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What Is Retinol - Retinol Benefits and Side Effects

picture what does retinol do to skin
what does retinol do to skin

Do you often hear that dermatologists suggest using retinol for your skin? They also said that retinol will deal with aging signs. Is that true?

In recent years, the use of retinol-based skincare in the beauty industry has attracted more enthusiasm. Many people have started to hunt anything related to retinol.

Not only that, but many studies have also proven the amazing benefits of retinol if used regularly. That seems too good to be true. But what is retinol, actually? Do you know the meaning of retinol?

What Is Retinol - Retinol Benefits and Side Effects

Retinol meaning

Retinol meaning a retinoid derived from vitamin A is widely used in many skincare products. The content of this astonishing compound is to prevent premature aging, get rid of acne, and improve skin texture.

However, like other active ingredients, retinol also can pose a risk of side effects if used without following the recommended usage.

Nowadays, many forms of retinol can be found easily, such as retinol toner, retinol serum, retinol moisturizer, and retinol cream.

What Is Retinol According To Harvard Medical School

According to Harvard Medical School, retinol is a substance created from vitamin A. Around the 1970s, the use of retinol was originally for acne medication.

However, after a lot of research, the researcher found out about the other benefits, which as retinol's effectiveness in preventing and reducing aging signs.

Retinol itself belongs to the retinoid group. Usually, the retinol-based product that you can find in the market generally contains low doses of the active ingredient retinoic acid.

You can find retinol in various types of skin care product ranges and brands. The common skincare range that often includes retinol in its content is toner, essence, serum, and moisturizer.

What Is Pro-Retinol

After you learn about retinol meaning, now let's learn about pro-retinol. Is pro-retinol are the same with retinol? The answer is NO!

Pro-retinol is not the same as retinol. Pro retinol that is also known as retinyl palmitate, is a retinol fat-soluble derivation compound. 

Pro retinol and retinol characteristic has several similarities. Despite that, retinol is easily degraded once sun exposure, while pro retinol is much more stable and milder.

Since pro retinol is much milder, it is also less to cause skin irritation. But, compared to retinol or other strong retinoids, pro retinol is less potent. 

However, pro retinol is still effective in improving skin texture and other skin-related problems in the long term.

What Does Retinol Do

Retinol will help stimulate collagen production, strengthen your skin barrier, prevent transepidermal water loss, and thicken the skin layer where your wrinkles appear.

According to PubMed Central, retinol works with inhibits metalloproteinases activity, which this metalloproteinase has the responsibility for extracellular matrix degradation.

In addition, retinol also stimulates angiogenesis, the new blood vessel formation, in the dermis papillary layer.

What Does Retinol Do To Skin

Due to its various benefits, retinol is known as one of the miracle ingredients in the beauty industry. Then, what does retinol do to the skin? Following are the benefits of retinol to your skin.

1. Younger Skin Appearance

Using retinol regularly is proven to improve your skin appearance. It's because retinol has the function of slowing down the aging process by maintaining the outermost layer of the epidermis or skin which works as your skin barrier.

As a result, it will help your skin stay hydrated, stimulate collagen production and slow your fine lines to appear. All those benefits will make your skin look younger.

2. Prevent Acne

Retinol is an active ingredient that contains comedolytic agents and prevents blackheads or pimple formation on the skin.

In addition, retinol also helps to increase skin exfoliation and prevent clogging pores, which can trigger and worsen acne conditions.

3. Increase Skin Elasticity

According to research, the regular use of retinol is effective in increasing epidermis thickness and stimulate collagen production in the skin. 

Collagen is essential in preventing dry skin and improving skin elasticity and suppleness.

4. Get Rid of Milia

Since retinol has the function of regenerating the skin cells, retinol has also proven to be effective in treating milia.

Milia is white tiny bump that often appears under the eyes, nose, and cheek. By using retinol regularly, the milia will slowly erode and gone. 

In addition, using retinol will help to prevent new milia from forming. If you are a beginner with retinol, please always start with a low dosage to avoid skin irritation.

5. Reduce Hyperpigmentation and Dark Spot

If you have dark spots or hyperpigmentation, then retinol is the solution. Retinol has the ability to lighten dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Not only that, retinol also best to prevent melasma as well.

Dark spots and hyperpigmentation are negative products caused by excessive sun exposure. Retinol will speed up the new skin cell regeneration by exfoliating dead skin cells and stimulates new skin cells to grow.

Therefore, using retinol product regularly will fade away any discoloration that affects your skin appearance.

6. Prevent Premature Aging

One of the most potent benefits of retinol is to prevent premature aging. Retinol, with its small molecules, has the ability to penetrate deep into the dermis or skin layer.

Retinol also work to fight free radicals that can destroy your healthy cells and cause premature aging. Free radicals commonly caused by UV rays, pollution, bad eating habits, and others.

Retinol increase cell regeneration and promote collagen production. Collagen is essential in preventing premature aging. Common sign of premature aging is fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, and sunken cheek.

Side Effects Of Retinol

Although retinol is very beneficial for your skin doesn't mean it doesn't have any side effects. Generally, people who start using retinol as a part of their daily skincare regime will experience dryness and irritation.

This side effect will affect you more if you're a beginner at using retinoids. Therefore, you need to be cautious during applying retinol.

Almost similar to other active ingredients, retinol can cause the following side effects,

  • Itchy
  • Inflammed skin
  • Rashes
  • Burning sensation
  • Red skin
  • Skin gets more sensitive to sunlight
If you use retinol following the recommendation guideline, the above side effects will only happen temporarily.

After that, your skin will get used to it. But if the side effect stays persistent, please stop and consult with your dermatologist.

Pregnant women are also not allowed to use this active ingredient. Research shows that using retinol in pregnant women will increase the risk of miscarriage and fetus abnormalities.

How To Reduce Retinol Side Effect On Skin

The retinol side effect on the skin can be reduced by doing these simple steps,

  • After you wash your face, wait 30 minutes before you apply this active ingredient to your face.
  • For retinol beginners, do not use retinol daily, instead, use retinol gradually. For example, use it at least 2 times per week, then gradually increase to 3 times per week, and if you feel your skin can accept this product, you can start using it daily.
  • Do not apply retinol around the mouth and eyes area because those parts are more delicate than others.
  • Avoid using retinol in the morning or during the day because sun exposure will increase the risk of side effects.

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