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Retinol: The MVP of Skincare

a woman using retinol serum on her face


Retinol, a fat-soluble vitamin another name for Vitamin A is used as a dietary supplement is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is used to treat vitamin A deficiency which ultimately leads to xerophthalmia. In regions of the world where vitamin A deficiency is common, a large dose of vitamin A is suggested twice a year. A complication that is caused in measles patients can be reduced by providing vitamin A dose.

This vitamin A dose can be taken by injection directly into muscle or by mouth.

When taken at normal doses, retinol is well absorbed by the body because when taken in high doses it can cause dry skin, liver enlargement. During pregnancy, these high doses of Vitamin A proved very harmful for the fetus.

The dietary sources of retinol include dairy products, fish, and meat.

Retinol Medical Uses

Retinol creams are basically used to treat vitamin A deficiency.

There are usually 3 approaches that can be used to raise the level of vitamin A in the population.

  1. One can be done through dietary modification involving menu adjustment.
  2. Another method is the fortification of affordable and commonly eaten articles with vitamin A. It includes vitamin A in synthetic form to staple foods like bread, flour, margarine, and cereals.
  3. Providing high doses of vitamin A to the deficient population is known as supplementation. It effectively decreases the deficiency level among the population.

How Does Retinol Work?

A type of retinoid called retinol is made from vitamin A. Instead of removing the dead skin cells to get a newly nourished skin the small molecules that make up the retinol penetrate deep into the skin that is the epidermis, the outer layer of yours. It then in the middle layers of skin neutralizes the free radicals. This neutralization of free radicals helps in stimulating collagen and elastin production. Such stimulation can drastically reduce the visibility of 

  • Wrinkles
  • Fine lines
  • And enlarged skin pores

Retinol creams effectively help in treating acne scarring. A severe type of acne needs a professional prescription that uses retinoids in parallel to other medications that target severe bacterial infection and inflammation.

Retinol Improves Acne

According to research papers published in the Journal of Clinical Dermatology and Therapy, clinical data collected from many people shows that retinol is highly effective and result-oriented in treating both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne.

It was meant to reduce the number of pimples on the skin and also put a stop to the development of acne blemishes and new pimple production.

One of the best ways that retinol can improve the appearance of acne is by improving cell production, says Lindsey Bordone, MD Dermatologist at Columbia University

Retinol Brightens Your Dull Skin 

Retinol helps in brightening your dull skin. As dull skin can be caused by several factors like stress, pregnancy, poor lifestyle like drinking alcohol in excess, smoking, and other environmental factors too.

Retinol manages the production of melanin pigmentation by calming down the skin cells of your body. These skin cells may give birth to certain skin conditions like melasma which alter your skin colouration. Retinol helps in making your skin look brighter and healthier.

A study in 2016 which was published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology studied the changes that are caused in people suffering from hyperpigmentation in the mild to moderate range by a product containing 0.5% retinol. After 4 weeks people started showing improvement in their hyperpigmentation. Ao product containing retinol 0.5% works well in brightening the skin when it is complemented with other required skincare routines like the one that contains sunscreen.

Finally, retinol is also known for its great skin exfoliating effect that helps in improving skin tone and texture.

What Retinol Helps In Treating?

Retinol helps in treating following skin conditions like 

  • Wrinkles
  • Fine lines
  • Sun damage like sunspots
  • Melasma and other various types of hyperpigmentation
  • Dry skin texture

Furthermore, to achieve the best and most effective result from your skincare product containing retinol, please try to use that on an everyday basis. Be Patience as It may take several weeks to months until there is a sign of significant improvements.

What’s the Difference Between Retinoids Vs Retinols

Both retinoids and retinol are part of the vitamin A hierarchy, but their intensities differ a lot. Retinols are actually a weaker form of retinoids, which is why they are on the counter list of medications. While on the other hand retinoids are available at higher concentrations.

Retinols are weaker yet they are still effective in showing the result by their prolonged use of approximately 12 weeks. But due to their lower potency, they can be supplemented with other skincare products like moisturizers.

Side effects Of Retinols

Retinol is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, yet it is not free from side effects.

It is seen that people using retinol often encounter irritated and dry skin. Other symptoms of retinol can be seen as :

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Scaly and peeling skin

To lessen these symptoms, take your retinol product every third night so that your body can easily cope with the absorption of retinol.

If in case of elevated symptoms you continue to experience you should consider some professional advice from the dermatologist and follow their prescription wisely.

More severe symptoms which became visible me less than 10% of the people of using retinol can be 

  • Eczema flare-up
  • Acne flare-up
  • Severe dryness 
  • Discolouration of your skin
  • Swelling

Take Away

  • Always apply retinol after 30 minutes of washing your face as it can prevent skin irritation.
  • The risk of severe side effects becomes greater if you are applying more than one retinol-containing at the same time.
  • Read the product labels very carefully especially when you are using a product for more than one skin concern like for acne and anti-aging which most probably contains retinol.
  • If your skin is sensitive to sun exposure, do apply retinol products at night.