Everything you need to know about retinol with Feniu founder Mele Olivetti


Chances are if you’re interested in skincare, you’d be well versed when it comes to the hype surrounding retinol. However, with that, you’d know that using retinol comes with some warnings.

Below, Feniu’s Founder Mele Olivetti shares everything you need to know about retinol. 

What is retinol?

Put simply, Retinol (alongside other retinoids, such as retinoic acid and retinyl palmitat) is a vitamin A derivative. It is an active ingredient that is used in a host of skincare products to address a wide range of skin concerns such as reducing fine lines and wrinkles through to minimising dark spots and acne. 

The reason Vitamin A – or retinol – is beneficial to the skin is because it can boost cell turnover. Vitamin A is one of the body’s key nutrients for that purpose and retinol essentially tries to mimic this process.

The reason boosting cell turnover is promising for the skin lies in the fact that it can make it easier for your body to rid itself of dead skin cells whilst preventing wrinkles or acne from developing (by keeping dead skin cells off your epidermis).

What benefits retinol can provide?

Retinol can provide a host of benefits but is often used for those concerned with anti-ageing.

The fact that it boosts cell turnover also provides other benefits such as promoting skin renewal, boosting collagen production, and brightening skin tone (hello luminous skin)! It works hard to sweep away dead skin cells and unclog the pores which can really revive dull skin.

It can also help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and also stop them from forming, whilst also addressing free radical damage. 


When should you use retinol?

Generally speaking, older skin or those that are concerned with ageing should start to introduce retinol into their routines.

Whilst the age of 30 used to be the typical time someone might start using retinol, we are finding the younger generation (those in their 20’s) start to implement it sooner to minimise the early signs of ageing. 

How can you implement it into your routine?

Retinol should be implemented into a routine with caution. Each product and active ingredient levels are different which is why you should take it slowly.

Where possible, chat to your dermatologist about the best way to approach it, however as a general rule, go slowly. Start off with a small amount or smaller percentage, or even focus on one area in particular.

At Feniu we’ve introduced a retinol product into our line-up that is intended for the eye area. Our Advanced Retinol Repairing Eye Serum revitalises the delicate skin around the eyes, whilst offering effective age-correcting and brightening benefits that keep skin looking plump and youthful.

What we find is people tend to notice aging in their eye area first (such as crow’s feet) so this part of the face is a great place to start. 

If you’re worried about how to implement retinol into your routine, try a phased approach. This means using the product once a week, then working your way up to every second day (then every day if your skin handles it well). Retinol is one of those products that your skin needs to be introduced to slowly. 

What else do you need to know?

Unfortunately, retinol can be very irritating if used incorrectly or too frequently. What’s more, if the formulation is too strong for your skin it can also cause skin irritation.

Beware of versions that are too potent for the skin or in high percentages. As mentioned earlier, it is always advised to start using retinol in smaller percentages or on one area of the face to test it first. 

An important thing to know is that retinol can actually react with other active ingredients so be careful about the other products you might be layering on your skin. As a general rule don’t mix retinol vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, and AHA/BHA acids.

Vitamin C is typically used to protect skin from environmental aggressors while retinol is used to repair and rebuild the skin so these ingredients are best used at opposite times of the day.

As for AHA and BHA acids, these are exfoliating ingredients that can often dry the skin out and cause irritation if your skincare routine already includes retinol. As for benzoyl peroxide used with retinol, well, these ingredients actually cancel each other out (rendering them useless if you’re layering them).

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