WHAT IS RETINOL?
Vitamin A is widely-considered as one of the most effective skin-care ingredients and it comes in many forms, though its most famous derivative is the ‘over-the-counter’ Retinol. And it is worth noting that Vitamin A was the first vitamin approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a topical ingredient that can change the appearance of the skin’s surface. And Retinol is a form of Vitamin A that is commonly used to treat acne, reduce wrinkles, increase skin cell turnover and stimulate collagen production. It is one of the many types of Retinoids — an umbrella term used for all vitamin A derivatives. Retinoids come in a variety of strengths and different names, but Retinol is the most common type. Retinol is milder than most Retinoids and usually added to over-the-counter products. These are readily accessible and do not require a prescription for use, unlike other potent forms of Retinoids.
Retinol works to stimulate collagen production and accelerate skin cell turnover, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, fading pigmentation, dark spots, acne marks, discoloration and blemishes in the process. You will find Retinol as a star ingredient in many anti-aging products including serums, moisturizers and creams. It actually works by binding to receptors in skin cells, reinforcing the protective function of the epidermis, preventing collagen against degeneration, and stimulating new skin cell turnover.
WHY YOU SHOULD USE RETINOL IN SKINCARE ?
Retinol is a well-known gold-standard ingredient in skin care because it alters the behaviour of aged cells in such a way that they will act in a more youthful manner. It works by triggering the skin cells of the outermost layer of the skin to turnover faster so that new skin cells can generate. Skin cells contain Retinoid receptors that help regulate how the cell functions. As we age, our cells behave unsteadily but consistent use of Retinol helps normalize the cells. It smoothes and refines skin’s texture, enhances skin radiance and delays aging. This results in smoother and more even-looking skin. When Retinol is incorporated into age-preventive skin care routines, it helps accelerate skin renewal, enhance collagen production and reduce the appearance of aging, uneven texture and age spots.
Retinol also increases the production of natural chemicals such as hyaluronic acid in the skin and these chemicals help to keep the skin moist and plump. Retinol also boosts collagen production and prevents the breakdown of collagen that already exists. It is highly recommended to incorporate Retinol into a skin care regimen at the age of 30, three to four times a week. By the 40s, every other night is beneficial and in the 50s, 60s and beyond, incorporate a Retinol product every night is good.
WHAT ARE THE 5 MAIN BENEFITS OF RETINOL FOR SKIN ?
Retinol – one of the most well researched anti aging skincare ingredients. It influences skin cell turnover, treats acne and marks, increases collagen production and delaying existing collagen breakdown, all these benefits are definitely needed for a more youthful look by every woman.
Retinol helps keep pores clear by reducing the build-up of skin cells and also block inflammation pathways in the skin. It also decreases oil production in these cells by binding to the specific receptors for Retinol within the skin cells. Decreased oil production prevents oil from blocking pores and helps to prevent further acne outbreaks from occurring. It also helps to normalize cell turnover and has an exfoliating effect that stops pores from clogging and pimples, blackheads and cysts from forming. In a nutshell, Retinol helps unblock pores, reduce the number of break-outs and minimize the redness and swelling that comes with them. It is worth remembering that Retinol is not as potent, which is why it works best for mild-to-moderate acne which also means that it is gentler on the skin.
FIGHTS SIGNS OF AGING
Retinol works to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and renew skin’s surface for radiant, younger-looking skin by boosting blood flow to the skin, at the same time increases the production of collagen by thickening the inner layer of the skin. It also helps to speed up the skin cells turnover process to promote brighter, smoother skin. Retinol goes deep beneath the epidermis to your dermis to plump up the skin and at the same time smoothing out existing fine lines and wrinkles and also minimizing new ones from forming. Once Retinol is in the middle layer of skin, it helps neutralize free radicals to boost the production of elastin and collagen and complement skin’s natural renewal process and fight the signs of aging
RETINOL CAN HELP BRIGHTEN AND EVEN SKIN TONE
Retinol works by calming down the skin cells that produce melanin, a dark pigment. It helps with sun damage and dark spots by encouraging skin cell turnover, allowing discolored skin cells to shed off. Stimulating cell turnover and brightening dull skin by exfoliating at a cellular level, will result in brighter and smoother new skin. Consistent usage will even out your complexion, fading sun spots, acne scars, hyper-pigmentation, and dark spots. Researchers also determined that Retinol works well for skin brightening, especially when used with a complimentary skincare routine that includes sunscreen.
Retinol can treat hyper-pigmentation by speeding up the natural skin cell turnover rate. Retinol also reduces the appearance of sun-induced dark spots by inhibiting the activity of tyrosinase, an enzyme that stimulates melanin production in the skin. By removing the existing pigmented cells and as the dark spots are peeled off, your skin replaces them with normally pigmented cells. Retinol can also be effective in softening the appearance of scars.
INCREASES COLLAGEN AND PROMOTES ELASTICITY
Retinol has earned its long-held reputation for its collagen retention ability. Collagen is what gives skin its structure, firmness and elasticity. Repeated sun exposure and age unfortunately will break down collagen and skin will form wrinkles, sags and loses fullness. Its good to know that Retinol neutralizes any free radicals that might be causing collagen damage in the skin. As our body will naturally begin to produce less collagen as we age, Retinol can help preserve our collagen, stimulate new collagen production, and thicken the layer of skin where wrinkles are form. Therefore, existing wrinkles and fine lines may appear to be “smoothed over.” New collagen production will also prevent new wrinkles from forming. Retinol helps in boosting collagen and also the potential to stop photo-aging before it starts. And regular use of a Retino product also increases the amount of new collagen formed, and that new collagen will last for years.
