Tag Archives: Retinol

Six Reasons To Use A Serum

woman examining herself in the mirror

CTM. Cleanser. Toner. Moisturizer. It’s all you need. The three basic steps. Everything else is just unnecessary, right? We’re all into compacting our skin routines, finding products that multitask and cutting out the extraneous, and these can be valuable time-savers. However, the serum may be a rare exception. It’s one of those products that is worth investing a few extra minutes a day for. In fact, if you’re already using a serum, you might even say it’s worth sacrificing a few minutes of sleep for. What is it about this wonder product that makes it such a great investment? Read on to find out.

They’re Powerful
According to Zoe Weisman, director of product development at Advanced Clinicals, it has a lot to do with content. “Serums tend to be more concentrated when it comes to the active ingredient.” That means that whatever the star ingredient in your serum, be it retinol, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid or another noted skin enhancer, a serum is likely to have a more potent dose that your average moisturizer with the same active ingredient. Weisman also advises looking for a product in an opaque bottle with an airtight lid to prevent oxidation. Smiling woman in white at mirror

There’s One For Everyone
If your skin tends to be on the dry side, Weisman suggests investing in a serum with hyaluronic acid to draw moisture to the skin, which will help to plump up lines and fill in depressions. If dark spots are your concern, vitamin C will prevent damage and hyper pigmentation, while vitamin A (retinol) will increase cell turnover and decrease wrinkles.

Layering
Another of benefit of serum is their light weight and easy absorption, which lend themselves to layering. That means you can combine serums to address different problems, or add one under your moisturizer, SPF, or foundation without creating a pile up.

Eye Serums are the New Eye Cream
If you’re looking to compartmentalize your beauty routine, while still incorporating a serum, you may want to give your sticky eye cream its walking papers. “The ideal,” says Weisman, “is a milky serum. You get the light texture and high potency of serum plus the milky aspect that makes it moisturizing.”

Happy woman applying eye serum at mirror

Benefits Go Below the Neck
If you love your serum, why stop at the jawline? There are serums designed for the neck and décolletage. “If you think about it, ” says Weisman, “this is a bad time for necks since we’re always hunched over our phones.” In fact, if you’re really serum happy there are full body serums to soften stretch marks, and smoothen cellulite, and hand serums to moisturize and treat age spots.

Penetration
Penetration. We’re always wondering whether it happens or not. With serums, the answer is a resounding, “Yes.” Serums’ lightweight formulas absorb better and penetrate more deeply into your skin than moisturizer, so you get better results with no residue.

Why do you love your serum? Let us know what your serum does for you!

5 Common Skin Care Ingredients That Can Cause Allergies

Woman checking face at mirror

Were you the kid in school who could never eat the cookies during snack time because you had a nut allergy? Life is rough for the allergy sensitive. Whenever there is something great that everyone seems to love, it makes you break out in hives or start sneezing uncontrollably. Like skin care products. Just when you find a skincare product that is really working for you, it turns on you, causing you to break out itching and scratching. While little can be done to stop your allergies, there are ways to save some heartache, by avoiding certain products, to begin with. Here are some ingredients to look out for when you’re buying products.

Salicylic Acid
Dendy Engelmen, MD, explains that salicylic acid is, “the same active ingredient in aspirin and three to five percent of the population is sensitive to aspirin too.” If your product contains salicylic acid, you’re probably using it to fight blemishes, but you should know that it’s likely to cause inflammation and hives as well. The allergy sensitive is better off using benzoyl peroxide.

Aluminum
Aluminum is usually found lurking in your antiperspirant or deodorant because it reduces sweating. However, because it is a salt, it can also cause itching, swelling, and redness. Engleman recommends using magnesium oil, which prevents sweating using ninasium chloride, or aluminum-free antiperspirants and deodorants.

