My Skin on Retinol

My skin had been REALLY going through it, and was in dire need of renewal. Retinol is an anti-aging superstar that’s powerful enough to transform your skin on a molecular level. A few drops can smooth skin texture, even tone and pigmentation, and boost collagen production. The controversy behind the “R” word can be misleading/scary, but that’s why I’m here to offer clarity, and how I incorporate the best retinol on the market into my skincare regimen. See my 1 month transformation below.

After 30 days

Retinal Photo // Pubchem

What is Retinol?

Described as the ultimate anti-aging king, Retinol is a vitamin A molecule that works at a profound level by changing your gene expression. Retinoids (a catchall term for other forms and derivatives of retinol) —penetrate your cells, stimulating cell turnover and boosting collagen. At optimal turnover level, cells are able to fight signs of aging and repair DNA damage caused my environmental stressors and UV rays. After years of playing tennis without any sunscreen, I know my skin suffered permanent damage from the sun lol… please don’t be baby high school kale and skip spf (if you’re reading this and didn’t put on spf today that’s okay, I forget all the time too! Just go do it now so you don’t get premature wrinkles.)

Since retinol works at the DNA level, it truly takes about 4-6 weeks to see results. Some have to stick to a routine for at least 12 weeks or longer for noticeable change. Well damn, if I’m going to devote a few months to a retinol routine then it better be worth it right? We love investing time, not wasting it, so read up before you try it!

Skin Benefits

While chronological aging is inevitable, photoaging involves premature aging of the skin due to ultraviolet exposure. Retinol is scientifically proven to increase collagen production, which improves overall skin health. It can be used to repair sun damage, treat acne, fade discoloration, minimize pores, smooth lines and uneven texture, while fighting signs of aging. yeah, she’s definitely a badass.. 

Protocol’s Oxidated Retinol Serum

What you need to know before trying retinol*

Skeptical? So was I. Retinoids are notorious for being harsh on with skin, especially sensitive skin (me). Irritable reactions consists of dry skin, flaking, or burning— and that’s common! I think everyone can benefit from retinol, but the hard part is figuring out to make it work for you. To play it safe, start with a low concentration retinol. Your skin will adapt, building a tolerance to the ingredient, and after several weeks, you can graduate to a higher concentration retinol! Listen to your high school gym coach and push through it!

I know my skin— it easily freaks out, and refuses to cooperate 24/7 (even with the most gentle products lol). I breakout regularly, and my skin is still recovering from years of sun damage. It doesn’t have the integrity to test multiple retinol over the course of several months… + it’s expensive!

The vitamin breaks down in sunlight, so you need to make sure the packaging is opaque to prevent gradual deterioration. Recommended for nightly use, but if you happen to apply it in the morning, just follow with spf!

Protocol’s Oxidated Retinol Serum is the first (and maybe the only) retinol that I will use for a multitude of reasons. They are the most advanced retinol serum on the market. All of their serums are bottled in an 100% oxygen and UV free environment for optimal effectiveness. I have never felt dryness, irritation, or burning from this serum… it is a miracle worker. The founders fought really hard for their innovative approach to this retinol development and it pays the f*ck off. More on the brand and my thoughts on their entire skincare line here.

Retinol for 30 Days

I applied Protocol’s Oxidated Retinol serum nightly for 30 days and the raw photos are below. Upon reflection, the photos made me very insecure, but it goes to show that I’m human. Normal skin has texture, blemishes, lines, and unevenness. That glass, perfect skin you see in the media isn’t real, nor should it be the standard. Skin is so incredibly unique, and requires extensive trial/error and education. It is an organ, and in essence, skincare relates to health and wellness before it ever is beauty. So far, this retinol has done wonders for my skin (for only 30 days, the results are pretty amazing) and I can’t wait to continue using it + updating y’all!

Before + Afters

All photos are raw, unedited, and captured right after waking up. Notice the bed head? …Retinol is meant to be used overall several weeks. And some may take longer to see visible results. I just wanted to document my skin’s reaction to retinol over the course of 3 months! Skincare is a marathon, not a sprint!

A month is a really short time frame for skin to change, and it’s unreasonable to expect it too! I kept up with this retinol and I there’s definitely a difference in tone and pigment. I still have evident lines and texture problems, but they are getting smoother. Something else I noticed was that pre-existing acne scars, (prior to introducing retinol), are slowly fading. It’s very slow but they’re fading. Meanwhile, active + new acne scars fade relatively fast (like 1 week, which is super fast) with retinol. Generally skin looks healthier, and much brighter. A lil lit-from-within glow haha. I’ll be sure to keep up and show y’all the progress!

~If you have any questions about skincare. Please feel free to ask me! I’m no expert, but I’m here for all your skincare needs. I love furthering my knowledge of skincare + learning together is cool ☺︎

don’t forget to get your greens ☺︎ mwuah


Protocol Skincare




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