How to Use Vitamin A (Retinol, Retinoids & Retin-A) In Your Skincare Routine For Clear Skin

Hey guys! Welcome back. It's Felicia.

So with all the skincare products and ingredients that claim to help with acne and fight signs of aging

There's one that's been proven for a very long time and approved by dermatologists that does really work,

and it's called vitamin A, otherwise known as retinol, retinoid or retin-A.

So this is going to be our first video where we break down the ingredients from vitamin A,

and then we're going to move on to vitamin B, then the ever-so-popular vitamin C.

Because all these three form the skincare basics,

so we need to learn about them all to see how we can incorporate [them] into our products and our routine.

So today we're going to explore the differences between retinols, retinoids and retin-A,

how they work in the layers of the skin to improve skin turnover,

how we should incorporate them into our skincare routine,

or when we should steer clear away from them,

And how they help with reducing signs of aging and acne.

And last but not least, debunking some myths about retinol.

And we're gonna break it down for you and explain everything nice and clear,

And we're also gonna be sharing of course with you guys

our favorite retinol products that we've been using, that we've been loving,

and hopefully even if you're a beginner or you're like an intermediate user of retinol,

you can kind of learn and see how it should really be used. So let's just get into what vitamin A is.

Vitamin A is an active acne and anti-aging ingredient.

Basically vitamin A is a retinoid. In the bottom layers where the cells are produced in the dermis layer,

it will regenerate new cells to create new and fresh skin.

And this will push out the old ones to the surface

and so this is the cycle that keeps recurring.

So how it works is our skin normally sheds and regenerates every 30 days,

so about every month or so. When you use vitamin A or retinoids,

it increases this to about 14 to 21 days. It also simultaneously helps with decreasing oil production,

decreasing inflammation, it kills P. acnes,

which is the reason we get things like blemishes, breakouts, and acne.

But also unclogs the pores, as well as that it also helps to reduce pigmentation and sunspots,

reduce fine lines and wrinkles, smoothes over textured skin by resurfacing the top layers,

as well as reducing the look and the size of the pores and basically just evens out the skin tone

because it is kind of like rapidly shedding that top layer of your skin.

So you can see why this is one of the most raved about ingredients on the market

and that everyone wants to try

but also that's why it can be a double-edged sword because there's nothing in the world

that's just good: It has to be balanced out with some bad.

Before we dive into that, let's talk about the different types of vitamin A

and why we hear different things like retinols, retinoids,

and what the differences actually are because they're very different. Mia!

Mia: So vitamin A, or retinol is actually a family of ingredients that include retin-a and retinol.

It's actually a compound that naturally occurs or develops in your body.

It helps with things like your your immune system, repairs tissue damage. It also helps with your eyesight.

That's why there's a lot of vitamin A in carrots, which we advise for you to eat to help with eyesight.

The only type of retinol that your skin can actually feel or get effects from is when it's in retinoic acid [form].

Felicia: Retinoic acid is the medical grade of retinoids and it's also known as tretinoin or also retin-A.

And this is the active ingredient that actually makes all the magic happen under the skin

and you can only get it if it's prescribed by your dermatologist,

because it is the strongest form of retinoid. And because tetinoin and retin-A is already a form of

retinoic acid, it doesn't need to be broken down by the enzymes in our skin for it to work.

It basically just works. Retin-A is almost a hundred times stronger than the average retinol cream

that you buy from brands or over-the-counter

And that's why you'll only see these ingredients in prescription-only forms.

So you might be thinking, "This is great!

It's really strong and it works." But it's actually really important to just consider your own skin,

and what you actually need. If you are in the older years, and you want to battle things like fine lines and wrinkles,

then you can ask your dermatologist for retin-A.

But if it's things like prevention and you're still in your early 20s or even 30s,

over-the-counter retinol does basically the same thing in a much gentler form.

Now, let's go over to Mia where she'll talk about retinol. Mia: We can get this anywhere over-the-counter.

A lot of brands do them, even drugstore. because retinol is more mild, it's more gentle

There are less side effects, and you won't have to worry about it burning off your face.

So the process of converting the retinol into a retinoic acid takes about couple of weeks,

therefore it's suggested to be consistently using retinol products

for at least a couple of months before you see actual results.