Glycolic Acid
It seems that the things about glycolic acid that make it so good for your skin are the same things that make it so bad for your skin. David Bank, MD, explains, “This acid is so small that it’s very good at penetrating into the skin. On the efficacy side, it’s great. But that rapid entry can make it more irritating.” If you’re experiencing redness or drying from glycolic acid, you may want to replace it with lactic acid, which is, “physically larger so it releases more gradually over time.”

Sulfate
Bank clarifies that “When people use the word sulfates, they’re particularly referring to sodium lauryl sulfate. These detergents are found in cleansers and shampoos and can cause redness and dryness on sensitive eczema-prone skin.” For a milder treatment, look for products which are sulfate free or shampoos containing sodium laureth sulfate instead.

Retinol
It may be great for fighting aging, but it’s also pretty good at drying out skin. Bank says, “Retinol still remains the gold standard for anti-aging, reversing sun damage and stimulating collagen, The major drawback is that it can be on the drying and irritating side.” He does add, however, that the unpleasant side effects tend to be more uncomfortable than toxic.

Allergic? Let us know what skin care ingredients you think we should avoid. We love to hear it.

Everyday Ingredients To Keep Your Skin Fresh Between Facials

Is there any way to keep your skin looking “fresh from a facial” great every day? Here are some ingredients that will help you do just that.

beautiful woman

Antioxidants
Antioxidants are nutrients found in most plants and are best known for their ability to fight “free radicals.” Free radicals harm DNA, and lead to wrinkles, dry, dull skin, and dark circles around the eyes. To keep skin looking fresh, it is important to not only eat foods rich in these chemicals, but also to use them on your skin.

Alpha Lipoic Acid
This is an antioxidant produced by the body and present in every cell you have. It attacks free radicals and it known for its ability to erase wrinkles and fine lines, shrink pores, and give a healthy glow to the skin.

Green Tea Extract
Tea is rich in free radical-fighting nutrients called polyphenols. Early studies have proven the ingredients in tea able to reduce sun damage and protect from skin cancer when applied topically. Green tea extract can be used under sunscreen to double the protection and, polyphenols, when used in lotions and creams, can reduce skin sagginess and wrinkles.

Retinol
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that boosts collagen production and plumps skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It improves skin tone and reduces dark patches. The stronger counterpoint of retinol is tretinoin, which can improve skin appearance by clearing up acne, slowing aging of skin, and improving unwanted pigmentation.

Portrait of a woman

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a key ingredient in boosting production of collagen and elastin, which depletes with age. Its antioxidants minimize fine lines, scars, and wrinkles.

Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10)
Naturally occurring in your body, CoQ 10 works to destroy free radical in your cells. However, as you age, the amount your body makes decreases, making skin more vulnerable to free radical damage. Creams, gels, and toners containing the antioxidant can be used to supplement the decrease, with one study showing that it can even help to reduce the appearance of “crow’s feet” around the eyes.

Caffeine
Although the jury is still out on whether caffeine is effective when applied to skin, skin care companies have added it to lotions and creams. This is based on the evidence that caffeine may be useful in preventing skin cancer and the deepening of wrinkles, especially “crow’s feet.”

How do you keep that “fresh from the salon glow” every day? You’re looking particularly radiant.

Skin Care Ingredients Pregnant Women Should Avoid

So you’re pregnant. Your husband and your friends keep telling you you’ve never looked better in your life, but you sure don’t feel it today. Your ankles are swollen, you have a headache, and all you see when you look down is your stomach. You know exactly what you need! A little pampering. Nothing like a nice spa session to make you feel like the goddess you are. But wait! Before you apply that mask, there are a few things you should know about the ingredients in the products you may be about to apply.

Pregnant woman in front of the mirror

Retin-A, Retinol, Retinyl Palmate
The FDA categorizes ingredients according to letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, and X. Usually, only A and B categorized products are considered safe for pregnancy. Retin-A, retinol. and retinyl palmate all lie in the C category which means it can present a risk to the fetus. Although vitamin A is an important vitamin for fetal development, Albert Sassoon, MD, an ob-gyn says, “getting too much can cause serious birth defects and liver toxicity.” While Retin-A is usually associated with prescription skin care, women should be aware that vitamin A derivatives are also present in many over the counter formulas as well.

