What is Retinol?
Retinol is classified as a type of chemical compound known as a Retinoid.
Retinoids are chemically related to Vitamin A and provides the benefits of vitamin A to the skin when used topically.
- 1 Regulate Oil Production and Acne
The active ingredient vitamin A works to remove dead cells and improve overall skin cell health. This process helps the skin in 2 ways:
Reducing skin cell build up from retention hyperkeratosis, a process in which the epidermis sheds dead skin cell throughout the day. Retention hyperkeratosis is a natural occuring process in the body. If the dead skin cells are not removed the result is clogged pores, the beginning stage of acne and breakouts.
Regulating the build up of sebum. As we discussed in “Why is Niacinamide in Skincare Products?“, an over production of sebum in the in the Sebaceous glands, leads to oily skin. Vitamin A works to regulate the build up in the epidermis resulting in less oily skin. This benefits also helps to prevent acne and break outs.
- 2 Reduces Hyper-pigmentation
Retinol increases turnover in the skin by exfoliating at a cellular level, which results in brighter and smoother new skin. Retinol also stimulates the production of new blood cells which helps improve color bringing vitality back to the skin. The combination cell turn over and new blood cells can help fade the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
“Hyper-pigmentation results from the overproduction of Melanin in the skin. This includes, but is not limited to; sun spots, age spots and melasma (a condition that causes dark/discolored patches on the skin).
Hyper-pigmentation can also occur as the aftermath of acne scars.” – 5 Ways Vitamin C Improves your skin
- 3 Increases Collagen Production
The protein collagen in the skin is highly correlated to the suppleness and elasticity in skin. Collagen has been proven to prevent wrinkles as well as smooth out existing fine lines and wrinkles.
Retinol helps keep collagen healthy by preventing the overproduction of collagenase, an enzyme that breaks down collagen.
Ways to Get Vitamin A
Aside from Retinol creams and serums there are numerous foods with naturally occurring vitamin A.
Vitagene.com’s article “How Does Vitamin A Impact Your Acne Levels? ” shares a list of vitamin A rich foods. Please be advised when consuming Vitamin rich food,
“Vitamin A is fat-soluble, so it has to build up in your body. Be careful to not exceed more than 10,000 IU (international units) per day. Exceeding this amount can be toxic to your body. Also, keep in mind that if you have a slow metabolism your body will not be able to convert carotene into vitamin A as easily as it would for someone with a high metabolism.”How Do You Use Vitamin A for Acne? – vitagene.com
Potential Side Effects of Retinol
While retinol is an effective method to protect improve the health of your skin, there are still potential side effect you may experience from using retinol. Side effects may include but are not limited to:
Burning, Dryness, Discoloration of the skin, Itchiness, Peeling, Redness, and swelling.
Many of these side effects are caused by the increased cell turnover caused by the active ingredient Vitamin A. In concentrated amounts, retinol can be very potent and can cause shedding from the dead skin cell accumulated in the epidermis. These side effects vary based on the strength of the retinol used and the frequency of usage. Be mindful of the impacts you may experience if you decide to start using retinol for its benefits. Allow your body to adjust to it’s effects and respond accordingly. Speaking to your dermatologist is a great way get more information about what type of retinol, if any, would work best for your skin.
Do you use Retinol in your skin care routine? If so, how often?
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Categories: Skin Care