Retinol. You've probably heard of it, but what is it?

Most of us have heard of the skincare ingredient, retinol. If not, where have you been? The beauty world is all about retinol lately - it has made its way into all skincare products such as retinol serums, retinol daycreams, retinol eyecream, there's no skincare product without it. The retinol hype is real, and with good reason. It is the anti-aging ingredient, that actually helps, but it's much more than that. In this article we will dig in the life of retinol - in the end I will explain to you what the difference is between traditional retinol & the more gentle (but extremely effective)retinol 8 (what is found in Verso products). 

What is retinol?

Retinol is often used as a umbrella term for different types of retinoids - these are vitamin A derivatives. But you have to look at in in the opposite way: retinol is a kind of retinoid. There are a lot of different types of retinoids, all derived from vitamin A, and they are available in different strengths. Different types of retinoids are: retinol, retinol esters, retinaldehyde, retinoic acid esters... 

What's the difference between retinol and retinoids?

Retinol is the most common type of retinoid.
But keep in mind your skin only uses the active form of vitamin A, retinoic acid. Retinoic acid binds to the retinoid receptors in our bodies, where it normalizes cellular renewal and cellular repair processes. This is how retinoids work their magic on lines, dark spots...! It takes a few steps before retinol becomes retinoic acid. This with the help of our own skin enzymes. So for all retinoids, how closer the compound to retinoic acid, how easier it is to convert and be more effective.

How does retinol work?

Our skin has three layers. The upper layer or the epidermis (here is where most of the anti-aging products work), the middle layer or dermis and last layer or subcutis. Most of the anti-aging products will work on the epidermis, but the small retinol molecules can penetrate deeply to the dermis. Once its there and it's converted into retinoic acid, it can neutralize free radicals and it will normalize cellular renewal. This will result into plumping skin, with less wrinkles, fine lines & enlarged pores. 

What does retinol do? What are the benefits?

  • prevents wrinkles and smoothes current fine lines
  • brightens dull skin
  • treats acne
  • fades dark spots
  • keeps pores unclogged

Does retinol really slow down your skin's aging process?

Well yes, retinol does slow down and works anti-aging. When you are in your 20's up to your 30's your cells will turn over every 28 days, giving you a fresh new layer of skin. But when you hit your mid 30's, this is not the case anymore, unfortunately. Your cell turnover will be every 50 up to 70 days. The slower cell regeneration, the more wrinkles, dull skin... As we talked about, retinol will penetrate the skin deeply and will speed up cell turnover. Retinol tricks the skin into thinking it's younger than it actually is.

How long does it take for retinol to work?

You will not see results overnight. It does take a few weeks up to three months before you will see any major changes.

Does retinol have side effects?

Yes.. At first.. Your skin needs to adjust to the ingredient. Because retinoids increase cell turnover, it can make your skin (temporarily!) thinner. So at first, you can experience redness, inflammation, dryness and sensitivity. These side effects will go away in a couple of weeks. BUT, and there's a big but, if you use retinol 8 (see later), you won't experience these side effects as easily. 

I have sensitive skin, can I still use retinol?

If you have sensitive skin, be careful with retinol. A better option for you would be Retinol 8 from Verso (see later!). You can use retinol, but begin with a low concentration, in the evening. Use it once a week at first & use a small amount!

When do I start using retinol?

I would recommend you to start mid 20s. 

How do I use retinol?

The best way to add retinol into your skincare routine is to begin slowly and gradually building it up. Begin with a lower concentration & a few times a week. Your skin needs to build a tolerance and it takes a few months. At first, use it twice a week in the evening. Use a pea size amount, nothing more! And avoid your eye area! 

Can I use retinol in combination with other ingredients, such as acids or vitamin C?

Retinol you have to handle with care. Because it can make your skin thinner, you have to be a bit more careful how you combine it.

Retinoids and acids are both real go-to's when you want some active anti-aging products, but in this case tough, more is not better. Acids, such as AHA & BHA, exfoliate the outer layer of the skin (as do retinoids), which can cause irritating side effects in combination with the use of retinoids. But, you don't need to choose one or the other! Use acids in the morning & retinol in the evening, or use them on alternate days. 

Retinoids and Vitamin C won't work optimally if you use them together. That's because Vitamin C it works best in an acidic environment, and retinoids in the opposite alkaline environment. So if you want to use them both, I would suggest to use retinoids during the night & vitamin C during the day. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that will protect your skin during the day!

I'm pregnant or breastfeeding, can I still use retinol?

During pregnancy or breastfeeding retinoids should be banned from your beauty regimen. The risk of harming your baby is quite small, but as a precaution it's best not to use it. You can use other anti-aging serums without retinol & there are plenty on the market! 

What is retinol 8? What sets it apart from regular retinol?

Retinol 8 is a unique vitamin A complex, invented by Verso. It's 8 times more effective than traditional retinol, but it's not even half as irritative. It's more gentle for the skin - making it perfect for all skin types. 

Can I use retinol 8 during the day too?

Well yes! While you better apply traditional retinol in the evening, retinol 8 (what's found in Verso products) is safely to use day & night! Because retinol 8 is so effective, the concentration of retinol 8 in products is lower than with traditional retinol!
Does retinol 8 increase the risk of sunburn? This will shock you, but no! But we do recommend using a SPF during the day. The effectiveness of retinol 8 might be reduced with sunbathing. But you won't burn faster because of it! 

Retinol for beginners/sensitive skin

This facial oil is perfect for retinol noobs or for those with sensitive skin. This is the product to introduce your skin to retinol. Best of both worlds, if you ask me, a nourishing facial oil with all the goodness of retinol.

This is the crème de la nightcreams. With retinol 8, turmeric and oats, this hydrating cream will calm, hydrate & protect your skin. 

Retinol for all skin types

This gel moisturizer is perfect for normal to oily skin. The lightweight gel formula will hydrate the skin without it being too greasy or heavy. 

Super Eye Serum

Super Eye Serum

From €48

A lightweight eye serum packed with Retinol 8. It's anti-aging and because it's a serum - it's highly effective!

If your under-eyes need some extra love, you can't do no wrong with this sheet mask. Retinol 8 in combination with hyaluronic acid, canola oil and grapefruit extract will leave your skin feeling like new. 

Lip Serum

Lip Serum


If you want to get rid (or prevent) the little wrinkles and dark spots around your lips, than this lip serum is perfect for you. Plus, it will plump and hydrate your lips too - for soft, kissable lips!

Products for the retinol pro's

If you want the most out of your retinol serum, this is the one. It is packed, yes, PACKED with retinol 8. So you can expect some pretty punchy results when it comes to unclogging your pores, boosting collagen production, reducing fine lines & wrinkles and smoothing out the complexion. 

Say goodbye to blemishes! The power trio, retinol 8, niacinamide & turmeric, will prevent and control blemishes, while it will reduce inflammation and control oil production. 

Hyperpigmentation is a beach! A high concentration of retinol 8 will help even out your skin tone and decrease the appearance of dark spots.

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