What Exactly Is Retinol, Anyway?

Retinol is highly recommended by dermatologists and one of the most popular skin care ingredients on the market. But why is it good for your skin?

Serum dropping into hand from applicator

Retinol is one of the beauty industry's most coveted ingredients. It's infused into everything from eye creams to serums to oils. Research has shown that retinol helps to increase the production of elastin and collagen while minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, thus making it a beauty industry darling.

A recent study from researchers in Poland found that after applying a retinol serum once a day for 12 weeks, study participants saw a decrease in hyperpigmentation, unevenness, and wrinkles gradually over the course of treatment.

What Is Retinol?

Retinol is a vitamin A derivative and an over-the-counter (less potent and less irritating) version of prescription retinoids.

What Does Retinol Do?

Retinol has been shown to reach the middle layer of the skin, the dermis, to help increase cell turnover. It's also been shown to help "plump" the skin and therefore reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Prescription retinoids can also help treat severe acne by unclogging pores and help to minimize previous acne scars.

Retinol also has exfoliating properties, which helps prevent moisture loss by removing unwanted dead skin. This can also help to control excess oil production for those with oily skin.

Who Is Retinol Good For?

Over the counter retinol can be used to treat skin with fine lines and wrinkles, signs of sun damage, bumpy texture, hyperpigmentation, and mild acne.

If you want to combat severe acne or the signs of aging on your skin, contact your dermatologist about the possibility of using a prescription retinoid. These are more powerful than over-the-counter retinol, but also more irritating. Peeling, redness, sensitivity to sun, and other skin issues can occur after use. Retinoids (retinol included) are FDA-approved for topical use.

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Presented by USANA.