Did you know that the secret to anti-aging was discovered 80 years ago? This is one of the most popular prescribed treatments for the skin and you probably have it at home already. In this post, you will learn what retinol is all about.
There are so many anti-aging products out now on the market but retinol is still the best tool we can use to fight off signs of premature aging. But it can be really confusing for buyers when it comes to choosing the best retinol for us for the same reason – there’s just so many products now because of ever so changing technological advancements in the world of skin care. So keep reading because we’re here to give you all what you need to know about retinol.
What is retinol exactly?
You might have heard about retinol before… or retinoid… wait, which is it? To put it simply, it boils down to the delivery mechanism and how they perform on your skin.
- Retinoid is the general term for all agents derived from Vitamin A.
- Retinoic acid is the ingredient found in prescription retinoids.
- Retinol is the over-the-counter form. The skin converts retinol to retinoic acid.
- Retinyl palmitate is the combination of palmitic acid and retinol. This is the gentlest type of retinoid.
How do retinoids work?
No matter what type of retinoid your dermatologists prescribes, retinoid does the same thing. It binds to cell receptors hence speeding up cell turnover. Our skin sheds for usually 30 days, but with a retinoid it might only be 20. This means the top layer of your skin if more frequently new and younger.
Retinoids also fight inflammation, prevent skin cancer, and keep your genes from mutating, and promote collagen production. This is why this ingredient is a dermatologist favorite.
But not all retinoid products are the same. They differ in formula and are made for different of skin types.
Retinoids are also effective in treating acne and not just fighting off wrinkles. Usually, dermatologists prescribe products that have a combination of retinol and salicylic acid or other anti-acne ingredients.
But be warned – don’t experiement and mix 2 different products by yourself. Seek the advice of a licensed dermatologist.
Are all retinoids effective?
Prescription-strength retinoids work better and faster than over-the-counter retinols. However, the skin peeling and side effects are more pronounced. Over-the-counter retinoids are also effective but may work slower before results are noticeable.
Look for a retinoid that is 1% of the product or higher, or else anything lower than that won’t give you visible results. For products that have 2% retinol, it is a must to moisturize regularly.
Can all retinoids be used on all ages and all skin types?
Just like for any other skin care product, consider your skin sensitivity. If you are more prone to redness and flaking, start with the gentlest form of retinoid which is retinyl palmitate. You’ll see less improvement in the quality of your skin but it does not mean it’s not working.
If your skin is sun-sensitive, retinoid might make you more prone to sun damage. Counter this by wearing sufficient SPF and stay in the shade.
Retinoids can be applied all over the face. It is especially helpful to apply around the eyes where the skin is more sensitive and prone to damage.
However, we need to be perfectly clear in saying that pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use retinol. There have been studies that indicate a link between retinol and birth defects.
How will I know if the retinol is working?
Believe it or not, dry and irritated skin are signs that the retinol is working. It will take several weeks to see the significant improvement in the quality of your skin, but you are building up tolerance to the ingredient as you use it. Before you know it, you’ll have younger-looking, smoother, and softer skin that you’ve been waiting for.
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