If you consider yourself to be a skincare junkie, you’ve probably seen retinol cropping up as a key ingredient in products again and again. You’ll often find it alongside words like “age-defying,” “anti-wrinkle” or “reparative”, which definitely paints it in a good light – but what exactly is it? How do we use it? And what side effects should we be aware of?
So What is retinol?
Retinol is a form of vitamin A, which is found in foods like carrots, eggs, spinach, and sweet potatoes. As a dietary supplement, retinol is used to treat vitamin A deficiency. It’s also prescribed to treat a number of skin conditions, or applied topically to the skin, where it converts to retinoic acid. This acid communicates with your skin cells, and retinoid receptors found naturally in your skin join in with this communication. Through the receptors, Vitamin A is released to your cells.
When used in skincare, retinol is effective in improving skin texture, pigmentation and tone. it alters the behaviour of aged cells so they act in a more youthful manner. Using retinol in your daily skincare routine can speed up skin renewal, enhance collagen production and reduce the appearance of ageing. If you want to know what are the best retinol supplements then click here.
So what are the Benefits of retinol
No 1 Prevents skin ageing
Although it wasn’t its original purpose, retinol is now highly recommended by dermatologists for its anti-ageing properties. This is because retinol helps the skin cells to produce and maintain collagen, which improves the strength and elasticity of the skin. Retinol slows the breakdown of collagen and helps you to stabilize your cells, resulting in a healthier collagen production.
Having a balanced amount of collagen in your face prevents the appearance of fine lines and other signs of ageing. It’s even thought that retinol can undo previous signs of ageing in the skin too.
No 2 Treats psoriasis
Retinol works to normalize cells, which in turn prevents unhealthy cell growth. This is particularly useful for people dealing with a skin condition called psoriasis. Retinoids – the term used for retinol-based products and medications – can penetrate skin cells and bind to the DNA receptors that regulate cell division. By doing this, they can slow down hyperproduction of skin cells, promote the shedding of dead skin cells, reduce dryness and flaking, and improve overall skin appearance
Retinol is effective at treating other skin conditions aside from psoriasis. Experts say that retinol can slow down or even entirely put a stop to the build-up of skin patches and the development of warts. Retinol can also reduce inflammation, which is especially important for people with painful skin conditions.
No 3 Improves complexion
One common side effect of getting older is that our skin cells don’t renew as quickly. Dead skin cells tend to accumulate in one location, which presents as duller skin, especially on the face, hands and ankles. Retinol helps skin cells break down more rapidly, which leads to a faster production of new skin cells, thus accelerating skin renewal. New skin cells make for brighter, fresher-looking skin.
A combination of age and sun damage can also cause hyperpigmentation, which is a harmless skin disorder that causes patches of skin to become darker in colour than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs as a result of an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin colour, in the skin. When you use retinol to normalize and renew the cells, it will likely diminish hyperpigmentation too, as your skin defends itself against age and sun exposure. Retinol also stimulates blood vessels giving you a rosier complexion.
No 4 Fights acne
While it not exactly an exfoliant, retinol acts similar to one. You might only apply retinol topically, but it works deep within your skin, at the cellular level. It also does a great job at breaking down dirt and old skin cells, which can commonly cause skin conditions like acne.
Retinol unclogs your pores, giving skin a cleaner appearance and creating space for other beneficial skincare products to come in contact with your skin. If you deal with particularly bad acne, you may be prescribed retinoid pills by your doctor, which are commonly used to treat oil production, bacteria that cause acne, and inflammation. These have been proven to work – clinical studies have shown an impressive 87% decrease in acne lesions after just three months of using a prescribed retinoid.
No 5 Improves skin health
Using retinol on the skin improves skin health, which, in turn, improves our overall health. Our skin, being the biggest organ in the body, most definitely impacts us holistically. Skin helps our bodies to perform a number of important processes needed for survival, like heat regulation, protection from microbes and the elements, improved immune responses, and regulation of water and electrolytes.
A deficiency of Vitamin A, or retinol,