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All About Retinol

May 17, 2018

 

Skin care is on it's rise- it seems like everyone wants to look like their youngest and freshest self.  

Retinol has been around for ages, but just recently mainstream beauty brands had started to create products with retinol as the main active ingredient. If you are still confused about retinol and the way it effects your skin- continue reading! 

 

WHAT IS RETINOL ANYWAY? 

Retinol is simply another name for vitamin A. It’s a type of retinoid, the family of chemical compounds related to vitamin A. Other retinoids include: retinoic acid (also known as tretinoin), retinyl palmitate, and retinaldehyde, all of which can be found in skincare products. Tretinoin is the active ingredient in Retin-A, the prescription acne cream, while adapalene—another retinoid—is the active ingredient in Differin Gel. In addition to being a trusted treatment for acne, retinol is famous for its anti-aging properties, cropping up in a range of anti-wrinkle and skin-brightening products of every stripe. 

 

WHAT DOES IT DO? 

Retinol is one of the main ways of stimulating your collagen (fewer wrinkles), speeding cell turnover (less discoloration and smoother skin), and keeping pores clear (no more breakouts). While the level of efficacy depends on the product you're using and whether it's prescription or OTC, you'll reap all of these benefits to some degree, even if the product is marketed as only addressing one of these issues, say, anti-aging or anti-acne. 

 

IS IT SAFE? 

Retinol is extremely powerful and if not used properly, can cause issues on your skin, way before any improvements.

"If you're not careful, retinoids can cause redness, peeling, burning, or itching. Start slowly, using it every other night for two weeks, then gradually build up to nightly use,""

- Debra Jaliman, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist.

There is a lot of things you can do to make your skin acclimate to retinol slowly, Still, there are lots of things you can do to help mitigate these side effects. It'll take some time for your skin to acclimate to the powerful ingredient, so take it slow. Your complexion may still look a little worse before things get better, but any unsightly side effects won't last forever. 

 

HOW QUICK CAN I SEE RESULTS? 

This is not a formula that will give you instant results. Prescription retinoids will generally begin to show improvement in your skin’s texture within 6-8 weeks if used three to four nights a week. Non-prescription retinol will show improvement in 8-10 weeks but the benefit of retinol is that you won’t have the drying and peeling like you will with the prescriptions.

 

RETINOL VS. RETIN-A

Both are retinoids and are made from vitamin A. Retinoids come in prescription form and in a range of over-the-counter products. Prescription-level retinoids fall into these groups:

Tretinoin, including the brands Atralin, Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, and Renova

Tazarotene, such as the brand Tazorac

Adapalene, such as the brand Differin

 

All three groups prevent the buildup of dead cells in the skin's pores and follicles, and all three promote the growth of healthy cells. Common side effects include dryness, redness, irritation, and skin peeling as well as making skin more sensitive to the sun. 

Retinols are much weaker than prescription retinoids. Unless vitamin A is listed as one of the top five ingredients and the product is packaged in an airtight opaque bottle, what you're getting might not be all that effective. 

 

*If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you shouldn't use retinoids. 

 

Photo: Karl Smoderek

Makeup: Kornelija Slunjski

Model: Marija Shatilo

 

 

 

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