There are a lot of beauty buzzwords out there and retinol is definitely one of the hottest anti-aging ingredients on the list. But, why is that? What makes retinol so special and why do all dermatologists rave about it? Keep reading to find out.
What is retinol?
Retinol is a form of vitamin A and part of the retinoid family of compounds. As an alcohol-based retinoid, retinol has been shown to minimize fine lines, decrease the appearance of pores, and deal with all kinds of skin damage and signs of aging. Retinoids are also known to help to exfoliate the top layer of the skin, effectively removing age spots, liver spots, and wisdom spots.
What can retinol do for your skin?
Retinol is a necessary staple for acne treatment and covers all the bases for anti-aging in skincare. It helps with hyperpigmentation and photoaging too. Here are a few of the most well-known benefits of retinol:
Skin sagging, fine lines and wrinkles are caused by a loss of collagen and elastic fibers which is natural as we age. Retinol is an anti-wrinkle that promotes the production of collagen to fight wrinkles and fine lines. It does this by switching on fibroblast, the cells in our skin that pump out collagen and elastin.
It basically binds to specific receptors in the nucleus, thus promoting the formation of more collagen and elastic fibers in the skin which is what makes our skin plump and firm. This leads to thicker skin, fewer wrinkles and it may also help to repair existing wrinkles.
Hyperpigmentation can be caused by things like inflammation or melasma and it’s characterized by the formation of melanin granules which cluster together to cause dark patches on the skin.
Retinol works by dispersing these clusters, ensuring an even distribution instead of clumps aka areas of pigmentation. Retinol also promotes cell turnover and differentiation which gives you an overall exfoliating effect without having to use aggressive scrubs that can actually cause more harm than good.
When the skin produces too much sebum, this can lead to blackheads, whiteheads, and general breakouts. Retinoids like retinol work to reduce sebum production. Retinol is also anti-inflammatory and can help to improve cell adhesion, making your pores less prone to clogging.
Anti skin cancer:
The overall concept of cancer is that instead of a cell differentiating the way it’s supposed to, it transforms into a clone that keeps expanding ad infinitum. Retinoids actually encourage the differentiation of cells and cause cell death to early skin cancer cells.
- Retinol can be used all year and even when going outside in the sun. Just make sure you know how to use retinol daily so you can incorporate it into your skincare routine properly.
- Retinol can be drying so it’s best to use a pea-sized amount and start slow.
- Retinol gets absorbed and stored in your skin cells when there’s too much. So, if you have too much retinol in your skin, your skin cells store it, save it for later, and then release it when your retinol levels are lower.
- Retinol is actually a hormone that goes into the skin cells, binding to receptors that switch on the transcription of genes at the level of DNA. That’s why it’s so effective. It influences every facet of how the skin functions.
There isn’t much that retinol can’t do. From improving skin texture, reducing dark spots and hyperpigmentation, to managing acne, and preventing wrinkles, leading to brighter and smoother texture.
Images from MMSCENE PORTRAITS: Carter Liechty by Mark Mendez – See the full story here