What is Retinol? It is a star ingredient so let's explore what it can do for your skin!
First off, to learn about Retinol we need to know about Vitamin A. Retinol is also known as Vitamin A and exists in different forms inside the body. As well there are various forms of it in skincare products.
Retinol is both an antioxidant and a cell-communicator. As a cell communicator, it tells other cells to produce new skin cells (increase cell turnover) and exfoliates the skin in the process. It also triggers glycosaminoglycan (GAG) production and is one of the few topical ingredients thought to stimulate the proliferation of elastin. The net result is an increase in the skin's thickness and the production of new healthy skin.
Vitamin A in the form of Retinoic Acid has proven efficacy in reversing the signs of extrinsic aging (such as photoaging). It helps smooth wrinkles and diminishes the appearance of uneven pigmentation. It can also benefit those with oily skin by reducing oil production. Retinoids decongest pores by opening clogged follicles, clearing out the follicular debris and preventing the formation of new clogs.
While Retinol as an ingredient is beneficial, it is essential to know the side effects of retinol:
- Dry Skin: Retinol can be drying and irritation if the skin has not been gradually conditioned to it. Some people with very sensitive skin cannot tolerate products with retinol or any retinoids.
- Sun Sensitivity: Retinol is unstable in light and tends to oxidize quickly. This is why Retinol is usually recommended for night time use. The UV light can degrade Retinol. Also, your skin will need extra protection as it will be more sensitive to the sun when using retinol.
- Also, the exfoliating effect that retinol has can lead to mild peeling and skin flaking.
When using retinol, it is best to increase the strength of the Retinol concentration gradually over time. This allows skin cells time to develop more Vitamin A receptors, which allows for more uptake of Retinol. Start with using retinol products once or twice a week to see what your tolerance will be and slowly start to build up from there. When using retinol it is imperative that it is used at night and never during the day. Make sure that when you add retinol to your routine that you are using sunscreen during the day.