Skincare Unwrapped - What Is Retinol?

Clare McLoughlin
By Clare McLoughlin

Clare McLoughlin is an Independent Nurse Prescriber and advanced procedure aesthetic nurse and trainer with more than 16 years’ experience.

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

what effective is a retinol treatment

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.

What is a retinol treatment?

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 results".4

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.

If you want to read more, the experts at Consulting Room really know what they're talking about and have put together some lines and wrinkles, pigmentation (age spots), acne and specialist skin creme FAQs just for you. 

If you have more questions, you can use the lines and wrinkles, pigmentation (age spots), acne and specialist skin creme questions feature to talk to our panel of trained medical experts. 

If you're keen to get started with any of these treatments right away then you're in luck - those clever folks also have a list of trusted, accredited lines and wrinkles, pigmentation (age spots), acne and specialist skin creme clinics in your area.

Many thanks to the author of this blog Clare McLoughlin who founded Appearance Based Medicine in 2004, driven by a desire to provide advanced facial rejuvenation solutions and aesthetic treatments to patients in Marlow, Buckinghamshire and the surrounding areas. 

People choose Appearance Based Medicine because of the top-quality and personable service that they receive, and always leave the clinic with a welcome boost to both their inner confidence and outer radiance. 

Call Clare McLoughlin now on 01628 303 020 or visit

Thanks to the author

More great blogs our experts wrote for you...

Do You Suffer From Skin Laxity or Acne Scarring?


Do You Suffer From Skin Laxity or Acne Scarring?

Do you suffer from skin laxity or acne scarring? We may just have the perfect solution for you!

My Mum, Your Dad: Middle-Aged Tweakment Trends and Tips


My Mum, Your Dad: Middle-Aged Tweakment Trends and Tips

We love ITV's my mum, your dad and we notice how great all the contestants look which got us thinking about how to best look after our skin as we age.

Unveiling the Truth: Is Sunshine Good for Your Skin?


Unveiling the Truth: Is Sunshine Good for Your Skin?

How can we protect our skin from the sun if we have a problem skin? Let's talk about sunshine with Dr Sam Robson, GP and skin specialist.

Hey, wait!

Before you go.....

Let's stay in touch, pop your details here and we'll send our editor's hand-picked updates on your fave subjects.