Our skin is truly a miracle as it is strong, waterproof, self repairing and a protective wrapping that insulates us against all kind of wear and tear. There are a lot of ways to boost our beauty and make the skin look radiant, younger and more youthful. Agents such as essential oils, peptides, anti oxidants, collagen etc are highly useful but retinol is one of the hardest anti-ageing agents on the list.
Retinol is basically a form of Vitamin A which helps to minimise fine lines, decrease the appearance of open facial pores, reduce wrinkles, evening out skin discolouration, unclogging pores, brightening skin tone etc. It is a very powerful anti-aging drug and helps to exfoliate the top layer of the skin. Thus, it helps to peel off some of the brown spots due to which the skin appears lighter and the spots are less visible.
It is a water insoluble vitamin which helps fighting the effects of aging on the skin. It stimulates and reproduces collagen in the skin, something you highly need as you start getting older. Utilising it appropriately on the skin can have dramatic effects on every aspect of your skin whether you have acne, pimples, fine lines, wrinkles or other signs of aging.
Texture and Consistency:
Most Retinols have a light weight, creamy texture which gets quickly absorbed into the skin and dries up very quickly. It is not heavy or greasy at all and any makeup or other skincare product can be easily used after applying it.
Uses of Retinol:
It is highly beneficial in stimulating the production of new skin cells, renewing them, treating the problem of acne and dark spots, making the skin cleaner, brighter and more even toned. It is highly effective in reversing sun damage and signs of aging.
It decreases fine lines from the skin, tightens pores, improves the texture and ameliorates the overall condition of the skin. It also regulates blood flow on the skin and makes it appear more plump, hydrated, nourished and healthy.
Retinol is highly effective in decreasing the effect of skin cancers and reducing the rate of infections. It also promote wound healing at a quicker rate and have a major impact on the practice of dermatology.
When and how to use it?
It is consumed orally as a dietary supplement or in form of an “over the counter” medication or in form of a topical cream/ointment or even injected into muscles to treat Vitamin A deficiency. To avail its maximum benefits for the skin, retinol should be used at night, after cleansing the skin, washing it with plain water, patting it dry and applying a pea sized amount.
Also, it should be kept in mind that retinol should only be used 2-3 times a week. The application procedure should also be done using circular, upwards motions. A small amount nourishes and protects the skin all day long.
When to avoid it?
This miraculous form of Vitamin A does wonders for the skin, if used efficiently. It should not be used in day time as retinols break down in sunlight and thus, make the skin more prone to sun burns. This is because retinol encourages development of new skin cells which are delicate and decrease the skin’s ability to protect itself.
It should also be avoided if someone is lactating or pregnant as it is best to avoid using such powerful ingredients to prevent any kind of issues with the unborn or newly born baby. If it is used in or before pregnancy, chances are high that it can either lead to birth defects or miscarriages, in extreme cases.
Will Retinol dry out my skin?
Yes, retinol makes the skin dry but if it is used properly, excessive dryness or peeling can be prevented. First of all, it should not be applied after fifteen minutes of washing the face because the extra dampness on the face often contributes to excessive dryness with the cream.
The skin also gets dry after using retinol if the quantity is not taken appropriately. One should only use a pea sized amount as more quantity can lead to more dryness, thus more irritation. Also, it is recommended to use it on alternative nights and a water based moisturizer should be used on the day when it is being skipped to keep the perfect skin balance. If your skin still suffers from peeling, dryness or irritation, use Retinol one night and then use a light weight moisturizer the other two nights.
How long will it take to see results from Retinol?
Retinol takes around three to six months to show up effective results but its best and long lasting effect takes around twelve months. Higher dosages of Retinol can show up quicker results, sometimes, but is harsh on the skin and often leads to many side effects.
Side Effects of Retinol:
Retinol is used to treat vitamin A deficiency or to achieve a flawless, acne and wrinkle free skin. However, if it is used excessively or not as recommended, it may lead to certain side effects as follows. Overdose of Retinol often leads to hair thinning, nausea, stomachache, vomiting, dry or flaky skin, cracked heels, chapped lips, increased pressure in the space between skull and brain, thus leading to severe headache and weakness.
If the cream is used in large amounts, it may lead to mild redness, burning, stinging, tingling, itching, dryness or peeling of the skin. Sometimes, it also leads to severe skin infections, rashes, blisters, bumps, acne etc. These side effects can occur depending on how sensitive the skin is and how it reacts to retinol. But the relieving thing about these side effects is that they are temporary and get back to normal in around six weeks. If it used for a prolonged period of time, there is also an increased risk of blurred vision, fatigue, weight-loss, menstrual abnormalities etc.
How to deal with Retinol side effects:
If the skin has got dry after using Retinol, one must skip it for a day or two and apply a moisturizer to maintain the natural oil balance of the skin. In case of redness, hot showers must be avoided to prevent the skin from getting irritated or inflamed further.
Since retinol makes the skin reactive and sensitive, scratching should be avoided. In case of severe redness, irritation and sensitivity, one must not try to deal with it on his own. Medical advice should be sought at the earliest and its use should be stopped completely.
Tips while using Retinol:
1. Always do a patch test before using it directly on the skin to see if your skin can tolerate it or not.
2. Do not use it right after washing the face as it can lead to dryness.
3. Always apply a pea sized amount to prevent side effects.
4. Do not apply it very frequently initially as your skin might not tolerate it. Increase the dosage once you are sure that your skin is not reacting to it in any way.
5. Do not use it in day time as sun exposure often leads to increased skin sensitivity.
6. Retinol makes the skin very reactive to sun, so do not forget to use a non comedogenic sun screen every day.
Retinol is a very effective product and can become your go to product once it starts showing up effective results on your skin but make sure to use it as recommended. Remember taking little quantity and following all directions and precautions. If Retinol is used in the correct way, your skin will become healthier, younger and radiant without any side effects, that too in a short span of time.