Retinol helps skin cells create better, healthier skin cells, provides antioxidant support, and increases the amount of substances that enhance skin’s structural elements. Since the first topical retinoid was approved for acne, these vitamin A products have been hailed by many as a cure-all for skin problems. Although they may not be the answer to all your skin issues, they have been scientifically proven to help some.
The term retinoid describes vitamin A products that unclog pores, boost collagen to reduce fine lines, and speed cell turnover to even out discoloration and smooth the skin—sometimes in as little as four weeks.
The first retinoid—tretinoin—was FDA approved (under the brand name Retin-A) almost 40 years ago as a prescription acne treatment. Dermatologists soon noticed that patients on Retin-A experienced not just clearer but softer, brighter, less wrinkled skin.
Since then, it has been a much loved ingredient in the aesthetic industry, used to treat multiple skin issues from wrinkles, acne, uneven skin tone and even warts.
What is the best retinol cream in the market?
There is no real answer for this question. Finding the right vitamin A product for yourself depends on your skin’s specific needs. I recommend starting with an over-the-counter retinol (weaker form of retinoid) for at least 6 weeks and move up to a stronger one so that your skin adjusts. This will help avoid the “gets worse before it gets better” phase. There is no need to deal with the dry, red, flaking skin if you just start with a weaker strength.
Although keep in mind, if you start with a prescription-strength retinoid, you will get quicker results. If that’s the case, dry, red, flaking skin is part of the process. Keep with it and usually after 2 weeks, those side effects are gone.
How long until I see results?
As I mentioned in my last blog, the cell turnover process (life-cycle) of skin cells is 28 days, and that of collagen is much longer (about 4 to 6 months), so stick with it for at least that long to see the benefits. Be patient, apply the cream anywhere between every 1-3 days; it’s all on what your skin can tolerate. Make it a routine before bed.
Don’t forget the eyes! Delay the need for Botox by using retinol. Studies have shown that people who apply retinoids right up to the eyes get the best results.
How do I use it?
The ingredient itself is sensitive to sunlight, which is why you should apply it before bed at night. A retinoid shouldn’t make your skin any more vulnerable to UV rays than it would be after buffing away dead skin with a face scrub. Unless you’re using a prescription strength.
Summer is actually a good time to start a retinoid: humidity makes your skin less likely to dry out as it adjusts and retinol is known to help prevent photo-damage before it even starts with its antioxidant properties. Of course, apply sunblock (SPF 30, at least) as you usually would during the day.
If you’re not a retinol user at this point, I hope this blog convinces you. It’s an amazing product with remarkable benefits.