Retinol can help reduce wrinkles, refine skin texture, repair sun damage and reduce both acne and acne related scarring. It is one of the most researched skincare ingredients available and has provable benefits. We have compiled a list of seven need to know facts to help you get the most out of retinol products.
1) Retinol has Exactly the Same Benefits as Prescription Retinoids
Prescription only formulas contain retinoic acid, an age-fighting, skin-rejuvenating wonder ingredient backed by much research. However, retinol has also been extensively studies and, importantly, has been proven to have exactly the same benefits. The main difference is that with non-prescription retinol it takes longer to achieve results, but ultimately these results are visible and significant.
It is important to know that retinol is the only vitamin A derivative proven to match prescription retinoids in this way. There are a lot of different vitamin A derivatives used in cosmetic products, but only products with retinol listed as an ingredient offer a viable alternative to prescription formulas. Ingredients such as retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate or retinyl linoleate and retinyl propionate are often found in products, even those marketed by big brands, but whilst these forms of vitamin A have some minor benefits they are too weak to deliver the intensive skin remodelling effects of retinol.
2) Retinol does not Exfoliate
Some people experience minor redness or peeling when starting a retinoid based treatment protocol, but exfoliation is not the reason for retinol’s profound benefits.
Retinoids biochemically interact with the skin to enhance collagen production, skin smoothing and pigment correction. Any peeling is a temporary side effect and not comparable to the true exfoliation produced by alpha hydroxy acids. Because they have a different mode of action alpha hydroxy acids such as mandelic acid work well alongside retinol. Their exfoliating properties increase the action of retinol in the skin.
3) Practise Patience
There is a vast amount of scientific literature showing the benefits of retinol, but researchers agree that it takes several weeks to get significant results. They say that patience is a virtue, and in the case of using retinol this is a provable fact. Allow 12 weeks to really reap the rewards.
4) Allow 2 to 3 Weeks for your Skin to Adjust
It is not unusual for people new to retinol to experience minor redness and peeling when starting out with the products. This is all part of the process and after two to three weeks the skin cells adapt. If this reaction is bothersome then ease into the treatment with a less concentrated product such as this 1% retinol serum, then ramp it up to 2.5% a few weeks later to get maximum benefits.
5) Retinol Does Not Make Skin More Sensitive to Sunlight
This is one of the most common myths out there regarding retinol. Many people are surprised to learn that retinoids do not increase your risk of sunburn, and there is no need to stop using retinol if you are our and about in the sun. In fact retinol’s ability to boost collagen production can potentially halt photoaging before it starts. Retinoids have been shown to prevent the rise of collagenase—the enzyme that breaks down collagen—after UV exposure.
Retinol does, however, break down in sunlight, so keep your retinol skincare products away from direct sunlight and apply them at night so that they remain active on your skin for longer.
6) Use Retinol Around the Eye Area
Do not shy away from using retinol around the eye area. Studies show that people who apply retinoids right up to the eyes get the best results. Due to its mode of action, retinol is no more likely to cause redness in this area than anywhere else on the face. If you accidentally get a small amount of a retinol cream in your eye it may sting but will not cause any lasting ill effect.
7) Retinol is a Gift that Keeps on Giving
Research suggests that the benefits of retinol do not suddenly cease after visible results have been attained. The skin continues to improve after 12 moths of use.