How retinol works and its anti-ageing benefits

Q: How does retinol work to target the signs of ageing?

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and an antioxidant, which means it helps to neutralise the free radicals that destroy healthy skin cells. It is one of the most effective anti-ageing ingredients for cell regeneration and collagen production.

Retinol helps to encourage cell regeneration and ensure that new collagen continues to form as a person ages. As a result, it has been shown to reduce wrinkles and improve skin texture.

As collagen is replenished and old skin cells are shed, hyperpigmentation fades, fine lines recede and skin starts to reveal a brighter, smoother texture. There are several different retinol products available on the market, so it’s best to take the time and do your research, looking for a reputable brand that uses high-quality, food-grade ingredients.

Extremely sensitive skins may find retinol irritating at first, but the key is to help clients build their tolerance over time. Advise them to introduce it slowly by using small doses of the product three times a week and then start using it more frequently from there.

You could also look for a product that uses a time-released retinol which is gentler on skin, and therefore less likely to cause irritation, such as the retinol in my Retinol Youth Renewal Serum.

Dr Howard Murad Dr Howard Murad is a US board-certified dermatologist and founder of results-driven skincare brand Murad

Read Dr Murad's piece on the benefits of time-released retinol and his thoughts on the anti-pollution skincare trend which has taken the industry by storm.