What is Retinol and why it is lauded in modern skincare products today? Popular for its anti-aging benefits, this magical ingredient is recommended by dermatologists across the world for smooth younger looking skin. Its regular use erases fine lines, wrinkles, plumps up the skin and makes it glow from within.
A deeper insight into retinol
When you visit the supermarket or beauty store to buy your first product with retinol, there are some things that you must know. You will often come across the following ingredients like retinoid, Retin-A or pro-retinol when you ask for products containing retinol. However, before you understand what retinol is, you first must know about “retinoid”.
Retinoid refers to a group from which many skincare products are made from. It is actually a “chemical” class with Retinol, pro-retinol and Retin-A being forms of the retinoid. In short, they are all related. It is a derivative of Vitamin A that helps in boosting the health of the skin and complexion.
For example, imagine them to be a family with the same DNA and retinoid being their surname. So, hypothetically, let us assume Retin-A is “Jane Smith “and Retinol is “John Smith”.
Or, you can take another simpler example, like coke and diet coke. In short, Retin-A and retinol belong to the retinoid family and produce the same results for your skin.
Now, let us take a deeper look at them-
- Retinol– This is the OTC (Over-the-counter) version of retinoid. Its concentration of retinoid is lower and so if you have really aged or mature skin, you will not get the desired results you want. However, if you are using retinol for the first time, remember, they will irritate the skin.
Generally, if a product irritates your skin, you will take it back to the store and ask for a refund. You will never buy it again- this is only but natural. The truth is there is no one at the store to tell you that in the beginning this skin irritation from retinol is normal. It lasts for some weeks as your skin needs to tolerate the ingredient first for it to work and produce visible anti-aging results.
- Retin-A– This is generally prescribed to you by your dermatologist. Known as “tretinoin”, it comes in different concentrations that your doctor prescribes to see a positive difference in your skin. Like retinol, there will be a certain level of skin irritation in the form of stinging, burning or itching.
In some cases, retinol will also cause the skin to peel. Sounds scary? Now the question is why?
Retin-A makes the topmost layer of the skin cells mature fast and so they slough off. In short, it gives the skin a potent chemical exfoliation. Instead of using a mechanical or manual device like a rotating brush or a washcloth, you will receive a better exfoliation with your prescription retinoid.
- Pro-Retinol- It is a very mild and much gentler version of its family above. It is generally found in anti-aging moisturizers, eye treatments and serums. You can say it is the “baby” of the family and great for beginners who wish to use retinol for the first time.
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What does the above exfoliation do?
All this exfoliation will battle aging and acne. It keeps your skin smooth as the old skin flakes off and boosts the production of collagen. This means you will see lesser wrinkles and lines in the long run.
Retinoids also curbs skin cancers. They play an integral role in making the skin cells mature. Note that cells with skin cancer are immature in mature and so if they do not mature correctly, retinoids push them to be more normal cells with regular application.
People often misunderstand retinol and Retin-A. Your skin will get irritated however with regular application, it becomes tolerant and the results start showing. The trick here is to use a very small portion of the medication and apply it on your skin.
You should also keep the following 6 important things in mind
- Start using retinol in your mid 20s or early 30’s- Dermatologists say your mid-20’s is the best time for you to incorporate anti-aging products like retinol in your beauty regime. Due to pollution and the fast-paced life, you often see sun spots, crow’s feet and lines appearing sooner. Using it at this time, will help you keep age signs at bay.
- Know the concentration of retinol you use- Balance is very important for healthy skin. When you start incorporating retinol in your skincare routine, begin with just a pea-sized amount (about .01% to 0.03%). Use it twice a week in the beginning so that your skin gradually gets used to it.
- Can cause harsh side effects if you are not careful- Stay away from retinol if you have skin problems like eczema and rosacea. Even if you have very sensitive skin, avoid it. You don’t have to be disappointed as there are other milder anti-aging products available in the market for your skin-type. Consult a good dermatologist for them.
- Use retinol ONLY in the night-This is very important to remember. Retinol makes the skin more sensitive to the UV rays of the sun and sunlight actually reduces its efficacy. When you step out during the day, wear an SPF of at least 30 or more. Stop using retinol in locales and vacations where you know you will be out in the hot sun for an extended period. Use retinol alone. Do not team it up with vitamin C or its efficacy will reduce. Use both products separately. For example, use vitamin C during the day with an SPF and retinol in the night.
- Apply retinol on your neck as well- Do not limit retinol to your face along. You should apply it on your neck as it shows signs of aging too. In case, your neck is too sensitive for the current formula you use, buy a product targeted for the neck only. Such products do exist in the market and they contain a lower concentration of retinol with skin soothers.
- Takes time to see the results- You need to be really patient with retinol as it takes time for you to see results. The skin irritation mentioned above can last for weeks or even months. It generally takes about 6 weeks or so for you to see the actual results. If you are under full-prescription retinol, it can even take up to 8 weeks for you to see a visible result.
Therefore, when it comes to incorporating anti-aging specialist retinol into your skincare and beauty regime, keep the above things in mind. Besides a good skincare routine, ensure you eat a healthy diet and drink water for beautiful glowing skin free of fine line and wrinkles with success!