Retinol. The secret ingredient that every dermatologist loves. For those who haven’t heard of it (where have you been!), retinol is part of the vitamin A family called retinoids and very much touted the superhero ingredient for many skin problems.
FROM RETINOIC ACID TO RETINOL TODAY
Discovered in milk in the early 1900s, the first study to use retinoic acid to treat acne was first published in 1943. In the 1970s, Retin-A (Tretinoin, Retinoic acid) became the first prescription cream for treatment of acne, and is still being used today. What was surprising was apart from being an extremely effective treatment for acne, older patients who were given Retin-A noticed their wrinkles became less, skins became smoother and even their pigmentation appeared lighter!
But wait, retinoic acid was getting a nasty reputation for irritating skin and making some a hideous red, and this led the cosmetic industry to produce a milder form of retinoid, known as retinol. Retinol is converted to retinoic acid in the skin and many believe that biochemically, retinoids and retinol do exactly the same, just that it takes longer to see results with retinol because these are weaker, but you get less side effects.
So now that you understand that retinol is probably good for your skin, here are the reasons why it will improve it.
1. IT IS A CELL COMMUNICATOR
Don’t forget that Retinol is also known as Vitamin A, and this is in fact a cell communicator that helps damaged skin cells return to their normal function. Damage? I might have heard some skepticism! Well, our skin is continuously exposed to harmful (and aging) UV rays of the sun. These contain free radicals, kinda like sneaky stuff in the environment which attack healthy skin cells in order to try and stabilize themselves. Retinol interrupts this process and helps the damaged cells behave normally again. This results in better retention of collagen and elastin in your skin, which prevents wrinkles from forming.
2. IT IS A GLOW-GETTER
Retinol speeds up cellular turnover by helping slough off the dead stuff that do nothing for your skin except mask it, and creates new cells, resulting in new collagen. Traditional exfoliators too scrub away dead skin cells at the surface, but Retinol works a little deeper than that. By gently peeling off the topmost layers of the skin, the skin looks brighter and hyperpigmentation is gradually reduced. It is no secret that fans of retinol love it because of the unmistakable healthy sheen it imparts to their skin.
3. IT REDUCES ACNE
Those who have oily skin, enlarged pores and acne breakouts often find a cure with retinol. This pimple banisher improves inflammatory acne, especially the comedonal ones and many doctors believe that retinoids are the absolute backbone of acne treatment because they mop up skin debris and unclog pores so effectively.