What are retinoids, and why is it in skincare products?

The Real On Retinoids:

We know they work wonders, but what are they exactly? Retinoids are a class of chemical compounds derived from Vitamin A. In skincare, retinoids are commonly added to creams because they help boost the amount of collagen your body produces. This plumps the skin and reduces the signs of aging by thinning out wrinkles. What’s not to love?

Some History:

In the late 1960’s, retinoids were initially discovered as a highly effective treatment for acne. As testing continued, Dermatologists noticed that along with treating acne, they also contained powerful anti-aging compounds resulting in smoother skin, less wrinkles and reduced blotchiness. 

Retinoids Vs. Retinol:

The short answer? Potency. Retinol can be extremely effective, and is considered a gentler version of retinoic acid which is why you see it commonly used in over the counter products. Retinoids such as Retinoic acid (tretinoin) are more potent and typically found in prescription creams. 

How does Retinol Work?

Retinol speeds up the turnover of skin cells, which can help reduce sun spots and improve skin texture. Unlike many anti-aging products, retinol penetrates deep within your skin, boosting the production of elastin and collagen. This leads to a reduction of wrinkles, fine lines, and enlarged pores, leaving skin bouncy and plump. 

When to Apply Retinol?

Retinol is most commonly recommended to be applied at night along with moisturizer. It’s important to make sure to apply sunscreen the following morning as retinol increases sensitivity to the sun. But while we’re here, applying sunscreen should be a best practice, regardless if you are using retinol. UV exposure is one of the leading causes of skin-aging and skin cancer! Ok mom speech over.

Should I use Retinoic Acid or Retinols?

If you plan on experimenting with retinol products, start small. Begin by applying a pea-sized amount of retinol to your face a couple times a week to allow your skin to become accustomed to it. As in the case in all skincare practices, it’s important to understand your own skin and choose the right product for you. Any type of retinoid can irritate your skin and lead to side effects such as redness and flaking. Discuss with a dermatologist before using any high potency or prescription based products.