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Retinoids: What you need to know

What You Need To Know About Retinoids

Retinoids are celebrities in the skincare world, touted for their many benefits and effectiveness. But to someone unfamiliar with them, they can seem impossible to figure out. We break down the major things that you need to know about retinoids and how you can incorporate them into your skincare for healthier, glowy skin. 

What are they?

Retinoids are a derivative of Vitamin A that is used in skincare. It is an umbrella term that encapsulates the different forms it comes in. From the least to most effective, there are retinol esters, retinol, retinal and retinoic acid. Retinol is the most commonly found in your everyday skincare offerings, while retinoic acid is used more for prescription.

What do retinoids do?

They’re known to delay the skin aging process. They support the production of collagen, which minimises fine lines and wrinkles. Moreover, retinoids are also used to treat acne, fade dark spots and prevent comedones (aka blackheads and whiteheads). 

How should they be used?

When starting out, dermatologists suggest you go for a retinol of a low concentration. These can be 0.25%, 0.3% or 0.5%. If your skin finds it too irritating, reach for a retinol ester and build up tolerance from there.


Just as the aging process is gradual, retinoids give results that build up overtime, so consistency is key here. Start by using it once a week and increase the frequency as your skin gets accustomed to it - at which point you can upgrade to the next level of potency for stronger effects. 

AM or PM?

While retinoids can be used in the day and night depending on your tolerance, the chemicals will break down in the presence of light; to simplify things, apply only at night to maximise the product’s effectiveness. 

Incorporating retinoids into your routine

First cleanse with the GLOWDROP to get rid of oils, dirt and debris from your skin for a clean canvas. Removing these contaminants from the surface allows any serum or skincare product to absorb into the deeper layers, which means you maximise results! Use the GLOWDROP’s warming plate to deeply infuse product into your skin and then go in with a pea sized amount of retinoid all over your face. The area around the mouth and your eyelids are known to be more sensitive areas that dry out and become irritated, so you may want to take note of this and avoid them. Hydrate and soothe the skin by finishing off with a moisturiser. 


If the retinoid is still a bit too potent, apply it over your moisturiser so that there is a layer protecting your skin (& we know you do this anyway, but remember to apply your SPF after washing the retinoid off in the mornings!). Check out our blog post on what SPF is right for you here to learn more about sunscreens.

- Written by Hazel Leung for GLOWGEAR. Edited by Mia Samtani.

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