Everything You Need to Know About Retinol

Unless you've been shielding yourself from the beauty industry, you've probably seen retinol products advertised, or spotted the term written on serums in your mom's beauty cabinet.

The powerful active ingredient is a skincare routine must for many. But because of its potency, it's important to read up on the ingredient before slathering it all over your face.

We enlisted the expertise of Amanda Bell, makeup artist and global educator for Pixi Beauty (which just launched its Retinol Jasmine collection, great for retinol newbies).

Keep reading for everything you need to know about retinol.

Sweety High: How does Pixi's retinol line differ from other retinol products on the market?

Amanda Bell: The retinol line isn't just about one ingredient but a cocktail of ingredients that work in synergy to ensure that the skin is hydrated and soothed, as well as benefits from the efficacy of retinol.


SH: What's your favorite product from Pixi's retinol line?

AB: I love the Retinol Tonic. For anyone who's been interested in Retinol but hasn't tried it, it is the essential introduction. For maintenance, I love the Overnight Treatment Oil. And the eye cream is a gamechanger for the delicate yet expressive skin around the eye.

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SH: At what age can people start using retinol?

AB: Retinol is primarily used for two specific things: lines/signs of aging and acne, so technically retinol can be used as a results-driven ingredient for both at any age.


SH: Is retinol good for all skin types?

AB: If used correctly, retinol can essentially be used by all skin. However, If your skin is sensitive, reactive or suffering from psoriasis, eczema or Rosacea, you can introduce it with the Retinol Tonic initially, and dampen the cotton pad with a little water and use it a couple of times a week for the first two weeks.


SH: What ingredients are in your retinol collection?

AB: We use retinyl palmitate in the cleanser and retinol in the products that are designed for sustained contact with the skin.

With retinol, we blend jasmine flower, which heals and balances; peptides, which firm and revitalize; ceramides, which provide time-released moisture; humectants, which seal in moisture; and antioxidants, which protect the skin.


SH: What does retinol do for the skin?

AB: Retinol primarily does three things: it gently exfoliates, aids in the production of collagen, and fights free radicals so it has the ability to work on lines, wrinkles, breakouts, scarring and dark spots.

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SH: Are there different types of retinol?

AB: All retinoids are derived from Vitamin A. There are three that are used in non-prescription skincare, and two that are prescription only.


Retinyl palmitate. This is the least potent retinoid and works topically on the skin.
Retinaldehyde. This is a retinoid that's slightly stronger than retinyl palmitate.
Retinol. This is the strongest ingredient found in over-the-counter retinol products.


Tretinoin. This is a potent retinol available by prescription only.
Tazarotene. This is the most powerful retinoid, available by prescription only.


SH: What products should people use along with retinol?

AB: It's great to use hydrating/humectant/peptide/ceramide and collagen-infused products alongside retinols.


SH: Is there anything else we should know about retinol or Pixi's retinol line?

AB: This has been such a passion project for Pixi, and a benchmark in innovation for us. It started with the Retinol Tonic, which was a revelation as it was the perfect way to introduce retinol into your routine and was so universally loved. It was the impetus for the expansion of retinol at Pixi.


If you're still curious about common beauty products, HERE's everything you need to know about toner.