Because retinol is designed to basically take off layers of skin on the stratum corneum,

which is the most toughest layer of the skin, and it also at the same time thickens the dermis layer,

which is a deeper layer of the skin, by increasing the collagen production.

So at the same time, not only is it plumping your skin, it's making it appear less wrinkled.

It's also going to exfoliate the top layer, which means it gives you better tone and texture.

So at the same time it's doing that process while making your skin look better and more youthful.

Felicia: Alright, so now that we know what it actually is,

when do we actually start using it and incorporating it into our own skincare routine?

So personally, I'm in mid 25s and it was actually this year or late last year that actually just started using retinols.

The general consensus and what you'll hear from your dermatologist

is that in your early and mid 20s is when you want to start incorporating

Retinols into your skincare routine because it's all about prevention.

This is actually when our skin cell turnover starts to slowly decrease at very little percentages year by year.

So it's not a lot but it still happens.

That's why the older you get, the thinner your skin is

because it's producing less collagen and collagen is the skin-strengthening protein

that makes us look plump, youthful, gives us that radiant glow, because we are young.

And also, if you're out in the Sun a lot flailing around,

you know, living your ~best life~, the Sun actually directly kills college in your skin.

So if you're not protecting it with sunscreen in your early years, prevention is actually much harder later on.

So you always want to make sure you're using a sunscreen,

especially when it comes to vitamin A like retinols and retinoids.

So that's a general rule of thumb:

You don't want to even think about this before you hit 20 or even like 22, because you're still fine. Calm down.

Mia: So you're probably thinking oh my god. Oh my god. This is a magic potion!

Give me more, more, MORE! Wrong. From my personal experience, using excess of retinol products

Can actually cause irritation and drying at the skin at the same time.

If you have skin conditions like eczema or rosacea,

you might not be able to tolerate it at first, but it doesn't mean that you can't use it.

You just have to slowly introduce it into your skincare routine. If you have uber sensitive skin like that,

you might be a little bit more wary and just be more careful of what type of retinols you use on your skin.

Felicia: So if you haven't used retinols before there are definitely rules that you should follow

because it's all about the importance of application in order for it to really work.

So here's what you want to do if you're a beginner user:

First one is that after you wash your face you want to make sure it's completely dry.

So I would wait maybe like five minutes or two to five minutes after you've washed it,

just to make sure that it's not damp.

And this is super important because if you apply retinols on to damp or wet skin,

it'll actually absorb deeper into the layers, which can increase the potential that your skin gets irritated.

But when it comes to retinol, you want to make sure that it's completely dry.

And I like to just take two to three drops of this and dot this on my cheeks,

chin, and forehead, and spread evenly over the skin in an upward motion, and of course avoiding the eye area.

And then follow it with a moisturizer because the moisturizer will rehydrate the skin

to avoid flakiness and irritation and really just lock in the moisture and seal everything in together.

So another way is if you think you have super sensitive skin

or you've tried before and you've come out irritated and inflamed,

What you can do is wash your face and then moisturize,

wait 30 minutes for the moisturizer to be completely absorbed into the skin and

then use a retinol. And this kind of creates and acts like a buffer,

so that it's not as targeted and it's not as strong to your skin.

So you can use this method and do it for the first couple of weeks.

Just so your skin gets used to the retinol and then you can go back to the first method that I said.

You can actually use two to three pumps of this, mix it in with your serum, or mix it in with your moisturizer,

and then apply the retinol and your moisturizer together onto the skin. And this is a much more gentle way of

applying it if you're a beginner and of course if your skin is very sensitive.

And, retinol are only to be used at night and in the morning afterwards,

always follow up with a sunscreen, because using retinols

increases your skin sensitivity to ultraviolet light and because it is so sensitive,

if you don't use the sunscreen, and you step out into the Sun,

you'll actually increase the pigmentation and brown spots.

Basically everything that you're trying to get rid of.

So as a beginner, how often should I use it?

First of all, you want to be super observant of how your skin reacts the very first time.

So if you find that you have irritation and inflammation,

Whichever method that you choose, either mixing it in with a serum or moisturizer,

Or using it straight after your cleanser.

You use that every night for two nights and then you leave it for two nights.