Benzoyl Peroxide
Even though pregnancy may call for the occasional zit zapping, benzoyl peroxide also falls into category C, indicating possible fetal risk.

Woman applying oil to pregnant belly

Essential Oils
Essential oils are not subject to assessment by the FDA and are usually marketed as safe for use in beauty products. However, according to Dr. Sassoon, “Often they have 50 times the concentration used in a cup of tea and can be harmful even in a non-pregnancy state.” The most commonly used oils warranting cause for alarm are rosemary and tea tree oil.

According to Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD, and dermatologist, “Tea tree oil is very potent and toxic when ingested. Its adverse effects include dermatitis, drug reactions, a blistering disease called linear IgA and estrogenic effects.” which may be to blame for premature contractions. Rosemary oil, meanwhile, is known to, “raise blood pressure and cause uterine contractions at high doses,” adds the doctor.

Woman buying product

Salicylic Acid
This category C acne fighter may be hard to avoid. But, as Dandy Engelman, MD, and dermatologist says,”When you’re pregnant, you have to seek out the purer products–the ones that feature just one of the acids that are approved. Lactic, mandelic, and glycol acids are all considered safe for pregnant women looking for some exfoliating action.

Hydroquinone
Although this may be tempting to use when pregnancy causes melanoma or dark spots, it falls into the C category.

Tazorac and Accutane
Both these vitamin A-derived product are prescription only and fall into category X: known to cause defects in birth.

What safe products do you use to soothe skin while you’re pregnant? Let us know what the modern pregnant lady is using to keep herself and her baby safe.

Would You Try These Innovative Skincare Ingredients

Americans have been accused of being vulnerable to the lure of the exotic. Of falsely attributing other cultures with possessing some ancient wisdom or magic that we, as Americans, are simply unable to harness. Like the belief in the the superiority of Asian skincare. Skeptics will argue that this is just another example of Americans being overly impressed by the foreign. However, if you consider that the Japanese published a “Capital Beauty and Style Manual” in 1813 that included directions for making an early sheet mask with kimono silk and flower water, it may seem that there is reason to think the Asians may know a thing or two about the subject.

If you are among those who are not entirely convinced that the Asian skincare routine is without merit, here are some of the more (and less) unusual ingredients topping the list of Asian beauty products you may want to get more familiar with.

Bee venom

Bee Venom
Bee venom is known to help skin produce collagen and elastin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Bees are reportedly not harmed in the process of extraction.

Vitamin A (Retinol)
One of the more common additions to our list, Vitamin A is an antioxidant that fights damage from free radicals and increases production of collagen to help protect against wrinkles, aging, and sun damage.

Vitamin B
(Niacinamide) B vitamins such as niacinamide, or B3, are known to possess skin brightening properties. They can be used to decrease redness from acne and even out skin tone.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C, including L-ascorbic acid, can improve skin tone as well as protect skin from UV rays. Store in an opaque container to prevent degradation due to light and heat.

Aloe Vera
This ancient plant has been used for centuries to soothe and hydrate. Apply it to sunburns for quick relief or as a soothing balm after shaving.

Pear on wheat

Arbutin
This hydroquinone derivative is found in wheat and pears. It is a safe and natural way of limiting the production of melanin and brightening skin.

Ferment
Use fermented products like yeast, rice or pitera to boost skin elasticity and prevent aging.

Green Tea
Another recommendation from the “Capital Beauty and Style Manual,” green tea has antioxidant properties which can decrease inflammation an fight the effects of carcinogens and age.

Honey and Royal Jelly
It’s back to the bee hive for some anti-inflammatory and and antiseptic properties to prevent acne and dryness.

Milk
Whether from cow’s or donkeys, milk is a great moisturizer and brightener.

