As we age, skin changes are inevitable and skin care products can help us look younger. Retinol and retinoids can be a first line of defense against wrinkles and fine lines, helping your skin glow. Although this activity is nothing short of revolutionary and is sold everywhere from dermatology offices to pharmacies, the rejuvenating ingredient is often misused and misunderstood.
1. What is retinol?
Retinal and retinoids, such as retinal palmitate and retinoic acid, are derivatives of vitamin A. Vitamin A is a key nutrient in our bodies that boosts cell turnover. It is often added to skin care products for several benefits, including:
- Exfoliation of dead skin cells
- Acne reduction
- Lightened skin tone
- Clogged pores
It can even gradually fade stretch marks and psoriasis, making it a smart solution for all types of people. Retinoids first became popular in 1971 as a way to treat acne, wrinkles, psoriasis and even some cancers. The first was Retin-A, which was designed to treat acne. However, when doctors found that it actually promotes cell turnover and fades pigmentation spots. Retinols are usually a weaker version of retinoids, so they can be bought over the counter. High concentrations will require a prescription and an adjustment period.
They come in many forms, including serums, creams, gels, and ointments.
2. Best time to take retinol
There’s no bad time to start taking retinol, but the best preventative method against aging is to start at least in your early thirties. It can help you start with crow’s feet and sun spots, but it’s best to consult a dermatologist as balance is key.
3. How to use retinol
Low and slow is the best way to approach retinol. In large quantities or with frequent use, it can irritate the skin. The best way to start is with a low interest OTC formula by applying it. A pea-sized amount will do, and you can increase the amount until your skin slowly adjusts to it.
Dermatologists recommend using it twice a week, and then use can be increased after about a week. Also, retinol should be skipped the day before exfoliation, as this process can also be abrasive and irritation from retinol can increase sensitivity. Treatments like microneedling and microdermabrasion will also require a break from retinol.
Over time, if your dermatologist approves, you can switch to a higher percentage of retinol. Retinol can be combined with other topical skin treatments such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, but strong exfoliants should be avoided.
4. Retinol side effects to watch out for
As effective as it is, retinol has some side effects. It can cause initial dryness, irritation and sensitivity to the sun, so this product is best for evening use. It should also be used in conjunction with SPF as the new skin is much more delicate. Side effects such as peeling, burning and redness are uncommon.
Also, people who suffer from eczema and rosacea should be careful with the use and possibly avoid it based on the recommendations of a dermatologist. There are many anti-aging alternatives on the market, such as wild indigo.
5. What retinol should I buy?
Retinoid products are available in concentrations of 0.025%, 0.05%, 0.1%, 0.3%, and 1%. The higher this percentage, the stronger the formula will be, so users should always start with a lower percentage and work their way up after building a reasonable tolerance without too many side effects. SkinCeuticals Retinol is a popular choice because it has a relatively high percentage, yet is gentle and non-irritating to most skin types.
Talking to a healthcare provider or dermatologist can help you determine what retinol or retinoid is right for your skin type. All in all, if you want to prevent aging, promote younger-looking skin, or reduce the appearance of wrinkles, this skincare wonder is a fantastic choice.
You should contact a professional if you do not see results for several months or develop a bad reaction to retinol or retinoid products.