Interview with Wibke Käferlein

Head physician in the field of aesthetic medicine at M1 Med Beauty

Retinol is one of the most effective active ingredients in skin care and a great all rounder, which is why it is used by dermatologists for more than 100 skin problems. But how are the best results achieved? And what should first-time retinol users pay particular attention to? Skin expert Wibke Käferlein from M1 Med Beauty has summarised the most important points:


What is retinol and what can be achieved with the active ingredient?

Wibke Käferlein: Retinol is a particularly effective form of vitamin A and can be used by everyone as an all-rounder. Retinol has the property to solve many skin problems, such as eliminating acne and reducing age spots. It strongly stimulates skin renewal and promotes collagen production, which significantly reduces fine lines and wrinkles. Dead skin cells in the top layer of the skin will shed more quickly, significantly improving dullness and uneven skin tone. Oily skin can also be visibly regulated with retinol.


What over-the-counter products are available in stores?

Wibke Käferlein: Retinol products with up to 1% retinol are available over-the-counter. Preparations labelled with more than 1% retinol do not use pure retinol or require a prescription. At M1 Select, there is both the highly concentrated serum with 1% and a cream with 0.3%, Both of which are well suited for beginners or also for more frequent use.


Is it possible to test the tolerance?

Wibke Käferlein: To test whether the skin tolerates retinol well, you can do a so-called patch test. A small amount is applied to the inside of the upper forearm and it is best to wait 14 days to see how the skin reacts. If there is an immediate burning sensation, the cream should be washed off immediately. If there is severe redness, itching or flaking of the skin, a break should be taken for 7 days..


How, and how often should you use retinol

Wibke Käferlein: Since retinol is very effective and can penetrate deep into the cells, you should start using it gradually. To get the skin used to retinol, it is good to start with the low-dose cream, avoid the area around the eyes, as this is very thin and particularly sensitive. The cream can be applied two to three times a week in the evening to the entire face, neck and décolleté. As the treatment progresses, it can be slowly increased, for example by adding one more treatment every week. When the skin is well accustomed to it, you can also start to use the highly concentrated serum, again avoiding the area around the eyes. initially, highly concentrated serum should only be used once a week in the evening, but can be increased in the course of time if it is well tolerated.


Can temporary skin reactions occur?

Wibke Käferlein:

YES! When you start using retinol, it is normal to experience slight redness, warmth or flaking of the skin. This is just a sign that the retinol is working and is not a cause for concern.
The adjustment period is usually two to four weeks for normal skin types, but it often takes a little longer for sensitive skin.

Retinol zählt zu den effektivsten Wirkstoffen in der Hautpflege und wird von Dermatologen als Allroundtalent bei über 100 Hautproblemen eingesetzt.”


What is a sensible amount of retinol to use?

Wibke Käferlein: The amount of retinol you apply is also important. A pea-sized amount is usually sufficient for the entire face and neck. Larger amounts can no longer be absorbed by the skin and therefor promote skin irritation. Accordingly, the products should not be combined with each other, i.e. applied on top of each other (layering); this also increases the risk of skin irritation.


Should retinol be used more for day or night care?

Wibke Käferlein: Retinol makes the skin more sensitive to light, so it makes sense to integrate the application into the night care. Serums with high dosages should only be used in the evening. Otherwise, the risk of pigmentation disorders or sunburn increases. It is therefore advisable to apply a sunscreen during the day and to avoid extensive sunbathing.


What else do you have to consider?

Wibke Käferlein: Retinol can be combined very well with moisturising serums or creams. In the morning, products with antioxidants are suitable for this, which additionally accelerate the regeneration of the skin barrier and can be ideally used under sun protection. In the evening, you can use moisturisers for support, as retinol easily dries out the skin. Care products with hyaluronic acid are best suited for this purpose.

Peelings or products with acids such as vitamin C, glycolic acid or benzoyl acid (as a preservative in some cosmetics) should not be combined with retinol as this promotes skin irritation. The use of such substances should be limited to days when retinol is not applied.

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