1. What is retinol?
Retinol is one treatment from the group of medicines called retinoids – derivatives of Vitamin A, a fundamental building block for hair, skin, nails and vision.
2. How does retinol work?
Retinol is the most effective topical skin care treatment available due to its ability to penetrate the epidermis and actually change skin’s DNA.
3. When will I see a difference in my skin if I use retinol?
Most individuals should see a gradual improvement in the appearance of their skin as manifested by diminished pore size and an overall brighter, lighter skin tone. These changes will vary from person to person because skin types vary and frequency of use of the product will also make a difference.
4. How does retinol compare to antioxidant based treatments?
Since retinol actually penetrates the epidermis, it is the most effective anti-aging and repair treatment available. However, there are benefits to anti-oxidants treatments as well. The best course of action is to rotate these other treatments into your skincare regimen.
5. What’s the difference between tretinoin and retinol?
Tretinoin is an active form of topical Vitamin A available by a doctor’s prescription. Retinol is also an active form of Vitamin A and does not require a doctor’s prescription in concentrations of less than 1%.
6. I’ve heard that retinol makes your skin dry and flaky?
Because retinol accelerates shedding of the dull corneal cell layer, one gets the impression that the skin is dry. The older, epidermal cells are being replaced by younger, plumper cells. The shedding can be controlled by a mild exfoliant, moisturizers, and by reapplying the retinol one or two times over the shedding cells to hasten their replacement by younger cells.
7. Can I go out in the sun while using retinol?
Yes, but only if you are wearing a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 or above. Retinol stimulates exfoliation of the outer corneal cell layer, which renders the epidermis more prone to sunburn during the first few weeks of use. Therefore, sunscreens are very important. After using retinol during its recommended introductory period, sun tolerance returns to normal if a sunscreen is used daily.
8. What sort of sunscreen should I use?
Always use a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 or more, regardless if you’re using a retinol or not. Since chemical sunscreens can irritate some skin types, non-chemical sunscreens are available. (These usually contain microdispersed zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.)
9. What kind of moisturizer should I use with a retinol treatment?
Moisturizers are available for most skin types, but a simple, non-greasy, noncomedogenic moisturizer is appropriate for most individuals of any age.
10. Can I utilize microdermabrasion and chemical peels while using retinol?
Yes, but the retinol should be discontinued for up to five days before and after the procedure. The microdermabrasion and mild chemical peels can actually enhance penetration of the retinol by removing the superficial corneal layer of the epidermis.
11. Should I use an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) while using retinol?
AHA’s and other antiaging products can be used but it is best to apply them at a different time so that neither product is diluted and possibly made less effective.
12. Is it safe to wax while I’m using retinol?
No. Skin is more likely to irritate easily with waxing because the corneal layer of skin (shedding layer) has been thinned by the retinol. (The actual epidermis itself becomes thickened.)
13. What age should I start using retinol?
It is appropriate to start during the teenage years and young adult years. The teenage years are usually when pores begin to enlarge and clog. Since retinol can repair as well as prevent sun damage when sunscreens are used, it may also be appropriate in younger individuals in some circumstances.
14. How long should I use a retinol?
“Forever”, since Vitamin A is very important for the development and maintenance of normal skin, it will always be an essential nutrient to use. Other antioxidants and AHA’s can be added and actually can compliment and enhance the effect of the retinol.
15. Is retinol only for women?
Certainly not, men are just as concerned about improving the appearance of their skin by shrinking and unclogging pores and lightening discolorations. Sun damage will also begin to reverse in men as well as in women with long-term use of the retinol. Retinol will also benefit black skin, olive skin, and oriental skins.