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Why is Retinol in Singapore Trending Now?

Why is retinol in Singapore trending now you ask? Maybe it’s because we’re languishing in pandemic blues. Or maybe it’s just because we need to head back to the office. Either way, that kind of stress probably isn’t doing any favours on our aging skin. Out of all the anti-ageing products being hyped out there, retinol has been holding its sway for a couple of years now. Tropika Club now dives back into how and why it works before you buy retinol serums or retinol creams from your nearby Watson’s store.

Retinol vs Retinoids — What’s the Difference?

Retinol and retinoids are often lumped together, so it’s easy to get confused about what they are. 

Retinoids are the derivatives of Vitamin A, and that they share similar chemical structures. So think of retinoids as the big umbrella to which retinol is under, along with the other main types of retinoids: retinyl esters, retinaldehyde, and retinoic acid. Retinoids have been proven to be promising when it comes to treating aging skin and reducing the signs of wrinkles and improving skin tone.

However, since it’s a more potent product, you tend to need a prescription to get retinoids. That’s why retinol is usually chosen for anti-ageing treatment products because it’s gentler on the skin, unlike tretinoin—another retinoid. So, it’s less likely to cause irritation on your skin.

The Wunderkind Ingredient

Retinol has been hailed as an active ingredient that can ‘transform your skin’. It’s one of the stronger over-the-counter retinoids, especially retinaldehyde and retinyl palmate. And, it’s one of the rare active ingredients that can visibly reduce the signs of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles.

Plus, it’s a skilled multi-tasker. Retinol is often added to topical skincare products to brighten skin tone, enhance skin renewal, fight acne, and improve collagen production. It can also be used to target sun spots, freckles, sun-damaged skin, acne scars, uneven skin texture, melasma, some types of hyperpigmentation, as well as large pores caused by acne, collagen loss, or oily skin.

To better understand how it can give you an improved appearance and brighter skin, let’s take a look at how retinol works.

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How Does Retinol Work—Can Retinols Reverse Ageing?

They’re able to reverse the signs of ageing when they’re converted into retinoic acid—an active form of Vitamin A which our skin can absorb and utilise. Most other anti-aging, lightening products, and acne products simply remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, the small molecules of the retinol go underneath the epidermis (the outer layer of skin), and into your dermis.

Once it’s in the middle layer of skin, it neutralises the free radicals in your skin. That, in turn, boosts the production of elastin and collagen. That’s how it reduces the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and large pores—the coveted ‘plumping effect’.

Meanwhile, retinol also provides some exfoliation, further improving your skin’s tone and texture. And, it reduces the appearance of blemishes and keeps your pores unclogged by creating comedolytic agents—a compound that inhibits the formation of blemishes when oil and skin cells become trapped in the pore. 

The mild exfoliating effects can also balance your skin’s hydration as it removes dead skin cells, which is one of the causes of moisture losses. That also prevents excess production of sebum in your pores, which can do wonders if you have oily skin.

Where can you find retinol in Singapore?

Wanting less-noticeable fine lines? It’s a pretty common ingredient so it’s not too difficult to find where you can buy retinol in Singapore. You can easily find retinol in common pharmacies such as Watsons or Guardian. Most skincare brands, such as The Ordinary, carry retinol products too. Some brands even create variants that work for most types of skin, as well as sensitive skin. If all else fails, there’s always Sephora.

Wondering what are the Top 10 Best Retinols in Singapore? Look no further.

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Retinol Side Effects—What Your Need To Know

Retinol products could induce dry and irritated skin, especially when you’re trying out a new product. You could be experiencing itchiness, redness, and peeling skin too. These side effects are usually temporary and would probably improve within a few weeks. Though retinol may aggravate eczema, so do avoid using it if you have an active eczema rash.

To build up your skin’s tolerance to retinol, you could try starting with applying the retinol product once every other day before you begin to use it daily. If you have sensitive skin, you might need to wash it off sooner than the time stated on the label. If you’re still experiencing skin irritation, you might need to consider an alternative.

Take caution when you’re applying it in the sun. The drying and irritation could be exacerbated by the sun. Avoid any trouble by wearing sunscreen and staying away from the sun if you’re applying it.

Refrain from using retinol if you’re pregnant as well, as they may increase the likelihood of miscarriage and birth defects. Consult your doctor about your pregnancy, and they might recommend oral contraceptives as you’re using retinol.

Based on a few rodent studies, retinol might have long-term carcinogenic effects. But more human studies need to be done before the risks can be confirmed. Do discuss with your doctor about these concerns before using retinol.

A Final Note About Retinol

Do note that it can be unstable under UV light, so you’d have to check how your product was formulated and packaged. Even the way it delivers the formula matters. Say, for example, if it’s exposed to light and air, it would lose its effectiveness more quickly than an airtight pump. The preservatives in the formulation would affect the overall efficacy too. Retinol can also come in the form of a cream, foam, gel, or serum. And that can affect its interaction with your skin as well.

On a side note, stick to one form of it at a time. Avoid using several retinol products in one go. So don’t go washing your face with a retinol cleanser while following that with a retinol serum. And remember, some anti-aging and acne products may contain retinol as well.

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Terence is Tropika Club Magazine's deputy editor who loves learning about animals and their behavior. He is also an anthropologist, so he is very interested in how different cultures interact with animals. He has worked in the publishing industry for over 10 years, and have been lucky enough to work with some amazing authors and editors.