Retinol is a popular skincare ingredient in France, and many French women incorporate it into their skincare regimen for its anti-aging and skin-renewing properties. Here is how the French use this potent ingredient and the retinol products they rely on.
What is Retinol?
Retinol is a type of retinoid, which is a derivative of vitamin A. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-aging ingredient that is commonly used in skincare products to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin texture.
Retinol works by increasing cell turnover and stimulating collagen production, which helps to smooth and firm the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce redness and improve the overall tone and texture of the skin.
Retinol is available in various strengths, and most dermatologists recommend beginning with a very low concentration product at first. Try it out on a small patch of skin to make sure you don’t have a bad reaction before applying it to a larger area of the skin. Retinol is should only be a part of your nighttime routine, as it can make your skin break out when exposed to sunlight.
While retinol can provide significant benefits to the skin, it is not recommended for everyone. It can be irritating to some skin types, especially if used in high concentrations or in alongside other exfoliating products. It is always best to consult with a dermatologist before incorporating retinol into your skincare routine.
How to Use Retinol
Retinol is typically used at night, as it can make skin more sensitive to sunlight. French women may apply retinol after cleansing and toning, and before moisturizing. It is important to start with a low concentration and gradually work up to higher concentrations to avoid irritation.
French women may use retinol in combination with other anti-aging products, such as vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and peptides, to enhance its effectiveness.
Some French women may only use retinol once or a few times a week to avoid over-exfoliating and damaging the skin’s protective barrier.
It is important to always wear sunscreen the next day when using retinol, as this ingredient can increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.
French Retinol Products
There are many French retinol products on the market, each with its own unique formulations and strengths. Here are some popular French retinol products:
A313 Vitamin A Pommade: This over-the-counter retinol cream is a French pharmacy favorite. It contains a high concentration of retinol (0.5%) in a petroleum jelly base, making it a potent but affordable option. Buy it in the US from Walmart or Amazon.
La Roche-Posay Redermic R Cream: This retinol cream treatment is formulated with 0.3% retinol and is meant to be gentle on sensitive skin. It also has hyaluronic acid and glycerin to hydrate and plump the skin.
Avène RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream: This retinol cream contains 0.1% retinaldehyde, a form of retinol that is less irritating but still effective. It also includes hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and Avène’s signature thermal spring water to soothe and hydrate the skin.
La Roche-Posay Pure Retinol Face Serum with Vitamin B3: This serum contains niacinamide, vitamin B, and a low concentration of retinol to brighten and even out the skin tone. It is also formulated to be gentle enough for sensitive skin.
Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA Concentrate: This retinol serum contains 0.5% pure retinol and is designed to reduce the visibilty of fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin and improve its texture.
Retinol vs Retinoid
Retinol and retinoids are two types of vitamin A derivatives that are often used in skincare products to improve skin texture, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, and even out skin tone. While both are derived from vitamin A, there are some differences between the two.
Retinol is a type of retinoid that is found in over-the-counter skincare products. It is a weaker form of vitamin A and must be converted into retinoic acid (the active form of vitamin A) by the body before it can be used. Because of this conversion process, it may take longer to see results from using a product containing retinol.
Retinoids, on the other hand, are a family of vitamin A derivatives that include retinol as well as stronger prescription-strength forms of vitamin A such as tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene. These medical-grade retinoids are more powerful and work more quickly than retinol.
Both retinol and retinoids work by increasing cell turnover and stimulating collagen production, which can improve the signs of aging like fine lines, deep wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. However, because prescription-strength retinoids are more potent, they can also cause more side effects such as redness, irritation, and flaking.
Do you use French retinol products in your skincare routine?