Let your skin rest, let your skin settle. And then use it again for two nights.

So the key is you want to be really consistent with it, because retinols only work if you're very

consistent and you do it for a prolonged period of time.

And it actually takes one to two or even three months for you to actually see the results in your skin.

If you find that the two nights is still too harsh, then I would just spread it.

So you can do one night on, two nights off or one night on, one night off.

And only when you feel like your skin is getting used to it, maybe after like two or three weeks of that repetition,

then you'll kind of be able to increase the usage maybe to every night.

Here are some of the retinol products that I really liked:

So the first one is, as I mentioned, the Paula's Choice Booster.

With the booster, you can actually mix it into your serum or moisturizer.

This is a much gentler way of using retinol rather than by itself, and then applying moisturizer afterwards.

But this again depends on how your skin reacts.

This is a 1% pure retinol and it also has things like apple extract and licorice

to help with soothing and brightening the skin.

So this was actually the first one that I ever used and I didn't find any sort of reaction to my skin.

So I highly recommend that you guys try this as well if you're just starting.

If you're looking for another affordable retinol, there's also the Differin Gel,

which is actually approved by dermatologists because up until recently it was a prescription only gel,

that you can use, but now it's actually an over-the-counter that you can find in your local drugstore.

And this one's good for those with oily and acne prone skin.

It's also oil-free and fragrance free and apart from the retinoids,

it has no other irritating ingredients.

But on top of that, if you maybe want something a little bit stronger in the retinol family,

you can look for the Roc Retinol Correction Deep Wrinkle Night Cream,

and this is the highest strength of retinol you can get in the drugstore before you actually go to a dermatologist.

So for most people, you'll probably stay withing this realm of retinoids,

unless you have other kind of intense skincare issues.

Then you want to go to your dermatologist and ask for a retinoid.

There's also Neutrogena

I really love Neutrogena products actually because they just work really well for me

and there's one called the Ageless Intensive Deep Wrinkle Night Moisturizer,

which includes retinol and this one's obviously a moisturizer, so you don't have to mix it or anything.

It's not the pure form, so it's also gentle on the skin.

All right, so now Mia's going to share with you guys how she uses it,

as a person who's used it for many years now.

Mia: So how I use my retinol routine is I use retinol products two nights in a row,

and on the third night, I use an AHA or glycolic acid serum.

Then I use another two days of retinol products, and then on the sixth night, I'll use a hydrating serum.

So just pure hyaluronic acid that just goes on the skin and helps to plump and rehydrate the skin.

Using an AHA or glycolic acid serum on the third night

Basically helps to assist removing any excess layers of skin or dead skin that's hanging on the surface layer,

and then just helping with that turnover. And then on the sixth night, just help to reboost and hydrate the skin.

Of course, it is very important to hydrate the skin during the day,

after using retinol because you want to make sure that your skin is hydrated

and no moisture has been stripped away.

And I'm also speaking from personal experience. When I first used retinol products,

I wasn't really diligent with my sunscreen game.

I probably didn't reapply as I should have and I did notice a few spots.

So make sure you definitely put on sunscreen, no matter where you're going,

because your skins gotta be more sensitive during those times,

especially if you're using like larger amounts of retinol products or higher concentration of it as well.

So, of course you can slowly work your skin up to increasing the level of retinol, but also the frequency.

But if you're someone who has really sensitive skin, then maybe stick to Felicia's [routine] first.

For someone who is really really an intermediate level or even an advanced level and using retinol,

Then you can obviously amp it up and use it every night, instead of the two nights in a row.

So it's really up to you and how your skin feels. You should really listen to your skin

and see how your skin is and then just work according to it.

Another thing is people like to use vitamin C with retinol products, and that is totally fine.

What you can do is use your vitamin C during the day, because vitamin C will help fight off free radicals,

and then using your retinol or peptide at night will help with the skin turnover and renewal process.

Gonna go ahead and talk about the types of retinol that I'm currently using and loving.

And the first is the PCA Skin Intensive Clarity Treatment 0.5% Pure Retinol.

As you can see from the packaging I have used this baby to death and I'm definitely going to get another one.

Now this is something that I go to when I'm having a little breakout here and there,

usually from like using too much products, or

not removing my makeup properly, or just having a reaction to certain foundations and so forth.

