Retinol and retinoids are touted as the holy grail of skincare, but are they really? Is retinol powerful enough to improve your skin texture, pigmentation, and tone all at once? If so, how does that work, and is it good for you to use such a powerful product?
So many questions, and yet there seems to be a lack of solid information to help you make the best decision for your skin. That’s where we step in. The following guide to retinol will help you understand this vitamin A derivative and how wonderful it truly is.
But first–the name. Retinoids are the generic term to refer to all of the ingredients that fall under the same basic umbrella: retinol, Retin-A, retinoic acid, etc.
They all come from vitamin A. Retinoic acid is strong enough that it needs a prescription, retinol is something you can buy over-the-counter. All of these products do the same thing, it’s just that the prescription kind, known as retinoic acid or Retin-A, is stronger and works quicker.
Retinoids work by affecting the metabolism of non-epithelial cells in your skin. Overall, they seem to activate some genes and repress others, which over time, slow the breakdown of collagen, improves the appearance of skin texture, and lightens the appearance of age spots.
If you’ve tried retinoids and experienced redness and dryness, you may swear that they’re an exfoliator. They’re actually not, and what you’re experiencing is your skin being irritated.
If you’re using a prescription retinoid, then it could be that it’s too strong for you, and you should discuss this with your dermatologist. If you can stick it out, your skin should eventually get used to it, and you’ll begin seeing the benefits.
Absolutely anyone can use a retinoid, there may just be different benefits. Even young people can benefit from retinoids, as they were first introduced to the market as a way to treat breakout prone skin.
What you might want to pay attention to is the delivery method of your retinoid. Some skin needs more hydration, so the cream is better, while other people have oily skin and will prefer a gel.
One big retinoid myth is that they should only be applied at night. One study found that vitamin A in the form of retinyl esters actually provided some skin protection against ultraviolet rays.
While retinoids don’t cause sun sensitivity, they do breakdown in sunlight. This means that applying them before going in the sun might make them ineffective, so nighttime application is recommended.
There are quite a lot of rumors that focus on the application of your retinoid. The following tips can help you successfully use this product.
♦ It doesn’t matter if your skin is damp or dry when you apply your retinoid, but it should be clean to help with the absorption.
♦ Apply gently with the pads of your fingertips, and rub on in an upward and outward motion.
♦ Retinoids are very useful on the eye area, and you can apply it right next to your eye. If it gets in your eye, it might be irritating.
♦ Too much product is not necessary. Use just a pea-sized drop for your whole face, and aim for using it a few times a week to once a day; no more, no less.
While the prescription retinoids tend to work faster, the over-the-counter versions do eventually achieve the same results. Neither of these types of vitamin A work overnight. You can expect to see benefits from a few weeks’ worth of regular use to as long as six months of use.
Not only will it take time, but your improvements will vary and be uniquely yours, so there’s no legitimate comparison to go by. There is a plateau or a point where your skin is improved as much as it can be by retinoids, and typically comes after a year of use. At this point, retinoids become more of a maintenance product than an improvement.
Now that you have a more realistic idea of what retinoids can do, and you’re ready to see the proven results, it’s time to pick your product. Choose a retinol product that uses a potent blend of naturally-derived botanicals to add a new level of skin rejuvenation to your skincare regimen.
Be sure to include a serum or moisturizer that harnesses the power of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamin E, peptides, and glucose derivatives to balance your skin. By reinforcing barrier functions, plumping and moisturizing, softening and smoothing, and warding off oxidants, the overall feel and appearance of your skin will be dramatically improved.
There are a lot of myths and half-truths about retinoids that many people still hold onto. Knowing the truth will help you see this ingredient for what it actually is and what it can do. It will also help you use it correctly to make the most of it.
It’s important to understand that retinoids, both over-the-counter and prescription, work to help smooth your skin’s appearance and texture while slowing collagen loss for a more youthful appearance. It’s a product that works, but it’s not a miracle. Retinoids need regular application and time to work. Your results will also level out after about a year.
We recommend you include a daily dose of retinoids to reap all the rewards possible, letting you move one step closer to being the most you can be.