Menopause and our skin. Say hello to my big sister Retinal... not Retinol! I’ve tried it and I like it!


Hello dear friends,

Have you been looking in the mirror recently, wondering why you seem to be aging so quickly since your menopause journey started? Me too!  Well let's get to work to slow down the process, there’s work to be done.   

Ok now’s the time to stick the kettle on make a brew, I’ll see you in 5.

Now I’m no stranger to knowing our bodies stop making as much collagen as we age.  When we experience extreme hormonal changes during menopause it can have an alarming effect on the skin, with us ladies experiencing a loss of collagen and elasticity to dryness and crepey skin. We begin to lose fat under our skin, causing sagging and more to often a sunken look to our once lovely youthful faces .

Please don't cry. I'm here to help, I'm on the journey too.


It’s time to fight back, but first...

I’m going to let you in on a few little secrets about my skin journey so you don’t feel alone with your own skin frustrations.

My journey of using basic moisturiser began at the age of 16 with no understanding of what I was using, or the ingredients in the products. My only reference was if it’s good enough for my mum's skin I'll use it too, it must be good!!

Many moons later and well into middle age I find myself  yet to succumb to injectable fillers but it hasn’t been far from my thoughts. That was until I met my new friend: Retinaldehyde.

My real journey of looking after my skin began in my 30’s with what I believed to have a moderate understanding of ingredients in moisturisers and a particular interest in ones that get to work a little quicker than some said to offer quick mind boggling benefits.


So ladies, what should we do when these skin changes really start to take effect. What can we do to make ourselves feel a little bit better, and hopefully decrease a few of those fine lines and wrinkles throughout this new skin changing journey. Lets at the very least put a bit of plump back into our cheeks, eh?

Let’s not go down without a fight...

There’s no denying our skin cell renewal slows down as we age... Our lifestyle plays an important role in this process.  To help reduce the speed this happens, we must consider the amount of hours we sleep, the types of food we eat and what we drink, not forgetting to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day whilst fitting a moderate amount of exercise into our lives, and a regular face massage... phew it’s exhausting just thinking about it, but these are foremost the steps needed, we must process these words, and make time for them. 


Now those words may seem obvious to some, but we are keen to know the role Retinaldehyde plays to support our skin to stay healthy, bright and plump. How can we give it the extra help with cell turnover it needs from our moisturiser ?. 


What's the solution?

For so many ladies, the solution to our beauty anti-aging routine is Retinol. 

We see Retinol in an abundance of cosmetic products, instantly believing it to be the answer to fix many of our aging skin concerns.

For many ladies used over time, by slowly increasing the strength of the product and it’s usage, Retinol can be a game changer to healthier skin

Combined with other items in a skincare routine. 

After all, there must be a reason it's been such a huge player in the beauty industry for so long

There is however an issue for many ladies with claims that over 50% in the UK are sensitive to the usage of Retinol and often find it too harsh for them to use causing skin irritations, especially ladies during their menopause journey.

A solution to fixing  this could be to  use a ‘broken down’ form of Retinol known as Retinaldehyde. Yes I did say a broken down version!  Retinaldehyde or Retinal with an “a” for short are both convertible forms of vitamin A.

Retinaldehyde is somewhat gentler on the skin than Retinol.  It’s more effective at speeding up and boosting cell turnover, it creates firmer skin texture and overall tone and unblocks pores with antibacterial properties, which is fantastic for menopause skin. 

If any of you ladies have had experiences like me, I was finding spots and pimples an unforgiving sight for the first two years of menopause…  my menopause would have loved Retinaldehyde in those first stages.

After all that, Retinadheyde gets to work on thickening the inner layer of skin called the dermis, slowing down the formation of wrinkles, boosting collagen, elasticity, and helping to repair cognitive tissue.


My menopause skin needs this… does yours !!

Ok admittedly both Retinal and Retinol speed up cellular regeneration and collagen production to plump the skin, both reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. However, the main difference is the speed in which they give results. Retinal has been clinically proven to work up to 11 times faster than Retinol. 


A short explanation of the process


Retinoic acid is the active form of vitamin A, the form that is actually utilised by the skin. This is why all variations of vitamin A, including retinal, must be converted to retinoic acid before they can take effect.  

But where does the chain of performance begin?  It begins with products containing Retin esters and Retinol.