I find that when I do apply this on to my skin, the next morning,

everything seems to go back to normal and I kind of use this as my safety blanket.

I never normally use this twice in a row, I only use this one time,

and I feel like it's really effective. The texture of this is quite gel-like,

also has like a weird scent, but I'm pretty sure that's what retinol smells like in general.

This PCA has a slow delivery system

where it actually delivers the products through like 8 or 12 hours, I believe.

And it also goes into deeper on the skin - so allowing the products to work better for me.

I just feel like I do see a result the next morning and that's why I have been using this

and will still continue to use this for all my acne problems.

So on the third night, this one is the one I'm currently using,

which is also Drunk Elephant TCL glycolic night serum.

So I have been using the serum for the longest time even before I started using retinol.

I love this for that extra exfoliation. It just removes any dead skin cells left on the skin.

You will notice that as you start to use retinol, you will feel a little bit drier than normal,

especially if you're in climates that it's like winter and it's windy and it's dehydration.

You're not drinking enough water.

It shows in your skin, and this just makes sure that extra layer of dry skin is removed

so that when you do need to apply moisturizer and makeup on the next day,

you don't get dry patches everywhere.

And I find that super effective especially in my t-zone area, so that's where I focus on mostly.

So a new one to the family is the Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream.

This is quite new but also really effective, a vegan retinol,

and also [you'll] be able to use [it] during the day as well as at night.

Me personally, I prefer my retinol treatments at nighttime when my skin's rejuvenating

and I still prefer moisturizing or protection during the day.

So this is probably the highest retinol product that I'm currently using.

I usually use it on a second night or the fifth night because I don't like to use this two days in a row.

It is obviously, being the highest concentration of retinol, I do find that if I use this too often,

it might really dry out my skin.

So after the third day of using the glycolic acid,

I go back to retinol and then I usually go back to something a little less crazy.

And this is The Ordinary Retinol 0.2%.

This is definitely the smallest amount of retinol that I use in my regime.

I actually only started using this recently because I wanted something that wasn't going to be too crazy,

and also this is definitely in a more affordable range.

Being that it's 0.2%, I do lather this all over my face. It also is in a very watery consistency,

so it's something that I have to actually put on physically without having to let it drip all over my eyes.

So you still have to avoid the eye area and anywhere that's sensitive.

One time, I accidentally put it on my eyes and I started to see like peeling in those areas,

so it is very important to make sure that,

it is still retinol at the end the day, and you need to be careful where you place it.

Felicia: All right. So if you're wondering "Are there any natural alternatives?"

Yes, there is!!

So there's been a lot of rave about this new ingredient.

New kid on the block and it's called bokuchiol, kind of sounds like bok choy.

So there isn't as much extensive research into this:

Some dermatologists have found that it creates the same effect as that plumping, reducing fine lines,

brightening effect, as vitamin A. But it's not something that's been proven over a long time.

And it's in products like Ole Henriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Creme, which also includes AHAs,

Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum, Omorovicza Miracle Facial, that you can get at Sephora.

So personally, I haven't tried any of these, but just you know, we're all about like natural ingredients,

and this is just one to put on your radar if you are interested.

And then Mia also uses one from Chanel:

Mia: There are many other topical antioxidants, peptides, essences that have similar,

or the same benefits as retinol.

But of course the level of effective varies depending on the ingredient itself.

For instance Chanel Le Lift recently came out with a natural ingredient called alfalfa extract,

which is known to have the same benefits and effectiveness as retinol,

minus the sun exposure problem, where it actually enhances the skins barrier against sun protection.

So you never know technologies are always advancing.

We're always seeing new things and we're always hearing about new things as well.

So it has the same benefits, but it can also be used on pregnant ladies.

Felicia: So guys and that's what vitamin A is!

I hope you guys now know the difference between retinol, retinoids, retin-A.

It's an ingredient that you should probably start looking into when you're in your 20s.

Definitely in your 30s because it really does have proven results.

The next one will obviously be a vitamin B.

But specifically vitamin B3, which is niacinamide. And make sure you've watched our other skincare series,

because we break down everything from like cleansing, toning, serum, moisturizers, facial oil, facial mask.

And we'll see you in the next one. Bye!