Retinoids and retinols are made from the powerful antixoidant vitamin A.
These products cause the top layer of skin to "turnover" more quickly as old, dead skin is replaced with new skin, reducing the appearance of dead, dull-looking skin and dark spots.
As antioxidants, retinoids (prescription strength) and retinols (over-the-counter strength) also destroy free radicals. This stops their attack on your skin’s healthy support fibers, collagen and elastin. Finally, retinoids and retinols tell your skin to create new collagen. This thickens the deeper layer of fibers, more wrinkle protection!
Benefits of Retinoids:
Since old cells are replaced more rapidly, the cells you see are fresh. And according to Dr. Hoffman, “Nothing else has been proven like retinoids.” In fact, retinoids and retinols effectively smooth wrinkles, increase skin’s elasticity and lighten age spots.
Newer studies also show that once the deeper collagen layer is healthy, your skin’s natural moisturizing process may also improve. Ahh, softer skin!
Picking Retinoid or Retinol Products:
Your main choice is retinoids or retinols… and one is not necessarily better. Retinoids, like Tretinoin, must be prescribed by your doctor. As a result, they are stronger, more effective age-fighters than the over-the-counter option, retinols. That being said, retinoids can irritate dry or sensitive skin. So for some, retinols may be the right choice.
Practice Retinoid/Retinol Cream Caution!
Retinoids and retinols can increase your risk of birth defects. So don't use them if you are pregnant. Also, side effects such as redness and skin peeling can occur. Be sure to follow your doctor's directions.
Should You Scrub?
Wondering whether you need to physically exfoliate the top layers of dead skin? While occasionally using a facial scrub of buffing sponge shouldn't harm your skin -- just don't scrub too hard -- it's not really necessary. Retinoid and retinol products are called chemical exfoliants, because they, too, slough off dead skin. So use them consistently, and consider yourself covered.
Avoiding retinoids because of sensitive skin? They may actually help conditions like rosacea. Learn more at our Rosacea Center.