Skincare unwrapped - What is Retinol?

Posted on the 24 October 2016 at 08:27

For many, reading the label on the back of our cosmetics containers is about as informative as trying to read a novel in Russian, having never studied the language before. In other words, it’s a pretty confusing square inch of paper! As a result, I wanted to try and de-mystify lotions and potions!

In this blog, I’ll be taking a look at Retinol – a key ingredient in many anti-ageing skincare products – and finding out what it is, what it does, and how best it should be used if you want to get the best results out of your skincare products.

Scientific studies have shown that Retinoids are capable of making a positive difference to everything from smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, to reducing the appearance of dark spots and making pores appear smaller1. Indeed, one Cochrane review published in the journal Dermatologic Therapy stated that "Retinoids are capable not only of repairing photo-aged skin at both the clinical and biochemical levels but their use may prevent photo-ageing.2"

Retinol is an animal derivative of Vitamin A that actively works to increase production of fibroblasts in the dermal layer of the skin, increasing the production of collagen and elastin and improving the strength and resiliency of the skin as an effective natural barrier3.

Prescription-only treatments for acne (as well as other skin issues such as wrinkles and some of the visible symptoms of prolonged sun-exposure) contain ‘Retinoic Acid’; Retinoic Acid is the actual ‘magic ingredient’ that the body needs for optimal skin health, and is naturally produced by the body from Retinol, though Dana Sachs, an associate Professor of Dermatology at the University of Michigan Medical School, advised that ‘there is a lot of literature showing that while Retinol is more gentle than Retinoic Acid, biochemically it does exactly the same thing – it may just take longer to see results4. Unfortunately, Retinol as a chemical ingredient is subject to degradation5 if it is not stored correctly or in appropriate containers. It can also cause skin irritation, particularly if it is used incorrectly.

At my clinic, we sell a number of professional skincare products containing Retinol which have been carefully designed and developed by dermatological experts to promote cellular efficiency and regeneration, revitalise ageing and compromised skin, increase collagen production and improve skin tone and elasticity.

Make sure you ask a cosmetic medical expert about what’s best for your skin.

3 Katzev, P.K., Katzev Phillip K, 1991. Retinol skin care composition. U.S. Patent 5,002,760.
5 Liu, J.C., Wang, J.C., Yusuf, M., Yamamoto, N. and Kazama, S., Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products, Inc., 2000. Skin care composition comprising a retinoid. U.S. Patent 6,080,393.

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