Retinol is often termed as a holy grail that treats a number of your skincare concerns. Most people use it as Retinol Serum or Retinol Creams.
You might have heard that for most people, this ingredient makes their skin wrinkle-free and spotless and removes dark spots but for some people, it ruined their skin.
But is it actually true that retinol can damage your skin and complexion? Or it is that one ingredient that could transform your skincare regime for the better?
Let us find out.
What is Retinol?
Retinol is often termed as Retin-A or tretinoin. It is a derivative of Vitamin A and one of the successful patents of all time.
Over the year, it has revolutionized topical skincare and it has great utility even today. It is used to treat a number of skin disorders.
To under Retin-A and how it works, let us first understand the effects of aging on the skin.
Our skin is the largest organ of the body and it has three layers;
The superficial cells, keratinocytes of the epidermis tend to become adhesive and hang around longer. This leaves the skin looking dryer and rougher.
The epidermal cells of the skin do not replicate as quickly, therefore, the lifespan of these cells in the outer layer is much longer and it shows.
The pigmentation can become irregular and mottled because of this.
The dermis which is the deeper layer of the skin and contains collagen bundles becomes thinner and disordered. This causes creases and fine wrinkles to more easily show on the skin when there is muscular activity.
What are Retinoids?
Retinoids belong to the family of Vitamin A as retinol and were used for treating wrinkles, acne, dark spots, psoriasis, and other signs of aging since 1971.
The first retinoid was Retin-A (tretinoin). Initially, it was used to treat acne, but studies conducted show that it promotes cell turnover and fades pigmentation spots on the skin.
Retinoids or Retinols: What is the Difference?
Retinoids and Retinols both belong to the family of Vitamin A. the major difference between these two products is of concentration.
Retinols are easily available in the market as over-the-counter products. These have a lower concentration of retinoid.
However, Retinoid have a much higher concentration and you need your doctor’s prescription to get them.
Even though retinol is a weak form, but it still works on your skin. You need to at least commit to this product for 12 weeks to see the results.
This product often comes with moisturizers so they are not as irritating and are gentle on the skin.
This is often available in the market in the form of night creams and face serum.
How it works?
The active ingredient in Retinol Serum is retinoic acid which increases cell turnover, according to many studies.
The acid diffuses into the cell membrane and binding to receptors on the cell’s nucleus where it performs like a gene that promotes cell growth.
It stops the production of an enzyme, collagenase which breaks the collagen in our skin.
Retinol promotes collagen production in the skin which makes it more plumper, more voluminous skin with healthy elasticity.
This is an anti-aging serum that results in fewer wrinkles, fewer dark spots, and less sagging of the skin.
You can learn more about Skin Treatments in Dubai here.
Uses and Benefits of Retinol Serum
You can apply retinol serum on your face topically. It has a number of benefits to your skin and you can easily incorporate it into your skincare regime.
Retinol helps you unclog skin pores, exfoliate, and smooth skin. It diminishes the appearance of hyperpigmentation, fine lines, dark spots, and wrinkles. It acts as an Anti Aging holy grail.
Hence, it improves your overall skin texture and complexion.
Retinol thickens the dermis i.e. layer under the surface of your skin, as a result of which your skin looks healthier and more youthful.
You can apply this serum topically 2-3 nights per week and gradually increase the frequency.
As a result of using this serum, there are fewer breakouts on your skin, clearing up acne and pimples.
Gradually, you can choose a higher concentration of serum. You can do this after you are comfortable with using Retinol and it does not irritate your skin.
Can Everyone Use it?
All skin types can use retinol serum. But people who have fair and sensitive skin should use this serum with extra care. It takes time for your skin to adjust to this potent ingredient.
Many dermatologists do not recommend using this product if you over-exfoliate your skin or you have sun-damaged skin.
Doctors also recommend that mother who is conceiving or breastfeeding should not use this product.
When can you start using it?
According to many dermatologists, you can use this serum as soon as you hit your thirties. This is because your collagen levels in the skin start decreasing more rapidly at this age.
However, you can use this serum at any age. Most often, dermatologists recommend teens that have acne flare-ups.
They recommend using it for long-term benefits and can continue using it even after acne clears out.
Incorporate it into your Skincare Regime
Most dermatologists recommend that you slowly incorporate this serum into your skincare regime. Start by using lower concentrations of Retinal serum.
