Written by Avery Samuels, Reviewed by Dr. Justin Harper, MD
Juvly Aesthetics Retinol? What is it, and why does my skin need it?
OK, how many of you can relate: you make the trip to your beauty store in search of something new to change up your skincare routine. That one product that’s finally going to do it all. You start picking up products that sound promising, and pretty soon that helpful makeup associate is offering you a basket to hold your 15+ products. I’ll admit it. I’m a product junkie.
So the world of skincare can be a little overwhelming. It’s no wonder; literally billions are spent on beauty and skincare marketing each year, all to convince you that their new product is everything you’ve been looking for. But much of it is just that—marketing. So since nothing gets me going more than a good peer-reviewed, double-blind research study (really), let’s talk products out there offering proven skin benefits. And while I’m still in search of that one fix-it-all miracle cream, one standout product I am always adding to my patients’ skincare routines is a retinol.
SO WHAT IS RETINOL?
Retinol is a form of Vitamin A that, when applied to the skin, promotes faster cell turnover while helping the skin produce and retain collagen. What does this mean for your skin? Smaller pores, brighter skin, fewer fine lines and dark spots, and yes, fewer breakouts! The catch? Retinols can be notoriously irritating to skin. Dryness, flaking, and redness are typical for the first several weeks, which is why many patients give up on it before their skin has a chance to see the benefits. Some providers advise easing into a retinol by first applying every other night, then increasing to nightly once your skin seems to be tolerating this. Use a good moisturizer, and a sunscreen during the day, as your skin will be more sensitive. Patience really does pay with this product, so if the dryness and flaking is mild and tolerable, try to stick this one out for at least 6-8 weeks.
RETINOLS VS. RETIN-A
This boils down to quality and strength of the active ingredient, and how tolerant your skin is. Retinols are generally considered to be more gentle on skin than tretinoin (Retin-A), but may not deliver results as quickly. Both come in varying strengths, so your skincare provider can help you pick the best one for you. Now, not all retinol products are created equal, so think twice before buying into the marketing of some drug store brands. Check the ingredients in that drug store “retinol” cream next time you’re there. If the ingredients are retinyl palmitate or retinyl acetate, these are the weakest (and cheapest) forms. The low potency of these products mean they won’t be the most effective at giving your skin those results.
Retinol is not necessarily for everyone; and like many products, retinols should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consult with your dermatologist or skincare provider when considering the best products for your face. At Juvly Aesthetics, we specialize in selecting the best medical-grade skincare products and procedures for your unique skin needs. Book online for a free consultation to revamp your Fall beauty routine!