From serums and ointments to creams and lotions, plenty of products contain retinol, the wonder ingredient that is associated with claims of wrinkle reduction and youthful glow giving properties.
While most skincare savvy individuals will have heard of retinol as a skincare ingredient, few will know what it is. Keep reading to get the lowdown of this popular skincare ingredient.
What is retinol?
Retinol is a compound that comes under the umbrella of retinoids. It’s a synthetic derivative of vitamin A that was first used in 1971, for the treatment for acne. However, it also has significant anti-aging effects. It’s possible to buy products containing retinol over the counter, although you can also obtain it on prescription from a healthcare provider.
Why is it used in skincare?
Retinol is a popular ingredient in skincare products because it increases the skin’s cell production, helping to unclog pores, exfoliate the skin and increase collagen production. It can also help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, giving the face a more youthful appearance.
Retinol products are particularly useful when looking to treat acne. Acne is a common skin condition, especially for those going through puberty. It occurs then the pores become blocked, leading to the development of blackheads and pimples.
Retinol helps to combat acne as it works to unclog the pores. If using retinol for acne treatment, you may find that the skin looks worse during the first few months of treatment. This period of worse skin is something known as the retinol purge. While off-putting, you will benefit from clearer skin if you stick with it.
As well as helping to treat acne, retinol can also be used to help reduce the appearance of acne scars. There’s evidence to suggest that retinols reduce inflammation, which means topical retinol treatment can help reduce the swelling associated with acne scars and breakouts.
Those looking to improve their anti-aging skincare routine would also benefit from the inclusion of retinol containing products. As we age, our skin begins to thin, and it becomes more difficult for it to retain moisture. It also has less elastin and collagen, which means fine lines and wrinkles begin to appear. Retinol helps to combat these signs of aging, by slowing down the breakdown of collagen. As a result, the skin is more elastic.
While there are many benefits associated with the use of retinol, those with sensitive skin should avoid it. Additionally, retinol makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight. Therefore, if you’re using retinol, you’ll need to use sunscreen to protect your skin from excessive UV damage.