Retin-A is a time-tested way to rejuvenate your skin, but many people experience unwanted side effects such as persistent redness, dryness, peeling and irritation. For these reasons, many people will give up using Retin-A before their skin can reap the benefits. Retinol is a good alternative for rejuvenating the skin without the side-effects typical for Retin-A.
WHAT IS RETINOL?
Retinol is basically Vitamin A, and is present naturally in certain foods. Vitamin A plays an important role in many biological systems, from differentiation in the embryo to vision, immunology, and the differentiation and maintenance of epithelial cells in the body. And since the skin is composed of epithelial cells, Vitamin A is essential for the maintenance of healthy skin. When Retinol is commercially prepared and applied to the skin, it is converted by the body to retinoic acid, which is Retin-A. However, the amount of Retin-A produced by this conversion is far less than if you were to apply Retin-A directly to the skin. Most of the commercial preparation of Retinol are retinyl esters, which are more stable when used in creams and are hydrolyzed by the body to Retinol and then converted to Retin-A, as mentioned above.
HOW DOES RETINOL REJUVENATE THE SKIN?
Retinol, like Retin-A, naturally increases cell turnover rate in the epidermis and promotes increased collagen and elastin formation. This increased cell turnover naturally exfoliates the skin, leaving it softer, smoother and younger looking. At the same time, Retinol helps with hyperpigmentation by evening out the clumped melanin in the deeper layers of the skin that lead to the appearance of sun spots, age spots and hyperpigmentation. Another benefit of the exfoliation associated with Retinol is that it helps with acne. Since one of the root causes of acne is pore clogging followed by inflammation, the effects of Retinol to remove dead skin cells and unplug pores leads to improvement in acne.
WHY IS RETINOL LESS IRRITATING THAN RETIN-A?
As mentioned earlier, when Retinol is applied to the skin, it is slowly converted by the body to the active Retin-A molecule. However, the amount of Retin-A produced by the conversion is far less than if you apply prescription Retin-A directly to the skin. Though you don’t get the potent benefits of prescription Retin-A with Retinol, you also don’t get the irritation, redness and peeling that can accompany the use of Retin-A. So, Retinol can help you to rejuvenate your skin more gently than Retin-A and is best suited for people whose skin is sensitive or cannot tolerate prescription Retin-A. Also, continued use of Retinol can actually prepare your skin for more potent retinoids like Retin-A by desensitizing it to the irritating side effects.
Here at Bella Luce Medispa, we have available both prescription-strength Retin-A as well as skin care lines with Retinol to best suit your individual skin care needs. Call us at 714-846-5950 with any questions you may have. Thanks for reading our blog and stay tuned for more postings on all things cosmetic!