DIY VIDEO – RETINOL SERUM
WHICH STRENGTH IN RETINOL SHOULD YOU USE?
As a rule of thumb, how much Retinol your skin needs depends on your skin type and concerns as well as your skin’s tolerance. With this, you can experiment with different strengths and frequencies of usage and observe how your skin responds.
Low-Strength Retinol – 0.01% To 0.03%
If this is your first time using Retinol or if you have dry and sensitive skin, it will be better to start off with a lower-strength Retinol. You will see results when applied once or twice daily. Because Retinol is powerful, even that little bit works and low concentrations are great for beginners and anyone with sensitive skin. Such low strength percentage had been proven to be effective at reducing pore sizes and improving signs of ageing and the overall health of your skin.
Moderate-Strength Retinol – 0.03% To 0.3%
If you experience skin concerns like uneven skin tone or texture and a visible loss of firmness, or if you are still stuck with deep wrinkles or dark spots, try adding a stronger Retinol product to your routine such as 0.03% to 0.3%. You may upgrade from the low strength level if you do not see any signs of irritation. Start by using 2-3 nights a week and build the usage to see how your skin responds. Of course moderate percentages of Retinol give you results faster than lower percentages of Retinol and this concentration could counteract the visible effects of environmental damage and visible thinning of skin.
Recommended Strength Retinol – 0.25%-0.3%
Even if you are still stuck with deep wrinkles or dark spots, do not consider to take your Retinol concentration to the next level. Stubborn skin like deep wrinkles and pronounced uneven skin tone may want to consider a high percentage of Retinol usage as we believe that higher doses bring faster benefits and also provides quick results for skincare concerns that may not have responded to lower percentages of Retinol. At Green Herbology, we always advise our customers to stay on to our recommended safe strength of 0.25% – 0.3% as we believe that the higher the dose, the higher could be the benefits, but also higher the risk of irritations. Even if your skin can tolerate Retinol well by now, there is always the chance that pushing things too far will cause more problems, hence if smaller dose is working fine, stay on with the recommended usage.
We all know that Retinol has many skincare benefits. However, it can be drying and irritating for people with sensitive skin. It would be a smart move to start with low concentration so that your skin will grow more tolerant. You may increase the frequency of usage but always pay attention to how your skin respond. Start small and work you way up slowly. That way, you will get all its awesome benefits without the annoying side effects. Armed with this knowledge about the strength of Retinol, there is nothing stopping you from getting great results. Do not forget to protect your skin from UV damage every day with an SPF higher than 30, even when it is cloudy.
RETINOID VS. RETINOL: WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES ?
Retinols are a subtype or subordinate of Retinoids. Retinoids most often describes as more powerful prescription products, while Retinols generally refers to weaker over-the-counter (OTC) formulas. A derivative of Vitamin A, Retinoids can tackle everything from fine lines and pigmentation to acne and psoriasis. They achieve this by boosting the turnover rate of skin cells. They can also accelerate the rate of skin cell division and new cell growth. They actually change how your skin cells function. Retinoids also works deep in the skin’s dermis layer to stimulate collagen and elastin production, not to mention fight sun damage and help reduce the appearance of pores. Additionally, Retinoids can also unclog pores and removing bacteria that contributes to acne breakouts.
Retinols actually works in the same way as prescription Retinoids but they contain lower strengths of retinoic acid. Retinols are formulated in an ester form which means they need to be degraded into retinoic acid once applied to the skin, therefore this makes them even weaker. Having said this, Retinols still carry out their functions well, it just takes a bit longer before you notice the effects. The upside? They tend to cause fewer side effects. Remember, the higher the dose or concentration, the greater the chance of experiencing side effects.
Retinoids can offer plenty of skin benefits, from reducing the appearance of wrinkles to easing the effects of sun damage to improving breakouts. You might feel tempted or carried away to harness those benefits immediately by jumping straight into the deep end with Retinoids, but your skin will generally thank you if you start off with the weaker versions, which is Retinols.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF RETINOL ?
Generally, skin reddening, peeling and flaking are the most common encounter when you begin using Retinol or it is incorporated into a skin care regimen too quickly or used too often. Likewise, because your skin needs to get accustomed to Retinol, acne may worsen before it improves. It is highly recommended to begin slowly by adding it into a nightly routine one to two times per week for the first week and increasing it gradually from there, depending on how your skin reacts. And if there is still visible redness or peeling, use it once per week for a month then increase to twice per week and monitor the skin for irritation before increasing the usage. Or you may also try using Retinol once every three nights for a couple of weeks, then every other night, eventually working up to every night if the skin can handle it.
Another common side effect of using Retinol is that it makes your skin more sensitive to UV sunlight, therefore it is incredibly important that you also wear a high SPF sunscreen on top of your moisturizer when you are using Retinol. Typically, it just takes a little time for the skin to adjust and all these side effects will eventually subside. Other common side effects include skin dryness, however, you may be able to manage this symptom and others with a diligent moisturizing routine. Do not forget to allow your Retinol cream or serum to absorb into the skin for 20 to 30 minutes before applying your moisturizer. Just to reiterate, using sunscreen daily to protect your skin while using Retinol is imperative.
ARE RETINOLS SAFE TO USE DURING PREGNANCY ?
Topical application of Retinol is less likely to cause harm to the unborn child, however, as a precaution, they must not be used during breastfeeding, pregnancy and anyone planning to have a baby. No doubt Vitamin A may work wonders on your skin, excessive amounts can interfere with fetal development and lead to birth defects and even doctors have cautions that Retinol is not recommended for pregnant women. It may be controversy as this could be due to tretinoin in Retinol which is related to isotretinoin, a medication known to cause birth defects. Do consult your doctors before using if you have concerns.