What are Retinols?

Retinols are natural substances that are a form of vitamin A. They are present in some of the best skincare products because of their powerful anti-acne and anti-aging properties. Please continue reading to learn more about retinol and its effect on your skin.

What does retinol do for the skin?

Retinol is a type of vitamin A. When it is applied to the skin, it penetrates the stratum corneum (upper layer of skin) and partially into the dermis (middle layer of skin), where it exfoliates, increases cell turnover, promotes collagen synthesis, and stimulates the formation of new blood vessels.

This helps to make your skin appear smoother, softer, clearer, and tighter. Many dermatologists and skincare experts consider retinol the gold standard in fighting acne and combating the signs of aging.

What is the best type of retinol to use?

Retinol comes in the form of creams, gels, emollients, and liquid serums for topical application to the skin. You don’t need a dermatologist’s prescription to get retinol-containing skincare products. Over-the-counter retinol is available in concentrations of up to 2%. Stronger retinols usually require a prescription.

The best retinol skin products are available in a range of concentrations. This allows you to prime your skin with a lower concentration product and gradually move up to stronger concentrations that can produce more dramatic age-defying results.

What are retinols

What skin types can use retinols?

There is a common misconception that retinol is only good for normal to dry skin and that sensitive skin does not do well with retinols. In truth, retinols are perfectly safe for people of all skin types.

However, it is worth noting that retinols can exacerbate certain skin conditions like eczema if you use the wrong type, i.e., a stronger one.

Also, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are generally advised to avoid retinol.

How to apply retinol correctly?

You should cleanse your face in the evening and wait until your skin is completely dry. Then, take a pea-sized amount of the retinol skin serum and apply it all over your face using upward and outward movements. Take care to avoid the eye area. Following this, finish your skincare regimen with night cream or moisturizer.

How long does it take to see results?

You will need to use an over-the-counter retinol skincare product diligently for at least 2-3 months (sometimes longer, up to 6 months) to see a noticeable improvement in the quality of your skin. Most people, however, start noticing an acne improvement after about 12 weeks of using a retinol skin serum. Sun damage and signs of aging take longer to improve.

What are the negative effects of retinol?

It is common for first-time users of retinol to experience mild redness, dryness, peeling, and irritation of the skin. You can reduce these side effects of retinol by gradually introducing your skin to it.

It’s also important to limit sun exposure as much as possible and to use daily sun protection with SPF30 or higher while using retinol skin products.

What are some good retinol products to consider?

We recommend SkinMedica’s Age Defense Retinol Complex, which is available in concentrations of 0.25, 0.5, and 1.

As mentioned above, you should start with low concentration retinol, such as the 0.25%, and slowly move up to a higher percentage that can target more severe issues like sun damage and wrinkles.

In addition to retinol, this advanced skin formula from SkinMedica contains a PhytoShield antioxidant complex that protects your skin against free radical damage. Also present in the formula are magnolia bark extract and algae extract, which enhance the texture of your skin and minimize irritation, leaving your skin soft and hydrated.

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SkinMedica Retinol products

How often should I apply retinol?

Start by using the Skin Medica Age Defense Retinol Complex 0.25 twice a week to slowly build a tolerance to the formula. Then, increase the frequency of application to every other night, and finally to every evening. Once your skin has been primed with the lower concentration of this product (0.25), you can move up to the 0.5 and eventually the full 1 concentration.

Closing Thoughts

Retinol is a form of vitamin A that has many skin benefits, including reversing the visible signs of aging and helping to clear acne. While retinol is perfectly safe to use on all skin types, it can cause side effects if you don’t use it properly. Always choose a high-quality retinol skincare product such as the SkinMedica Age Defense Retinol Complex range, and be sure to gradually introduce your skin to increasing concentrations of the serum.

If you have questions about skincare products, ingredients, or regimens, do not hesitate to reach out to our Skincare Specialists in the Skin for Life Boutique.