In the beginning, use a small, pea-size amount on your skin and then wait for a few days to evaluate your tolerance for this product.
If you do not get a reaction you can continue using it for 2-3 nights a week. However, if your skin gets flaky and irritated, mix this serum with your moisturizer.
You can gradually increase the frequency of using this serum from 2-3 days to every other day or three times a week.
Dermatologists recommend that you incorporate this product into your night care regime. Retinol makes your skin sensitive to sunlight, therefore, use it at night.
You should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen while using this serum. Doctors recommend that you should use sunscreen that protects you against UVA and UVB rays.
It is a good idea to use gentle cleansers while using this product.
Retinol does not show results quickly. It takes time.
While prescription retinoids affect your skin in a matter of weeks, retinols can take up to 6 months to produce the same results.
But that does not mean it does not affect your skin at all. Using this product, you will notice that your acne will start clearing after 12 weeks of use, but signs like sun damage and wrinkles take time to go away.
Retinol VS. Hyaluronic Acid
Both retinol and hyaluronic acid are beneficial for your skin however, they work in different ways.
Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in your skin and as we age it decreases. Synthetic HA delivers amount a significant amount of moisture to your skin thus making it moisturized and plumper.
However, Retinol works to fight anti-aging skin. It removes dark spots, wrinkles, fine lines, and pigmentation on your skin.
Retinol serums, from mild to potent
A number of skincare manufactures provide this with varying concentrations. You can start by using a lower concentration for 2-3 nights a week.
There are two types available in the market as Retinol or Granactive retinoid which changes skin cell turnover.
Gradually you can increase the concentration and usage to every other night or 3 nights a week once your skin adjusts to the serum.
Some popular products in the market are:
The Ordinary: This serum comes in different concentrations from 0.2% to 1% in squalane. Squalane is a moisturizer that makes this product less likely to irritate your skin.
You can also use this serum in Granative retinoid emulsion serum which causes less irritation.
You can find more information here.
Pixi beauty: This product comes with anti-oxidants and retinol that help you get smoother, soft, and glowing skin.
Deramlogica retinol clearing oil: This is a lipid-based product with essential oils that optimize skin recovery and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyper-pigmentation.
Clinique Smart Night Multi-Dimensional Repair Treatment Retinol: This product sinks into your skin to speed up cell turnover and visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles. It delivers instant and lasting hydration to your skin.
The Inkey List, Retinol: This product slowly helps to promote a smoother and more radiant complexion with less irritation.
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 moisturizer: If you are a beginner, then it is the right product for you. It uses Vitamin B3 along with retinol to target fine lines and wrinkles.
Cosmedix Elite Serum 24: This product treats fine lines, age spots and boosts collagen production. It also brightens and makes your skin smooth.
It is suitable for people with a normal to dry skin type.
La Roche Posay Retinol B3 Serum: This anti-aging serum uses pure retinol leaving your skin smoother, hydrated, and renewed with enhanced skin cell turnover.
You can have retinol that is purchased through our links.
Stronger derivates of Vitamin A i.e. Retin-A and Accutane have a long list of potential side effects.
Use this product with caution if you have sensitive or easily irritated skin.
People who use this product initially report irritation, redness, dryness, and peeling. But it subsides with time.
If you are using a higher concentration of retinol serum and you experience further irritation like itchiness and scaly patches, you should discontinue using it.
A rare side effect is excessive acne breakout, but it usually clears after a few weeks of usage.
Eczema flare-ups, skin discoloration, stinging, and swelling are rare side effects of using retinol serum.
Side effects are more likely to disappear after a few weeks of regular use. Therefore, it is important to give your skin time to adjust.
Who should avoid using this serum?
People who have sensitive skin conditions like Rosacea cannot tolerate this ingredient. Therefore, they should avoid using this serum.
If you spend a lot of time in the sun without proper protection, you are not a good candidate for using this product.
Women who are conceiving and breastfeeding should not use this product.
Before using high concentration, you should consult with your dermatologist.
Whether you have acne or pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles, age spots, this product can treat a wide range of skin-related issues.
You can use it as a night cream or a face serum. Moreover, OTC products take time to work wonders. So my dear reader, be patient.
This does not mean you should start with higher concentrations. Remember to always start with a lower concentration and build up slowly to avoid side effects and to give your skin the best possible results.