Retinoids (a group of ingredients including tretinoin and retinol) are Vitamin A derivatives that have been used for decades to treat skin conditions such as acne. Prescription tretinoin’s use for anti-aging was discovered when female patients being treated for acne reported smoother texture and decreased wrinkles after treatment. This spurred research to determine its efficacy treating photoaged skin.
Although retinol is a cosmetic ingredient, in the right formulation and dose, it penetrates the skin effectively and has been shown to exert similar effects as prescription tretinoin on the retinoic acid receptor. Retinol is one of the best anti-aging ingredients you can use for your skin. Second only to sunscreen, it is my favorite way to fight (and prevent) the signs of aging. Anyone looking to up their skin care game should look no further.
There are some myths that often circulate about retinoids like:
1. They make your more sun sensitive. MYTH! Older generation retinoids are easily deactivated by the sun which is why we recommend using them at night! Retinoids do not make your skin more sensitive to the sun. You should, however, be using a daily SPF REGARDLESS!
2. Retinoids thin the skin. MYTH! Retinoids compact the outer layer of dead skin cells while increasing collagen deeper in the dermis. Both good things that equate to firmer skin that reflects light better!
3. Peeling and irritation means they’re not for you. This one is definitely not true. You should start with a lower strength OTC retinol, on top of a good moisturizer and slowly so that you minimize any irritation. If you still experience “peeling” this is completely normal and your skin will adjust over time.
**Retinoids should not be used while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Here are a couple of my favorite retinoid options on the market available without a prescription!
Be sure to add retinol in your regimen slowly (and starting with a lower percentage) to avoid irritation. I recommend starting every third night for two weeks and if tolerated increase to every other night for two weeks. Eventually you should be able increase to every night. For more tips on how to appropriately incorporate retinoids into your skin care regimen check out my IGTV video here!
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