Every once in a while the cosmetic market gets filled with a product you just have to try…or so they say.
It is very easy to get yourself caught up in the moment and want to try everything new.
If you have not been living under a rock, then you know about the apparently all-mighty retinol. No wonder dermatologists like it so much, the hype around retinol is definitely justified.
But, do you actually know why and how you are supposed to use it?
Stay tuned, because we are answering these questions below.
The Science Behind Its Magic
Retinol is actually a retinoid, a form of vitamin A.
When we say retinoids, that means both over-the-counter retinoid products, as well as retinoid medication that is prescribed.
There are two different layers of the skin that retinol can penetrate.
The first one is called the stratum corneum and the second one is the dermis.
When it finally enters the layers of the skin, his job is to encourage the turnover of the cells. Retinol can also stop the breakdown of collagen, whose job is to develop skin elasticity.
Why Use It?
In case you didn’t know (why would you?), retinol is made of small molecules and their job is to go under the outer layer of skin (also known as epidermis) to the dermis.
Once there, retinol encourages the production of elastin and collagen.
As a result, we get fewer wrinkles and fine lines, as well as smaller pores.
Simultaneously, it has exfoliating benefits on the skin’s surface and also on its texture.
If this sounds too good to be true, prepare to be amazed – here is what else retinol can treat:
- fine lines
- sun damage
- uneven skin texture
- hyperpigmentation, like melasma
- large pores as a result of acne, oily skin, or the loss of collagen
Can Anyone Use It?
Every skin is different and even though retinol does have many advantages, there are some skin types that can have a bad reaction to it.
Furthermore, during pregnancy and nursing, it should be avoided.You should be extra careful if you have:
- sensitive skin
- dry skin
- acute acne
In these cases, it would be a good idea to talk to your dermatologist before incorporating it into your daily routine.
Like any other product, retinol too can have its side effects – dryness, redness, itchiness.
The important thing to know is the side effects are usually temporary and last for a couple of weeks until your skin gets used to the product.
Full disclosure, retinol can be a little nerve-racking.
When starting with it, you should always begin with a lower percentage, especially if you have sensitive skin, and then carefully up the percentage as time goes by.
Equally important is the frequency of usage – you should start with using it twice a week and gradually increase it.
However, if you notice any kind of irritation, you should go back to using it twice a week.
When you are confident that your skin is ok with the percentage and dosage, only then you should up the usage.
Luckily, there are some tips that can help you avoid those mentioned side effects:
- Wait at least 30 minutes after cleansing and before applying retinol
- Always moisturize before or after
- Pay attention to other ingredients on your products – for example, you want to skip acne treatments and acids on nights you apply retinol
- Wear sunscreen – your skin can become prone to sun damage
Common Mistakes You Want To Avoid
When you hear that something is allegedly great, you want to see the results as soon as possible. Well, with retinol that can be a mistake.
Impatience is one of the most common mistakes one can make when using retinol, and the more the merrier is the close second. Why should I use the more gentle version of it, when I can use the strongest one and get results faster? Well, because you can get the complete opposite, for starters.
Last, but not least, a mistake is – everything goes – when you use retinol, vitamin C, Niacinamide… and you end up with damaged skin.
So, the most important rule is – BABY STEPS.
The Bottom Line
There you go, the magic behind the all-time favorite retinol explained.
So, what is your impression, retinol – a friend or a foe?
If you ask us, definitely a true best friend.
Read, consult your dermatologist, do a trial run… and start discovering the beauty of it, as well as the beauty of being in your own skin.
At Ottawa Vein and Cosmetic Medical Clinic we often like to say that self-care is never selfish, so treat your skin right.
We would be more than happy to guide you on your journey to amazing skin.