide to minimise the potential for irritation.

“I recommend the Q+A Ceramide Barrier Defence Face Cream. Only use one Retinol product at a time, and remember, Retinol shouldn’t be used with AHAs or Benzoyl Peroxide. If you use Vitamin C, apply it in the morning rather than layering it with your Retinol in the evening.”

If anyone needs me then I’ll be stocking up on my skincare collection.