What Is Retinol?

July 25, 2023 | Product Spotlight

What Is Retinol?

In the most basic terms, retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that unclogs pores, boost collagen to reduce fine lines, protects skin from free radicals and speeds up cell turnover to even out discoloration and smooth the skin—sometimes in as little as four weeks.

In technical terms, it belongs to a family called retinoids, and is one of the only substances that is small enough to penetrate the outer layers of your skin and work its way down to the lower layers where collagen and elastin reside. Retinoids have very crucial functions during cell development. While in the skin, it works to reset cell turnover and reduces the ‘stickiness’ of the cells in the pores. This makes it harder for pores to get clogged. It also reduces sebum activity, which can result in less acne. Retinol is also suited to those with sensitive skin, even though it’s an exfoliant. Retinol is the least irritating of the retinoids.

Why We Need It?

If you’re looking to minimize fine lines and wrinkles, improve your skin’s texture, and protect against dryness and redness retinol is for you! Because of its potent nature, retinol is often found in serums and anti-aging creams. While you can absorb vitamin A through foods such as carrots, kale, and sweet potato, applying retinol straight onto your skin instantly speeds up the process. Ask us about retinol available in our office from SkinCeuticals, 0.5% and 1%, and Neocutis, 0.6% with Melaplex.

Why Different Strengths?

Some people can tolerate a stronger percentage of retinol if they have used it for a period of time. If you’re newbie to retinol, we usually recommend starting at a lower percentage so your skin can adapt and avoid irritation.