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Know Your Ingredients: Retinol

Posted By Vien
Retinol, also known as vitamin A, is a powerhouse ingredient. It's widely used in skin care products and has been proven to help fight signs of aging and wrinkles. However, before you start slathering on the retinoid, it's important to know what exactly they are and how your skin reacts to them.

What is it?
Retinol is a form of vitamin A. It's also known as retinoic acid, which is the active ingredient in prescription-strength products like Retin-A and Renova.

Retinol can help with:

  • Acne, including pimples and blackheads
  • Wrinkles and sun damage
  • Dry skin

What is the difference between retinoid, retinol, and retinaldehyde?
Retinoids are a form of vitamin A. The word "retinoid" is used to describe all forms of vitamin A, but it's most often used to refer to two specific types: retinol and retinaldehyde.

Retinol is the alcohol form of the molecule retinoic acid (vitamin A). It can be found in many foods and supplements, including cod liver oil and many over-the-counter moisturizers.

Retinaldehyde is an aldehyde form of the same molecule; it's not available for use by consumers because it's unstable when exposed to air or light. In addition, some research indicates that it may not be as effective as other forms of vitamin A at reducing wrinkles or improving dark circles under your eyes—but more studies are needed before we know whether this is true!

What's the difference between OTC and prescription retinol?

OTC retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, while prescription retinol is derived from vitamin A acid. OTC retinol comes in a variety of strengths, while prescription retinol comes in only one strength: 0.1%.

The difference between the two types lies in their potency and how they're absorbed by your skin. While OTC retinol is less concentrated than its prescription counterpart, it's also easier on your skin—and cheaper! Because of the lower strength and gentler ingredients used to formulate it, you'll find that most people have no problems using over-the-counter versions at night with their normal moisturizer (or nothing at all). On the other hand, if you have sensitive skin or are prone to irritation or redness when applying products to your face or neck area then avoid using this type.

How do they work?

Retinoid have many benefits for the skin and can help to improve its appearance and texture. They work by increasing the cell turnover rate, which means that they encourage your skin to shed old cells faster so that new, healthy cells can replace them. Retinol also helps exfoliate the top layer of your skin, allowing it to look smoother. This contributes to fewer fine lines and wrinkles appearing on your face as well as an overall brighter-looking skin tone!

How to use it?

To get the most out of retinol, you should use an acid-free, noncomedogenic (meaning it won't clog pores) moisturizer and apply a pea-sized amount to your face and neck. You can then follow up with any other products you like, but make sure to wait at least 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the retinol before applying makeup or sunscreen. Retinol should be applied at night because sunlight degrades retinol much faster than ordinary sunscreen does.

Who should be using it?

If you have mature skin and want to fight the signs of aging, retinol is for you.

If your skin is sensitive and prone to breakouts, retinol might be a good option for you. However, if an ingredient causes irritation or redness after using it for a few days, stop using the product immediately!

If you're looking for ways to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots without invasive procedures like Botox injections or laser treatments (or at least until those procedures are covered by insurance), retinol is worth considering.

If your skin is healthy but older than 25 years old (or about halfway through its life cycle), then you may be able to use retinol-containing products with caution. Start by applying them once at night before bedtime and see how your skin reacts over the next few days. If there are no negative effects within 72 hours (usually one week), then go ahead and try using them twice a day instead!

Who should NOT be using it?

If you're under the age of 25 or have sensitive skin, you should not use products containing retinol. Retinol is so potent that even a small amount can lead to redness, irritation, or itching—which means these issues will only get worse if you keep using the product. Plus, if your skin isn't used to retinol yet (because it's so young), using it will cause more damage than good over time.

However, it's important to note that retinol is not recommended for pregnant women or nursing mothers. Because of how it metabolizes in the body, the use of retinol during pregnancy or after birth could cause harm to both the mother and baby. For example, some people believe that retinol can cause birth defects in unborn babies.

Pros of Retinol
  • Helps with acne
  • Helps with fine lines
  • Helps with wrinkles
  • Helps with dark spots or hyperpigmentation (the technical term for sun damage and discoloration)
  • Improves skin texture

Cons of Retinol
  • Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that can cause redness, flaking, or peeling. This can be especially true if you're using high concentrations of retinol. Retinol may also cause sensitivity to sunlight and irritation.
  • Avoiding the sun for several days after applying retinol is recommended to minimize these effects.
  • If you are acne-prone, it's best not to use retinol as it can make breakouts worse and may even lead to premature aging of your skin by causing new wrinkles and hyperpigmentation (dark spots).

Allergy to Retinol
It is not uncommon for people to develop an allergy to retinol. When this happens, you may notice skin irritation and redness in the areas where you apply the product. Some common symptoms of a retinol allergy include:

  • Skin redness and irritation
  • Itchy or dry skin
  • Flaking and peeling


We hope you've enjoyed learning about the benefits and drawbacks of retinol! If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your dermatologist or make an appointment at one of our locations.


Source: SLMD Skincare | What You Need To  Know About Retinol

  • Alastin
    Renewal Retinol .5

    C$ 89.60

  • VivierSkin
    Retinol 1% Night Complex

    C$ 116.00

  • VI Derm Beauty
    Retinol Age-Defying Moisturizer

    C$ 154.00

  • Obagi
    360 Retinol 1% Cream

    C$ 96.00

  • SkinMedica
    Retinol Complex 0.5

    C$ 83.00

  • Retinol by Robanda
    Pigment Therapy

    C$ 29.00

  • SkinMedica
    Retinol Complex 1.0

    C$ 99.00

  • RejudiCare Synergy
    Retinol SRX Max

    C$ 143.50

  • VivierSkin
    0.3% Retinol SR Complex

    C$ 84.00

  • Institut Esthederm
    Intensive Retinol Serum

    C$ 79.00

  • Institut Esthederm
    Intensive Retinol Cream

    C$ 99.00




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