There seems to be a trillion must-try skincare ingredients recommended on the front cover of every magazine, but retinol and sunscreen are pretty much every dermatologist’s top two. Yet, according to a recent goodhousekeeping.com poll, only one out of ten readers are using retinol. Many aren’t reaching for it because they say they’re not really sure what it is or how to integrate it into their routine.
What can retinol do for my skin?
“When applied topically, it helps increase skin cell turnover, reduce inflammation, and stimulate collagen production,” notes Dr. Carter. “Ultimately, it can help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, even out skin texture, and make pores look smaller.”
What is retinol exactly, and what’s the difference between an Rx retinoid and an over-the-counter version?
“Retinol is a form of vitamin A,” explains Dr. Carter. Here’s where the science comes in: “That when applied to the skin, retinol is converted by receptors in skin cells to the biologically active form of the molecule, which is known as tretinoin,” says Dr. Carter. Then there’s the prescription version which is pure tretinoin. “It is more potent than the OTC versions because it doesn’t need to be converted by your skin,” notes Dr. Carter.
“We use retinols for long term skin improvement. The recommendation is to use a retinol daily for 5 months and then you can drop down to a maintenance dose of three times per week,” Dr. Carter advises.
I’ve heard retinols can be harsh, is that true?
“Yes, it is true that retinols can be irritating, but this is what we call an anticipated reaction. We anticipate that you will have peeling, redness and be more sensitive because of the rapid pace of skin turnover. So, in order to ultimately make skin less sensitive, this process is necessary” says Dr. Carter.
Can I use it at any time of day?
“Pure retinol is unstable in ultraviolet light, which means it can rapidly become inactivated if it’s applied to skin and you’re in the sun, so it should be applied in the evening in your nighttime skincare routine on clean skin,” Dr. Carter explains. “In the morning, use ZO cleanser, exfoliating polish and toner to ‘get your skin ready’ and then apply ZO Daily Power Defense along with a sunscreen.” The goal, he says, is to give your skin protection and damage prevention in the day and repair in the evening. The ZO Daily Power Defense is a product designed to repair the dermal-epidermal junction (DEJ). “When patients tell me that they have very dry skin or combination skin, this means the DEJ is abnormal. It is a natural barrier that is designed to hold moisture in the skin.”
When should I start?
Thirty has long been the banner year for introducing retinol into one’s routine, but many women are starting before then, motivated by early signs of aging, such as sun spots or crows feet, or simply eager to get a head start and utilize the latest technologies. “Your mid-twenties are a great time to start using retinol,” says Dr. Carter. “Many patients who have used it for years swear by it.”
The benefits of retinol
- Smooths and refines uneven skin tone and texture
- Exfoliates skin at the cellular level, lifting away dead skin cells
- Repairs cellular structure, strengthening the skin matrix
- Minimizes and slows the appearance of fine lines
- Accelerates the process of skin renewal
- Enhances collagen production
- Brightens skin by breaking up excess melanin, fading dark spots and discoloration
- Regulates oily skin, minimizing breakouts
- Stops pores from clogging, preventing blackheads, cysts, and pimples
- Prevents the rise of a collagen-digesting enzyme which is triggered by UV exposure
- Diminishes and refines pores
- Increases circulation and blood flow to the skin
- Improves the skin’s hydration levels
With an impressive list of anti-aging benefits like this, you might be wondering how you can get started, then call Nourished Medspa and Wellness Center in Sherman, TX. With one call you can set up a consultation to see what skincare regimen is good for you.