A derivative of vitamin A, retinol helps promote your skin’s natural exfoliation process, in turn refining and resurfacing the skin to improve the look of fine lines, wrinkles, texture and uneven skin tone.

Important Things to Know about Retinol

  • Retinol promotes your skin's natural exfoliation process and encourages the shedding of dead skin cells, which can help refine your skin’s surface.

  • Retinol is commonly found in skincare products. It is best to use a retinol serum in the evening, as this ingredient has been found to break down when exposed to sunlight, which reduces its effectiveness. If dryness or irritation occurs when starting to use retinol, reduce your application frequency until your skin adjusts.

  • Retinol helps prevent the accumulation of dead skin cells1 and is beneficial for anyone who would like to improve the appearance of their skin’s tone and texture, including visible changes due to the natural aging process or post-acne marks. In terms of anti-aging, retinol’s exfoliating action makes it an effective ingredient for improving the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, skin texture and radiance.

    Retinol can also help improve the look of post-acne marks that remain once acne blemishes have cleared and skin has healed. In addition, it’s been shown to help minimize the visibility of pores and refine the skin’s overall tone and texture.

  • Retinol can be safely used with a variety of other skincare ingredients, although it’s important to avoid using too many exfoliating ingredients to prevent irritation. Retinol can also complement skin-refining salicylic acid.

  • Retinol and vitamin C can be beneficial ingredients for any anti-aging skincare regimen. Applying a vitamin C serum in the morning helps provide the skin with skin-brightening benefits and antioxidant protection against environmental aggressors. Applying a retinol serum in the evening can help refine the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, skin texture, pores and post-acne marks. When used together, retinol and vitamin C provide a comprehensive approach to skincare that addresses multiple complexion concerns.

  • Retinol helps improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in several ways. First, its gentle exfoliation helps smooth and refine the skin’s surface. By reducing the build-up of dead cells, retinol also helps reveal more radiant and healthier-looking skin with less noticeable fine lines and wrinkles.

  • Retinol’s exfoliating effect helps improve the appearance of post-acne marks by promoting the shedding of damaged, discolored cells.

  • It’s possible to experience mild flaking or redness when beginning to use retinol. If any side effects or irritation occur, it’s best to space out applications until your skin adjusts. This might mean applying a retinol serum every third evening, and gradually increasing application to every other night and then every night as the skin’s tolerance increases. When applying retinol, it’s also important to avoid contact with the eyes and lips.

  • Daily sunscreen use is an essential part of every skincare regimen. In addition to applying sunscreen every day, 365 days a year, it’s important to reapply it at least every two hours while spending extended periods of time in the sun. When using retinol, it’s important to be especially careful about sun protection.

  • Simply put, retinol is part of the retinoid family of skincare ingredients. While most retinoids are drugs that require a doctor’s prescription, retinol serums are not. Retinol options include formulas tailored to help improve the appearance of age-related concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles, as well as skin texture, radiance, pores and post-acne marks.

  • Retinol and vitamin A are not the same thing, but they are related. All retinoids, including retinol, are derivatives of vitamin A that are specifically formulated to have different effects on the skin.

    1. Baumann, L. (2015) Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp.306-310). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical

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