What exactly does retinol do? Skin expert Dr Alek Nikolic explains

Is retinol part of your daily routine?
Is retinol part of your daily routine?
Photo: lavsketch/Getty Images
  • Have you heard of retinol before, and does it form part of your skincare routine?
  • Dr Alek Nikolic explains what retinol is and some of its benefits.
  • These include anti-ageing properties, pore reduction and improved skin texture.

So, we've covered the benefits of hyaluronic acid, but there's another buzzword out there in the skincare world that I've been curious about: retinol.

Do you include retinol in your daily routine? While I have used products containing retinol before, it, admittedly, does not form an essential part of my regimen. 

Skin specialist Dr Alek Nikolic talks us through what retinol is, and some of its benefits.

READ MORE | Should I be using hyaluronic acid? Yes, according to this skin specialist

What is retinol?

Dr Nikolic explains: "Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, and it has a number of skin benefits which consist of the following:"

  • Anti-ageing
  • Lightens skin discolourations and helps to break down hyperpigmentation.
  • Reduces the number of pores, pore size and sebum production, which in turn improves acne breakouts and blemishes.  
  • Improves skin texture. 
  • Aids with the visible and tactile softening of the skin. 
  • Increased collagen and elastin production
  • Has the ability to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. 
  • It acts as an antioxidant. 
  • Increases hydration and plumps the skin. 

READ MORE | What does toner even do? Expert explains the importance of this skincare step

I've often seen people talk about retinol and hyaluronic acid in conjunction, which left me wondering, should I be using them together?

Both products have their own purpose and benefits, but Dr Nikolic says even though they don't have to be used together, there's no harm in doing so. In fact, it can be beneficial.

"Hyaluronic acid will help soothe the skin, protect the skin barrier, and improve moisturisation as retinol can cause a slight dryness or even flakiness until the skin gets acclimatised to the retinol."

"Retinol is an essential ingredient for anyone in their thirties and above," Dr Nikolic adds. "Mostly due to its ageing-prevention abilities and the stimulation of collagen and elastin. Retinol should be used at night, and one should wear an SPF 30 or higher the next morning."

Product recommendations:

1. flash 2 | restore shot

2. DERMACEUTIC Activ Retinol 1.0

3. SKINCEUTICALS Retinol 0.5

4. DERMEXCEL Retinol Serum

5. NEOSTRATA Skin Active Retinol Repair Complex

6. DERMAQUEST Retinol Brightening Serum

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.