why you need retinol


REN Skincare’s Retinol Duo.

When it comes to skincare, certain things are just a given. Like washing your face, for example, and applying the right amount of SPF. Nobody’s perfect, and we have all forgotten a step here and there along the way. There is one thing however, that should definitely be part of your “ritual” and it’s retinol. Prescription-grade or not, this topical formula is a highly effective way of renewing the skin and simply smoothing things out.

REN Skincare last summer brought to market its Retinoid Serum. This concentrated product worked so well on my skin, I thought for some time I would never need to ask my derm again for a prescription. This fall, the brand doubled the retinol offering with a concentrated Retinoid Anti-Ageing Cream. Yes, REN Skincare is determined to make you look that much younger.

So what exactly, is this potent vitamin A derivative all about? Pharmacist, President and Owner of New York’s New London Pharmacy Abby Fazio is an advocate of retinol, in any form that suits one’s skin. I had the opportunity to lunch with her this month and got the scoop on why we need it (for our skin’s sake) and what her faves are.

According to Abby, vitamin A (retinol) should always be applied at night because too much sunlight diminishes its active ingredients. Also, as the stuff gets to work on your skin, it can cause flaking, and we wouldn’t want that happening in the middle of the work day!

As a pharmacist fulfilling prescriptions, Abby prefers the “gel” version of Retinol (marketed as Retin-A micro) for how quickly is absorbs and also how concentrated it is. The cream works well, too, but for most skin types the gel works well. Retinol  also finds its way over the counter, meaning New London and other outlets offer variations of it that don’t require a prescription. Some of Abby’s fave’s:

Alaur Continuous Super Retinol which helps with pigmentation and is highly concentrated, REN Skincare’s Bio Retinoid Concentrate (which, according to Abby, is perfect for those with sensitive skin) and Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Infusion, which contains vitamins C, E and a “time-released” compound of retinol. These made the cut, but there is always prescription-grade retinol which should last for months, even with daily use. If it’s prescribed, Abby says, it is strong enough in a sense that a little will go a long way.


Abby Fazio, President, Owner and resident Pharmacist of New York’s New London Pharmacy.

Talk to your derm, or stop by New London for tips and advice on how to work retinol into your routine. The pharmacy team is highly knowledgeable and will send you home happy.

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