Benefits of Retinol in Your Daily Skincare Routine

In the quest for a healthy, youthful appearance, we’ve all experimented with many different combinations and compounds in our skin care routine. While some can prove to be ineffective or even harmful, there are a few key ingredients that have been scientifically shown to improve the tone and texture of skin. Retinol is one of the most researched compounds in dermatology and can be an extremely beneficial part of any skincare regimen. Woman touching skin that she treats with retinol that she gets from William Franckle, MD, FACS

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a type of Vitamin A, a necessary nutrient for all humans that’s responsible for a whole host of molecular functions in the body. Unlike many compounds found in skin care products, retinol’s small molecular structure allows it to penetrate through the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin). This allows retinol to reach the dermis (the living tissue beneath the epidermis, aka your true skin) where it can impart long-lasting benefits.

How Does it Help the Skin?

Retinol can improve the look of your skin on the surface by penetrating deep down into the skin and stimulating fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are cells in the human body that are responsible for the synthesis of collagen, the essential protein that holds tissue together. As we age, collagen production slows and enzymes begin to break down our existing collagen, causing wrinkles to appear. Retinol triggers increased collagen production and has been shown to suppress the enzymes responsible for collagen breakdown. This helps prevent wrinkles and improve skin’s elasticity. Retinol also has exfoliating properties that can unclog pores to combat acne. This exfoliating property can help to even skin tone by reducing surface discoloration. Continued use of retinol can act as a mild skin resurfacing treatment revealing newly created collagen and a tighter, toned appearance.

Where Can Retinol Be Purchased?

Retinol is readily available in many over the counter products found at drugstores or from online retailers. For some, these non-prescription creams are sufficient. For others, the low amount of active retinol allowed in over the counter products (less than 0.5%) is just not enough. For those not satisfied with over the counter retinol creams, there are prescription options available. Prescription products often contain higher concentrations of retinol. The Brightenx Retinol treatment from ZO Skin Health offers two options, 0.5% and 1.0%, allowing Dr. Franckle to customize to the patient’s skin needs. Those of us with sensitive skin or new to retinol treatments may find it best to start at 0.5%, as retinol is a very powerful ingredient and when not used correctly can cause irritation.

The key to retinol is to stick with the application, as it can take up to 3 months to see the full effects. With such a powerhouse, anti-aging ingredient, It is wise to consult with a medical professional, like Dr. Frankle, when considering a retinol skin care treatment.

Special thanks to Micha Love for the image.

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