We can’t stop the aging process but we can use products that keep our skin looking great for longer. I have been using Retinol for quite a while (in combination with other products). Let’s look at what Retinol is and how it can help your skin.
Retinol is just an alternative name for Vitamin A. It is a retinoid. Retinoids are available commercially in two forms, namely:
(a) powerful, prescription-grade formulas based on Tretinoin (a more powerful form of Vitamin A than Retinol) sold under such names as Retin-A, Tretinoin, Avage, Differin, Tazorac, Retin-A Micro, and Renova, and;
(b) over-the-counter formulas called Retinol that you can buy at the drugstore without a prescription.
Originally developed to fight acne, remove dead skin cells, and clear out pores, scientists soon realized that retinoids were extremely effective at fighting the signs of ageing.
Advantages and disadvantages of retinol
- Retinoids such as Retinol are super effective at reducing lines, smoothing out skin texture, and regularizing skin tone.
- RX-Retinoids (i.e., prescription grade retinoids) have had FDA approval for 40 years now, which means that clinical studies have been carried out that prove that they do reduce wrinkles (no other skincare ingredient can claim this).
- Retinol is a skin-communicating ingredient, i.e., it “tells” skin to make younger, healthier skin cells.
- Retinols fade brown sun and age spots.
- You need a doctor’s prescription to get a hold of the most powerful forms of retinoids, such as Retin-A, Trentinoin, Tazorac, Retin-A Micro, and Renova.
- Initial use and over-use (more than a pea-sized amount at first) can result in red, itching, flaking skin.
- Retinoids such as Retinol are not suitable for people with sensitive skin or rosacea.
- Retinols must be used in conjunction with sunscreen protection because prolonged retinol use results in a lower UV barrier.
How can Retinol help your skin?
Retinols work by promoting rapid skin cell turnover and revealing new skin beneath. They also thicken the skin over long periods of use and slow the breakdown of collagen in our skin, the protein in our skin responsible for elasticity (and the first thing to break down when ageing). Thick, unwrinkled skin equals younger-looking skin. The great news is that it’s never too late to start a Retinol regime!
As Dr. Ranella Hirsch, M.D., said in an interview, “We have beautiful, profound data that shows if you use [retinoids] for 20 years, you’re going to look a lot better than someone who doesn’t.”
Keep in mind the following:
- Prescription-grade retinoids (Tretinoin) are 100 times more powerful than drugstore Retinol creams – but you need a doctor’s prescription to get them.
- It takes 6-8 weeks to see a difference in your skin using RX-retinoids, and 6-8 months using over-the-counter Retinols – but over time, they have the same effect.
- Seek out the most powerful and pure form of Retinol you can find in your drugstore products (rather than the far less powerful derivatives known as pro-retinols – these may be called retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, and retinyl linoleate on the back of the box).
- Build up your tolerance to retinoids gradually and work through any initial flaking or redness – a Retinol regime is a long-term commitment rather than a short-term fix.
- Use sunscreen and SPF creams (minimum 25 SPF) while using Retinols or retinoids.
Best over-the-counter Retinols
SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream, $70 – This is the Retinol cream I have been using.
Shop these products in the boutique below!
Are you using Retinol? Has it been effective for your skin?