Rice

Rice
Another,”I told you so” from the ancient Manual, rice as been used for centuries in Asian culture as a toner or scrub to even skin tone.

Snail
Asians swear by snail secretion filtrate as a moisturizing ingredient. It is associated with reducing redness acne and repairing skin damage.

Syn-ake
This is a synthetic snake venom said to be similar to botox in its ability to fight aging. It is known to firm skin and improve elasticity.

Yogurt
The lactic acid in yogurt can exfoliate the skin, while the zinc can reduce the production of oil and sebum, known to block pores.

Let us know if which of these ingredients you have tried, or would consider trying. We’d love to know!

Vitamin A Derivatives That Improve Skin Texture, Tone, and Color

As is the case with many of the best discoveries, the use of vitamin A as a wrinkle control agent happened largely by accident. It all began in the laboratories of Dr. Albert Kligman in the 1960’s when the controversial dermatologist began to experiment on prisoners with a vitamin A derivative called tretinoin as an acne treatment. Imagine the delight of the incarcerated men to discover not only the disappearance of their acne, but a noticeable decrease in wrinkles and smoother skin tones!

Woman applying vitamin A on her skin

Vitamin A and its derivatives have often been referred to as the “gold standard of skin care,” a paragon of excellence against which all other skin care products can be measured. If you are thinking of incorporating some vitamin A into your routine, here are some things you may want to know.

Retinoids
Retinoids are also known as the generic term for tretinoin, retin-A, or differin, and are available only by prescription. They are absorbed directly into the skin cells which makes them highly effective against hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and acne.

The downside of this miracle cream is its likelihood to cause skin irritation. Retinoids are often associated with redness and peeling and require adjustment to the dosage to combat these side effects. The key with these products is keeping the applied amount to a minimum. A pea-sized amount should be enough for the whole face, and a larger quantity is unnecessary.

Retinol
Retinol is vitamin A in its pure form and is an over the counter alternative to harsher retinoids. While the conversion to retinoic acid will decrease the potency of the retinol, it should still be effective enough to bring noticeable results. Although retinol may trigger minor irritation, side effects should generally subside over time as the skin grows more accustomed to the treatment.

Retinyl Palmitate
This combination of retinol and palmitic acid is one of the less effective vitamin A derivatives. While it does convert to retinoic acid, the process often takes so long that by the time it is completed, the product has lost most of its ability to affect the DNA of the cell. As a result, you would need a very high concentration of retinal palmitate to have significant effect, and most cosmetic companies who use it as a source of vitamin A usually do not put enough of it in their serums and creams to make a difference.
The bottom line: If retinyl palmitate is not combined with other vitamin A derivatives, it is almost useless.

Retinaldehyde
Retinaldehyde is a potent over the counter form of vitamin A which is commonly perceived to be the closest to retinoic acid without the irritating side effects. However, it is important to take note of content in your product. In order to be effective, a retinaldehyde concentration of 0.05% to 0.1% needs to be present. This is the equivalent of a 0.025 tretinoin. The biggest side effect of retinaldehyde will be the lightening of your purse. Most skin care products containing substantial amounts of the ingredient will be on the high-end side in price, so be prepared to pay for quality.

Other Advice
Be aware that vitamin A is not stable and tends to lose potency when it interacts with sunlight. Creams and serums are therefore best applied at night. Do not use a cleanser with retinoids, as the retinoids depend on contact with skin to achieve full benefit and should not be washed away. When purchasing retinoids, look for packaging that minimizes exposure to air and light which can affect the stability of the vitamin.

Let us know your choice when it comes to choosing Vitamin A derivatives. Which ones work best for you?

Battling Adult Acne

  Women examining acne on her face.

