Everything you need to know about retinol in cosmetics
| 25 October 2021
Wrinkles are not the only indication for retinol use. This powerful anti-aging ingredient can do a lot. Retinol has been proven to be effective against age-related skin changes and photoaging. Thanks to this product, it is possible to see real changes: smoothing both fine and superficial and deeper wrinkles. What to expect from retinol cosmetics, how to use them, and which product to choose?
Retinol and its effect
Retinol has a stimulating effect on fibroblasts – connective tissue cells that provide collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid production. You probably know that the elasticity and smoothness of our skin depend on them. Agree, even these advantages of retinol would be enough to become a fan of this component forever. But the potential of the product is not limited to its anti-age effect!
It helps to successfully fight hyperpigmentation, evens out skin tone, accelerates the processes of exfoliation of the stratum corneum, and activates cell renewal, helps restore moisture balance in the skin. In addition, retinol is actively used in the treatment of acne: it normalizes the work of the sebaceous glands, has an anti-inflammatory effect, and allows you to visually narrow the pores.
Why retinol is so popular in cosmetics
Retinol is one of the ten most popular cosmetic ingredients along with hyaluronic acid, squalene, and niacinamide. It is the only ingredient recognized by the US Department of Health and Human Services as a wrinkle remedy. Retinol stimulates the production of new cells, lipids, collagen, and hyaluronic acid. As a result of its action, the skin is denser and smoother. It is used to treat acne and lighten age spots.
For those who are not suitable for cosmetics with acids, retinol is an excellent analog.
There are certain difficulties and limitations in working with retinol:
- For example, one of the key factors that affect the effectiveness of care is the form of vitamin A. The problem is that retinoic acid has the most aggressive (and at the same time the most effective) effect on the skin, but the risk of adverse reactions is also the highest. Therefore, most of the beauty products you find in stores will contain other forms of vitamin A.
- Another difficulty – a high concentration of retinol, which is necessary for excellent visual results, can be accompanied by unpleasant consequences: severe peeling, redness, burning. Therefore, cosmetics manufacturers are looking for all sorts of ways to get around this limitation – to maintain the effectiveness of the impact and minimize the risks of side effects.
- To get the maximum effect that cosmetics with retinol are capable of, they must be correctly selected, correctly integrated into the general care system, and applied according to certain rules. Otherwise, this product may not only be ineffective in combating aging or other aesthetic imperfections, but also harm the skin’s appearance and health.
- The main contraindication to the use of this product is the presence of oncological formations. Also, do not use products with retinoids for pregnant and lactating women. Of course, too strong preparations with a high concentration of vitamin A cannot be found in stores – they are sold in pharmacies. However, it is best to consult with a beautician rather than prescribing retinol on your own. It is also recommended to apply any product at night, and use SPF protection during the day, otherwise, age spots cannot be avoided.
How does retinol work in cosmetics?
Retinol has several characteristics that make it one of the most active and effective components for many years:
- due to the small size of the molecules and lipophilicity (this is a fat-soluble element), retinol overcomes the lipid barrier of the skin and penetrates into the epidermis;
- retinol stimulates active cell division of the basal layer of the epidermis, that is, it accelerates the renewal of the cellular composition and, in addition, affects not only keratinocytes but also deeper dermal structures – fibroblasts, melanocytes, which are responsible for skin elasticity and pigmentation uniformity.
How to choose retinol cosmetics
In products that can be used at home, the concentration of retinol should be 0.1–1%. Cosmetics with a higher concentration of vitamin A are suitable for treatments in the doctor’s office.
If you have never used such products, it is better to start with low concentrations and use cosmetics every other day to allow the skin to adapt. The funds should be chosen not in pharmacies, but in ordinary cosmetic stores – such preparations contain a safe concentration of vitamin A.
Higher concentrations are found in cosmeceuticals and medicinal products. Such cosmetics are sold in clinics and pharmacies. As a rule, it is selected and prescribed by cosmetologists.
There is such a thing as a retinol ladder
This is a scheme for introducing retinol products into your care.
- The first two weeks of the retinol remedy should be used 1 time in 3 days, the next two weeks – every other day, in the fifth week you can switch to daily use. So, you can safely introduce your skin to this product, give it a habit, and control the reaction.
- Do not forget that cosmetics containing retinol should be applied to dry skin. Otherwise, you risk getting irritated and reddened.
- Retinol has photochemical instability, which means that it breaks down and loses its properties when exposed to sunlight. This is one of the reasons why these products are recommended to be used strictly at night. Moreover, retinol increases the skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet light. This is the second reason to use the product at night and use sunscreen products during the day.
So, to summarize the recommendations: use the product strictly at night, according to the scheme, on dry skin, during the day you need to apply a cream with SPF.