As the obsession for finding innovative skincare ingredients that deduct years from one's appearance continues to proliferate in the beauty industry, there is one ingredient that many brands are going crazy for. Welcome to the world of Retinol.
Retinol is often used as the first line of skincare after sunscreen and is touted by dermatologists and skin specialists alike for keeping signs of aging at bay. But what exactly does this fountain –of- youth and favorite must-have in any beauty arsenal do to your skin? Let's get to the details.
What is Retinol? How Does it Act on the Skin?
Retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A, helps to enhance the production of collagen and aids in combating free radicals. Retinol also helps in improving skin texture and pigmentation. It is thus akin to a golden ingredient because it modifies the behavioral pattern of the old and aged cells and enables them to function in a more youthful manner.
Retinol minimizes uneven skin tone, reduces signs of aging and sunspots on the skin, and also enhances skin radiance. However, having said that, it must be noted that Retinol does not work the same way on all skin types. People prone to issues like eczema, rosacea, or psoriasis are advised to stay away from this ingredient as it can trigger inflammation and aggravate the symptoms.
‘Retinoids’ is the family term that encompasses both OTC Retinol products as well as the prescription forms of Retinoic acids/ Retinoids. Retinol can be understood as a specific version of the Retinoid family.
While both are Vitamin-A derivatives that get converted into Retinoic acid, Retinol, which is readily available OTC, has a lower concentration of Retinoic acid that works gradually on the skin (because it takes more time for Retinol to get converted into active Retinoic acid on the skin). In contrast, Retinoids have a higher concentration of Retinoic acid and are available only as prescription drugs like tretinoin (generic name of Retin-A), tazarotene, etc.
Many OTC Retinol variants can be found in skincare ingredients like moisturizers, which work to add brightness to the skin.
Benefits of Retinol
Helps in Treating Acne:
Given its powerful ability for cell renewal, Retinol is very useful for people suffering from acne and breakouts. The common belief that Retinol is an exfoliating agent is partly true; it does have some exfoliating properties which prevent clogging of pores and minimize the occurrence of pimples, cysts, and blackheads. Retinol is also useful to reduce the appearance of large pores.
Furthermore, it also helps in the reversal of scars and blurring of acne marks or blemishes that have remained on the skin on account of previous pimples
Enhances the Complexion:
As we age, there is a reduction of new skin cells leading to a dull complexion. By working at a cellular level, Retinol helps to brighten dull skin, minimize hyperpigmentation and age spots, smoothen the skin texture, and thereby paves the way for a brighter skin tone.
Reduces Wrinkles and Fine Lines:
One of the essential benefits of Retinol is its anti-aging effect. Not only does Retinol prevent aging, but it can also reverse to a certain extent, the damage already done to the skin. This is accomplished by way of Retinol’s ability to boost collagen production. It must be noted that collagen production decreases when a person crosses 25 years of age. Retinol augments collagen production by stimulating the fibroblasts. Fibroblasts help in secreting collagen and offer support to the epidermis, enabling the skin to retain its shape and remain soft and supple.
The higher the collagen in your body, the less are the chances of wrinkles on your face. Retinol also helps to reduce fine lines that are often the first signs of aging.
Improves the Elasticity the Skin:
Retinol helps to increase the protein called elastin in the skin, which in turn improves its elasticity. By elasticity, we mean the ability of the skin to stretch and snap back into its original place. As we begin to age, our bodies stop producing elastin, and thereby, our skin loses its youthful appearance. Retinol helps to regain the elastin and prevent sagging of the skin.
Regulates oily skin and Prevents Breakouts:
Retinol also helps in treating oily skin. It helps in building collagen and keeping the skin firm. Anything that helps in keeping the skin firm will also make the pores tighter, and thereby the skin emits less oil. Retinol, when used regularly, helps in controlling oil production, leading to lesser skin breakouts.
What is the Best Time to Use Retinol?
It is recommended to use Retinol only during your nighttime routine because sunlight deactivates the efficacy of Retinol. It is better to avoid Retinol during those times where a person will be spending enough time in the sun, say, for instance, during vacations or travel during hot seasons. This is because Retinol makes the skin more sensitive to the UV rays of the sun.
During standard days, when Retinol is applied to the skin during the daytime, it is best to use an SPF sunscreen lotion.
How to Use Retinol?
Retinol may trigger dryness, burning, or peeling of the skin during the first few weeks of use in certain skin types. Though many types of Retinol are formulated with hydrating ingredients to reduce skin irritation, dryness, etc., there is a possibility of side effects, especially in persons who are new to the product.
Hence, all Retinol and Retinol formulations are best applied in small pea-sized amounts first on the skin, every alternate day, in order to find out how your skin reacts to it. New users can also use a moisturizer first and then follow it up with Retinol, till they establish their tolerance levels.
So, whether you are a teenager trying to solve your acne issues or a middle-aged person fighting with wrinkles and fine lines, Retinol is the perfect solution and an essential ingredient that must top your skincare list.
If you believe that regular soap or a shower gel are good enough to wash your face with, you are in for a nasty surprise. The truth is - there is nothing more harsh on your skin that the chemicals in the soap or shower gel you are using!
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