Most of us talk about how we would like to turn back the clock.  Sure, we would all like to look a bit  younger, but there are definitely some things about youth that we are happy to see the back of that denim jacket with the heavy metal patches on it that you wore until it rotted, the self-administered buzz cut, the experiments with green hair dye, and acne.  Yes, if there is anything to be glad about when it comes to aging, it would have to be the end of acne.  But, what if you find yourself having graduated to  adulthood when……THEY’RE BACK! Just when you thought you zapped, squeezed and hid your last pimple, white or black head, they’re back and badder than ever.

Why?

Hormones
Teens are not the only ones whose hormones are aflutter.  According to dermatologist Julia Tzu, MD of Wall Street Dermatology says,”Fluctuation in hormones, such as before one’s menstrual cycle, is the main cause.” Hormonal acne is identifiable by a painful outbreak around the chin neck and back and may occur before your menstrual cycle. High-stress levels can also contribute to hormonal imbalance.  When the stress hormone, cortisol, is released by the body, it is often accompanied by testosterone, a male hormone which leads to the production of more oil, ultimately resulting in more outbreaks.

Using the Wrong Products
If you are prone to breakouts, you should be using products that will not clog your pores. DR. Neal Schultz, of Beauty RX Skincare, suggest looking  for  the words “oil-free”, “non-comedogenic” or “water -based” on the label.

Overcleansing
 Dr.  Rebecca Kazin, MD of the John Hopkins Department of Dermatology says cleansing more than twice a day is too much and can just dry out skin “which can cause it to produce more oil to overcompensate.  Grainy and gritty cleansers  that rub your skin can similarly promote acne.    Try switching to a gentle detoxifying gel cleanser and two is the magic number.

Food
Many of us have heard that there is a direct relationship between chocolate, greasy food and acne, but. before you put down that Hershey’s bar, there is no statistic proof of any of this.  However, you would be well advised to avoid iodine, found in shellfish and greens like kelp and spinach.  Sugary food can also be a culprit.  By raising your insulin level, sugary foods can boost oil- triggering hormones, like testosterone.

Treatment Ingredients

Salicylic Acid
Also known as beta hydroxy acid, salicylic acid exfoliates gently to unclog pores.  It is go-to in anti-acne products and can be found in most OTC cleansers and spot treatments and is mild enough to use on your whole face.

Benzoyl Peroxide
This stuff kills acne bacteria whole exfoliating the pores but stick to spot treatment for this one.  It has been known to make skin irritated and should not be used all over the face.

Glycolic Acid
If you are facing the acne meets wrinkles stages, this may be just the thing. It removes dead skin cells on the surface and stimulates the collagen and  hyaluronic acid, improving skin’s texture on the whole.

Retinol
Another godsend for the acne meets wrinkles crowd.  It is one of the most effective treatments for acne and also has collagen building properties, but , be aware, can be too harsh for those with sensitive skin so try testing it on  a small spot on your skin before you commit to it.

Exfoliate
Probably the best thing you can do to fight acne is exfoliated and the best way to so it is with glycol acid.  A glycol cleanser is helpful, but exfoliating pads and serums that really soak your skin are more effective.

Keep Spot Treatment on Hand
As soon as you feel that zit waiting to burst our, zap it with some benzoyl peroxide to start killing bacteria immediately.  Try to look for a gentle formula with soothing ingredients  for adult skin.

In closing, while these treatments are all effective, keep in mind that hormones are some pretty powerful players.  If topical treatment isn’t enough, talk to your doctor.  He may have the best advice on the best course of action.

Key Anti-Aging Ingredients

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just click a button and magically stop our aging in its tracks? Well, of course, that would be amazing but unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury. We DO however have the ability to consume a number of ingredients that will help us slow down the aging process and look our best over time!

Woman applying sunscreen

First and Foremost. Sunscreen.
Sunscreen is easily overlooked and passed by day after day. Many of us think that sunscreen is only necessary when we are going to be in the sun for extended periods of times. But, we are so, SO wrong. Sunscreen should be part of your daily “getting ready” routine. Yes, that means before your makeup and before you leave your house for a “normal” day that may not even include any outside time. The sun’s harmful rays have a way of getting to our skin even in very short amounts of time. Using sunscreen daily helps prevent and slow the development of wrinkled, aged skin. As a result, your skin appears smoother and has a healthy glow rather than the leathery look the sun can cause.

