What Are Retinol Creams For?

Retinol is a substance with the same effect as vitamin A. It is used for medical and cosmetic treatments, always taking care to prevent its adverse effects

Retinol, also known as retinoic acid, is a compound widely used today in creams to combat photochromics aging. Together with their active derivatives, such as retinal, tretinoin, isotretinoin and alitretinoin, they belong to the group of first-generation retinoids.

They are among the most effective substances in slowing down the aging process. Do you want to know more about it? Keep reading, and don’t miss it.

What is retinol?

Among retinoids, the prescription is more common the isotretinoin, tretinoin and the retinoic acid. About those for cosmetic use, retinol is the only one that is registered as such.

Retinol does not exert a significant biological effect on tissues but is activated after its transformation into metabolites. This means that the body itself must convert it into another compound, the most important being retinoic acid.

The vitamin A and its derivatives, particularly retinol, are substances that slow the aging process more effectively. This does not mean that the deterioration stops completely, but there is a slowdown of it based on the changes that take place on the metabolic chemical reactions.

The mechanism of action of retinol

According to studies in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, retinol penetrates the stratum corneum and slightly the dermis, more effectively than other derivatives. When it reaches a keratinocyte, which are cells present in the skin, it enters it and binds to a receptor. When interacting with the receivers, the following happens:

  • It promotes the proliferation of these cells, that is, their multiplication.
  • Strengthens the protective function to prevent the entry of external agents.
  • Reduces transepidermal water loss.
  • Protects collagen against aging degradation.
  • Inhibits the activity of metalloproteinases responsible for the degradation of the extracellular matrix.
  • It favors the remodeling of reticular fibers.
  • It stimulates angiogenesis in the papillary layer of the dermis, that is, the formation of new blood vessels that improve circulation in the area in question.

When is it ideal to start using retinol creams?

From the age of 25, the vast majority of skins are candidates to start the use of retinol creams. They can be added to the routine when it is observed that wrinkles and the most marked expression lines no longer respond to the usual care.

The drug works correctly at a concentration between 0.1% and 0.3%. It is the derivative with the lowest potency within the family of all retinoids.

Based on its presentations, it is recommended via gel for oily skin with a tendency to comedones. Meanwhile, the serum or creams are useful for normal skin and oil for the more sensitive and dry dermis.

Adverse reactions of retinol creams and when to avoid their use

Despite FDA ( Food and Drugs Administration ) approval, the use of tretinoin and retinol-containing products is associated with certain adverse effects. According to an official publication of the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, side effects include the following:

  • Pruritus.
  • Burning sensation
  • Erythema.
  • Peeling.

Collectively, this side effect profile is called a retinoid reaction and is more common with tretinoin use. The reaction itself is dose-dependent and subsides over time.

Although it is a product that, applied correctly, provides important benefits to the skin, it is essential to exercise some caution in certain situations:

  • After peelingor waxing.
  • If we are going to have prolonged exposure to sunlight.
  • When we are using acne medications.
  • We have irritated or sensitive skin to various allergens.

How to add a retinol cream to the skincare routine?

To add a retinol cream to our beauty routine, it is advisable to start gradually and apply in low doses. It should always be at night, after cleaning the face, neck and decollete.

In the case of a retinol derivative, such as retinoic acid or vitamin A, it should be done every other day for at least 4 weeks. In this way, we have an interval to observe the reaction of the skin. Then the periodicity of its use will be progressively increased. If the skin turns out not to be sensitive, it can be started to use more often, up to every night.

It should never be applied to the eye contour, lip corners or eyelids. The next day, it is prudent to perform daily cleansing regularly, with the subsequent application of moisturizing cream and SPF50 sunscreen.

Final thoughts on retinol creams

Retinol is one of the most promising compounds for its skincare capabilities. However, you have to consider that it is not magical. It is the combination of several substances and procedures which contributes to obtaining an optimal result in beauty treatments.

Studies carried out by the American Association for Cancer Research on damaged skin also position it as a product with positive results for the prevention of malignant lesions. There is still a long way to go into this compound, so if you have doubts, consult a dermatologist to guide you in this regard.

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