Retinoids are naturally occurring compounds derived from Vitamin A. Science has also developed synthetic retinoids which act in similar ways to natural occurring ones.
Both of them activate RARs (retinoic acid receptors) in your skin. This activation is important because it’s basically how they work to keep your skin healthy and functioning properly.
Vitamin A in this form has the ability to improve the elasticity of the skin, smooth wrinkles and lines and increase moisture. It is also very effective for treating acne.
Retinol has an extremely small molecular structure. This tiny structure is what enables it to penetrate deep into skin, which is why it is so effective.
In topical creams it is used to help moisturize and condition the skin improving it’s elasticity . They are well known to improve blemishes, acne, wrinkles and abnormal pigmentation.
Prescription creams and pills containing retinoids are used to help clear up severe cases of acne and psoriasis. These creams are typically used at night as part of a daily skin care routine.
Retinol And Aging Skin
As you age your skin’s ability to renew itself gradually slows and it starts to lose its elasticity. That is when wrinkles start to appear and become more evident.
A lot of this is due to the fact that the production of retinol in our bodies slows. This affects your skin in the following ways:
- The amount of of collagen produced grows less.
- The degradation of collagen happens faster.
- The production of elastin decreases.
- The Melanin in your skin can coalesce into age, liver, sunspots or brown spots.
- Dead layers of skin tend to pile up easier in the upper layers of the skin.
How Retinol Can Improve Your Skin
According to Dr. Oz, Retinoids work on a molecular level because skin cells contain retinoid receptors that help regulate cell functions that have deteriorated from age or sun damage.
When retinol and other retinoids come into contact with these receptors, enzymes in the body convert the retinol into retinoic acid, the active form of the vitamin.
This goes to work on skin cells in a variety of ways. It works to increase cell turnover and decrease collagen breakdown, while stimulating new collagen and elastin production.
Retinol can also help to decrease and fade spots or other hyper-pigmentation discolorations. It also help to exfoliate dead skin layers to produce healthy better looking skin.
The first retinoid was approved by the FDA for acne in 1971. That kind of approval involves intensive testing, studies, and trials.
Basically it means that the drug companies had to offer scientific proof that retinoids work and are safe for treating acne (first) and for treating wrinkles (later).
Retinol is the similar but less powerful form of prescription-strength retinoids. It has been proven that topical applications of it improves fine wrinkles associated with natural aging.
Over-the-counter products with retinol are more suitable for many because they are have less irritant reactions such as burning, scaling, or dermatitis associated with prescription strength.
The bottom line is that topical creams that contain retinol have been proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to improve the look of collagen-depleted skin.
Retinol And Acne
Retinol in topical creams has been used to help control acne and keratosis pilaris. It has an exfoliating feature that can help unclog pores and clear acne.
Retinoids, which include over-the-counter retinol and prescription-strength Retin-A, reduce acne by altering the oil chemistry on the skin.
They help stop dense sebum from getting stuck within the pores. By unclogging pores of these
deposits, bacteria can’t grow and cause acne.
They also help to regulate the natural enzymes in our skin that fights these infections. The increased collagen production in the skin also help to decrease acne scarring.
Retinol Side Effects
Prescription creams are the most powerful anti-aging and acne fighting ingredient available. They are recommended for use on the more serious problems.
When used as directed they are not dangerous to use however they can be very irritating. Therefore it’s best to start slowly with a non-prescription topical skin cream.
Retinol is an effective non-prescription alternative that can reduce the instances of irritation while still delivering all of the benefits.
The side effects of using it like skin irritation are generally mild. People with very dry skin may find that they initially see some light flaking when they first begin using it.
This stage, known as the retinoid effect, is nothing more than the skin acclimating to the vitamin. It and other minor problems will typically pass quickly and with no ill side effects.
These products will tend to be less effective when exposed to the sun so it is best to apply them before bed time or when you will not be exposed to sunlight.
Retinol Is Dermatologist Recommended
It is the number one dermatologist recommended skin treatment but you do not need a recommendation or prescription to get it.
In fact according to this oprah.com article you don’t even have to go see a dermatologist if you don’t want to. Over-the-counter products containing retinol are proven to be effective.
Actually this is your best course of action. You can learn how your skin tolerates it, and if it is strong enough to do what you desire.
For many an over the counter treatment is enough for the desired results. You can always go with the more expensive prescription route later on.