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids are the Next Best Option to Save Your Skin!
How would an acid prevent aging?!? Well, not all acids are bad for the human body. Alpha-hydroxy acids or AHAs have been around for quite some time but recently there has been more attention brought to them for their lasting effects on keeping your skin young! AHAs are found in nature, specifically in fruit and milk. These acids work to break apart the intercellular glue that holds old skin cells on the epidermis. Without this happening, your skin looks finer and brighter. That’s not it! Alpha-hydroxy acids also work to increase the production of collagen and elastic, both necessary for healthy looking skin. This leaves your skin feeling oh-so-soft because it allows your skin to retain more moisture. Be sure to apply your sunscreen before going into the sun if you are planning on introducing AHAs to your beauty regime. AHAs can cause your skin to be more sensitive to the sun but are TOTALLY worth the anti-aging benefits.

Retinol formula

Retinol AKA Vitamin A
Retinol is one of the most effective ingredients that has a way of telling cells how to act like an un-aged, healthier, younger skin cell. In other words, retinol is able to stop free-radical harm within skin cells that ultimately results in aged, wrinkly skin. Just as Alpha-Hydroxy Acids, it also has the ability to increase collagen production for smoother skin. But wait, that’s not all! This vitamin will literally decrease the appearance of discolorations on your skin from previous sun damage. Remember when you are shopping for Retinol products to stick to products that are in an opaque, closed container as sun exposure can break down the vitamins. In addition, start with a small mix of retinol and your normal moisturizer. Retinol creams can be known to aggravate skin so it is best to gradually introduce it into your daily routine.

The Spot Remover: Hydroquinone
For those who are looking for a way to look younger by banishing those darn dark sunspots from years of sun damage, you might want to try hydroquinone. Skin bleaching is a controversial topic so this product should be used with caution. A small amount will go a long way. This product will virtually fade hyperpigmentation by stopping the enzymes that increase melanin production.

Best Ingredients for More Youthful Skin

The ingredients you put onto your skin have a significant and direct impact on your appearance. If you’ve been looking in the mirror and seeing skin that appears dull, rough, dry or lackluster, it’s time to add some serious anti-aging ingredients into your skin care routine. However, there are so many products with even more ingredients and it can be a little daunting to know what ingredients really are the best when it comes to achieving more youthful looking skin. Read below to find out the top five best ingredients for more youthful skin and why they are the best.

Woman holding a vitamin capsule

Retinol
Retinol is the purest form of vitamin A and it is one of the most beneficial ingredients to keep your skin looking young. Retinol is a cell-communicating ingredient that essentially tells your skin cells to look and act younger. It stimulates collagen production, activates cellular metabolism for more rapid cell turnover, fades the appearance of sun or age spots and reduces fine lines. By communicating with your cells to perform all of these tasks, retinol gives your face a firmer, younger and more even appearance.

Green tea

Antioxidants
Free radical damage is one of the most significant causes of aging and unfortunately, there are types of free radical exposure that you can’t avoid such as the sun, oxygen or pollution. What you can do is to look for skin care products that contain an array of antioxidants to fight free radical damage. Look for ingredients like vitamin C, green tea extract and vitamin E. Vitamin C is a favorite among dermatologists because this antioxidant boosts your skin’s natural defenses against sun damage and also encourages collagen production.

Hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic Acid
Hydrated skin is an important part of a youthful appearance, and hyaluronic acid is one of the greatest skin care ingredients for adding moisture to your skin. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means that it is able to draw moisture from the air and hold that moisture into your skin, and hyaluronic acid is so powerful that it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Hyaluronic acid makes your fine lines and wrinkles become significantly less noticeable because as it holds water, it plumps the appearance of your skin.