During the conversion process Retin esters are three conversions away from retinoic acid, retinol is two,  Retinaldehyde requires just one conversion. The fewer conversions required, the more benefits to the skin. Sounds pretty simple if you put it that way, don’t you think?


To sum up

Retinaldehyde truly is the kingpin of my beauty box and I look forward to seeing it introduced into more products, taking it from strength to strength in more of our favourite brands.

It’s usually sold with an encapsulated percentage from weakest to strongest of 0.01% to 0.1%. Retinaldehyde is not sun-sensitising so it doesn’t increase your risk of UVA/UVB damage or hyperpigmentation, therefore unless stated it is suitable to wear in the daytime. However I would suggest incorporating slowly into your moisturiser routine and always wear a good high factor sunscreen on top of any product.

Currently there are less than a handful of players selling products that include Retinal in the UK but fortunately there are two of our favourites in the meantime, who are doing a great job providing us with a reason to add products with Retinaldehyde to our beauty routine.


Medik8 Crystal Retinal

Combined with hydrating hyaluronic acid and skin-soothing vitamin E, Crystal Retinal targets fine lines and wrinkles for smooth and visibly youthful skin. Unlike other forms of vitamin A, Retinadehyde boasts direct, powerful antibacterial properties. This allows it to target acne-causing bacteria; promoting a healthy, visibly clear complexion. 

The advanced active is carefully encapsulated in a crystal structure that is broken down by the skin’s natural enzymes when topically applied. This ensures maximum stability and absorption while allowing the vitamin A active to be released gradually into the skin while you sleep for minimal irritation.

Crystal Retinal 3

Stable Retinal Night Serum Medium-Strength Vitamin A
The entry point for those who are new to vitamin A or have tried mild retinol formulas and the answer to those looking to prevent early signs of skin ageing.
0.03% Encapsulated Retinaldehyde. Crystal Retinal 3

Crystal Retinal 6

Stable Retinal Night Serum Super-Strength Vitamin A
Perfect for those who are wanting to upgrade their high-strength retinal results.
0.06% Encapsulated Retinaldehyde. Crystal Retinal 6


Avène Triacnéal Night Moisturiser for Blemish-prone Skin 30ml

Intensive night-time moisturiser for blemish-prone skin.

TriAcnéal EXPERT is an evening moisturiser for blemish-prone skin that comprehensively helps reduce blemishes, residual marks and signs of ageing. Also suitable for people who may be prone to acne. Those looking for clearer skin and anti‐ageing care no longer have to compromise. Skin is left soft, hydrated, smoothed and comfortable.

Key Ingredients

  • Retinaldehyde: fights the signs of ageing by boosting the skin's collagen production.
  • X-Pressin: Gentler alternative to acids 1% is more effective than 6% Glycolic (smoothes skin texture and helps reduce appearance of blackheads).
  • Diolenyl: Once activated it splits into anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.
  • Avène Thermal Spring Water: unique; anti-irritating active with soothing properties that leave the skin feeling soothed; supple and soft.  Avène TriAcnéal EXPERT Emulsion, 30 ml


Avène Physiolift Smoothing Eye Cream for Ageing Skin 30ml

Innovative eye cream for the delicate eye contour area.

Formulated with a unique combination of Hyaluronic Acid Mono-Oligomers, an optimal form of Hyaluronic Acid, and Avène Thermal Spring Water, this cream smoothes away fine lines and wrinkles. It visibly firms and plumps the skin whilst reducing puffiness and dark circles. Specifically formulated for the fragile eye contour area.

Key Ingredients

  • Retinaldehyde: vitamin A derivative - stimulates cell renewal and rejuvenating the skin.
  • Hyaluronic Acid Fragments​: smaller fragments of hyaluronic acid to penetrate deeper for instant skin plumping​.
  • Pre-Tocopheryl : Antioxidant Vitamin E precursor (more powerful, more stable, more easily absorbed).
  • Ascofiline: replenishes the skin's collagen I and IV.​                                     
  • Dextran Sulphate: decongestant helps reduce puffiness and dark circles.
  • Avène Thermal Spring Water: unique; anti-irritating active with soothing properties that leave the skin feeling soothed; supple and soft.  Avène PhysioLift Eyes
Disclaimer:  This article is about my personal use and experience of using skincare products. This information does not constitute medical advice. If you are considering making changes to your routine with uncertainty of your product choices, first consult with a qualified medical or skin care professional.  Thank you. 



    Published By Petra Dawson at Meet Me in the Menopause