Retinol: Yay or Nay?

The fact of the matter is, ageing is inevitable. However, ageing gracefully is another thing altogether. Can retinol help us on our quest to not panicking when we wake up and see a new array of fine lines emerging? Let’s discuss.

Paired with self-love and the acceptance that you don’t always have to look 21, (your body is beautiful at all ages), understanding what ageing is, allows us to work out what kind of treatments are available and why they are said to work. Ageing is a two-part process of chronological ageing and photoaging. Chronological is a fact of life, the steady march of time upon our skin. Photoageing, however, is all about the premature aging of skin due to cumulative exposure to ultraviolet radiation, a.k.a sun rays. So it is a proven fact that sun exposure will cause photoaging (premature ageing) and therefore you should do everything in your power to minimize the impact of sun rays on your skin– so grab that sun cream! Top dermatologists state that you should be wearing SPF (sun protection factor) every day, even when it is cloudy, to prevent ageing and for better skin texture and complexion overall.

Now retinol. It is part of the family of Vitamin A derivatives of retinoids which work by increasing collagen production, skin cell turnover, and elastin in the dermis. Retinoids have been a favourite amongst dermatologists also for treating acne for this reason as well as their efficiency in clearing blackheads by reducing the ‘stickiness’ of the cells thus preventing pores from clogging. However, a lot of the strong retinoids are only available with a prescription, such as tretinoin and roaccutane. Quoted as being the “ultimate anti-ageing miracle worker”, Caroline Solomon reiterates that “the stuff is potent, and it’s not like trying a new lipstick; it’s a commitment.” If not used correctly they can cause retinol burn, itching, redness, and flaking of the skin as well as increased sensitivity to the sun.[1] So if you can only get it on prescription then why am I hearing about it?

Retinol has now become a catch all phrase for retinoids including the less powerful ones which you can now find in high street products. Essentially the more potent the retinoid, the faster the results. However, if you don’t prepare your skin you can have side effects as listed above. Therefore, it is recommended that you start on a mild retinol and build your way up.

So if you are interested in improving your skin’s overall texture, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, evening out skin tone, and decreasing pore size then retinol might be your new bathroom ingredient. Here are Pynck’s top 5:


For the beginner – LUNA OIL by Sunday Riley, £45

Sunday Riley is always a good place to start. It combines the retinol ingredient with Blue Tansy oil to prevent irritation in a bespoke blue bottle that prevents the retinol from breaking down and therefore doesn’t lose its potency. It’s a two-pronged attack against anti-ageing and soothing elixir for tired skin to ensure a radiance boost.

Simply warm a few drops on your fingertips and massage into clean, dry skin. Catch some ZZZs and wake up feeling fabulous.

“Phenomenally potent, Sunday Riley’s ‘Luna’ is a retinol-rich night-time treatment which works to reduce signs of ageing as you slumber.” Simply warm a few drops on your fingertips and massage into clean, dry skin. Catch some ZZZs and wake up feeling fabulous.



One that won’t break the bank – the Inkey List Retinol, £9.99 [2]

According to the Inkey List this Retinol is a “slow release serum that target the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with less risk of irritation. It also boosts overall skin clarity and uneven skin tone for a brighter, more even complexion. A perfect introduction to using Retinol for those who are starting to see the signs of ageing”. Use 1-2 times per week following this guide on where to place it in your routine:

Inkey List Tips for this product (and retinol in general) is only use it at night, and if you have sensitive skin, try some Niacinamide to help decrease irritation.



For the Retinol Pro – Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum, £70

“A pro-strength formula powered by 5% retinoid, 1% liposomal-encapsulated retinol, and 0.5% blue-green algae, incorporate this into your routine after you’ve stayed faithful to a lower percentage for at least a few weeks. It’s incredibly efficacious so expect serious results in a short space of time.”





Problem Skin? Dermalogica Retinol Oil, £69[3]

“Powered by a lipid-based delivery system that actively nourishes with skin-mimicking phytoactive lipids from Argan, Rosehip Seed and Golden Jojoba oils. Slow-release Retinol works all night to help optimise skin recovery and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. Salicylic Acid targets active breakouts to help clear skin.”





  1. Quote by Carolonie Solomon, April 10th 2020 in Glamour Magazine
  2. Quoted from the Inkey List website product description
  3. Quoted from the Dermalogica website product description


Sarah Cameron

Author and Social Media Correspondent

You may also like...

Share This