Grapes in a vineyard

Resveratrol
Resveratrol is found in the skins of grapes, blueberries, cranberries and Goji berries and also in wine and some nuts. High-quality skin care products also harness the power of resveratrol to fight signs of aging. Resveratrol features a number of potent antioxidant properties and helps keep your skin looking young. It also helps protect against further environmental damage by fighting off free radicals.

Milk

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Exfoliation is a crucial step in maintaining youthful-looking skin and alpha-hydroxy acids are incredible for this purpose. Alpha-hydroxy acids are generally derived from fruit or milk sugars. Some common alpha-hydroxy acids are lactic acid and glycolic acid. These acids exfoliate your skin by gently dissolving the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. This allows for the dead skin cells to be sloughed away from the skin to reveal smoother, more even skin and can also help reduce the appearance of pores.

Not all skin care ingredients are created equal. Some, like the five above, are seriously powerful anti-aging ingredients that provide your skin with a more luminous and youthful appearance. When selecting skin care products, always check the ingredient list to see how high on the list these anti-aging superstars are. The closer to the beginning of the list, the higher the concentration of each ingredient in the product. Choosing well-formulate, quality skin care products that contain these five best ingredients for more youthful skin will keep your face looking young and radiant.

Why Retinol is so Important for Anti-Aging

Retinol, while not a new skincare ingredient, is everywhere and pops up in products from potent antioxidant serums to foundations. The reason that retinol is everywhere? Because it works. Retinol is an incredibly effective skincare ingredient that fights the signs of aging and encourages skin to act in a younger, healthier way. Find out just what retinol is and why it is so important for anti-aging below.

Vitamin A chemical formula

What is Retinol?
Retinol is just another name for vitamin A and it can be broken down into more potent compounds that are referred to as retinoids. “Retinol is an extremely effective cell-communicating ingredient, which means it can literally connect to almost any skin cell and tell it to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell,” explains skincare expert Paula Begoun. Retinol is somewhat of an umbrella term and the vitamin A molecule is broken down into many derivatives of vitamin A that are known as retinoids. In a paper published on PubMed Central, a service of the US National Library of Medicine, the authors state that “retinoids are very well known to influence a variety of cellular processes, such as cellular growth and differentiation, cell surface alterations and immune modulation.” It is the influence that retinol and retinol derivatives have at the cellular level that are responsible for the immense anti-aging benefits of these ingredients.

How Does Retinol Counteract Aging?
“Retinol is an antioxidant, and thus can help interrupt the free-radical damage process that cause skin to look and act older. This action helps prevent wrinkling and increases collagen production,” says Begoun. In order to actually influence cell behavior, retinol has to undergo a process of breakdown and conversion. “Before retinol can successfully go to work in skin, it must be converted into it’s active form – all-trans retinoic acid. Once retinol has been applied to skin, enzymes in the skin break it down into all-trans retinoic acid, which then goes on to help regulate cell function,” notes Begoun.

As you age, the effects of sun damage become more visible and apparent in the forms of discoloration or sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles and larger pores. Retinol, when converted to retinoic acid, is able to influence cells that fight against these signs of aging. Although retinol can’t reduce large pores caused by genetics, it is able to decrease pore size that occurs as a result of sun damage. In addition, retinol promotes an increase in substances that enhance and improve the skin’s structural elements, meaning your skin is strengthened, and retinol is also helpful at stimulating collagen production which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Retinol is available in a variety of forms and can be found in cosmetic products that are readily available. There are also prescription strength retinol products that are used both for acne and aging. Before beginning a retinol regime, it’s important to know that retinol can cause sensitivity and irritation and it often takes some time before your skin gets used to this ingredient. Consulting with a dermatologist or doctor is a great way to know what concentration of retinol would be most beneficial. While there is no single ingredient that magically solves aging concerns, when retinol is used with other quality ingredients and products, it is an incredibly effective ingredient that helps skin look and act younger.