Retinol has become a widely popular ingredient in skin care products, especially as it is the number one dermatologist recommended anti-aging ingredient. Its popularity has led to an overwhelming amount of products including it in their formula. Although it may be beneficial, there is important information to know before you decide to add it to your daily beauty rituals. By knowing all about retinol, you can be a savvier shopper who knows the best products in which to have it as an ingredient.
What is Retinol?
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, an essential nutrient known for its vision and skin benefits that is also a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin A encourages skin cell turnover so that newer, healthier cells replace the cells that become damaged over time or because of UV exposure. The body can produce retinol from other types of vitamin A, and certain foods supply it. Topical application provides a direct route for skin care maintenance, which is why it is often found in creams and other cosmetics.
Retinol and the active version of vitamin A that aids in skin health, retinoic acid, are fragile, so it is important to buy products that protect it against sun exposure and other elements that can break it down before it gets a chance to work.
What are the Benefits of Using it?
The main reason retinol has become such a popular skin care ingredient is that is helps to decrease the appearance of find lines and wrinkles. It can also reduce the size of pores in the skin. Many acne fighting creams also include retinol because it can unclog pores and exfoliate the skin while fighting against the bacteria that contribute to pimples and other blemishes. Retinol has also been shown to even out the pigment in skin, including reducing the appearance of dark spots. Because of these benefits, the two main categories of skin care lines that include retinol are acne fighting and anti-aging.
How Does it Work?
Retinol creates a younger, more youthful appearance by working on the cellular level. It helps to increase cell turnover, and it also affects gene expression to create healthier cells. The retinoic acid communicates with skin cells, telling them to function as a new, normal skin cell, rather than a damaged or older cell. This helps to enhance the skin’s normal structural elements, including the collagen and elastin. When the skin cells have a normal, undamaged structure, they create a tighter, firmer appearance, reducing any fine lines or wrinkles.
Although it has a powerful, clinically proven anti-aging affect, it is by no means an overnight sensation. Most people have had to wait for around twelve weeks before the first noticeable signs appear, according to dermatology professor Gary Fisher quoted in Allure. Additionally, in the first few weeks, you may experience some irritation, slightly drier skin that peels a bit. This is a normal part of the process and will go away after a few weeks once the skin has adjusted to it. However, severely irritated skin is a sign that you should stop using it or try a weaker formula.
Is it Safe?
Retinol is safe, as long as it is used as intended. However, some experts believe that using it in certain skin care products may not provide the same benefit, or even be unsafe. Retinol encourages cell turnover, which means that the new cells are delicate and sensitive to the sun. That is why the best skin care items to include retinol are night creams. Using it during the day may actually cause more UV damage because the skin is more susceptible to the sun, even with sunscreen as protection, according to WebMD. It should also be used in just one or two products, rather than in every product you own. Retinal can cause redness, irritation, and dryness, and this irritation could become even worse if you use too much of it. Therefore, always start with using just one retinol product until you know how your skin reacts.
Retinol is a powerful anti-aging ingredient, but it is one for which you should be patient to see it work. The only people for whom retinol is unsafe are women who are pregnant and breastfeeding; otherwise, it is a non-toxic ingredient that many dermatologists recommend. However, you should take care that it does not cause excessive irritation, and you may have to try different levels of intensity. Once you find the right product for your skin, you will start to see a more rejuvenated, youthful appearance.
Are you a skin care specialist looking to get your continuing education credits completed? Then check out our courses for an easy, cost-efficient solution.