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Retinol, Your Skin’s Defense Against Age

Touted for its anti-ageing properties, retinol might just be closest thing to the elixir of life. But retinol is so much more than that. Besides preventing premature ageing, and even restoring the skin’s youthful appearance, retinol is a multitasking ingredient that works hard to reduce visible signs of ageing, like fine lines, wrinkles, large pores, sun damage, dull skin, etc. However, there’s much to know about this amazing skincare ingredient that is found in many skincare products.

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a vitamin A derivative  that is produced in the body. It is one of the key nutrients in the body that stimulates cell renewal and turnover. It is usually the main ingredient found in many anti-ageing creams. Retinol has the ability to influencing cells to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell by binding to any skin receptor site. It essentially works from within to heal, restore, and rejuvenate the skin. Although retinol comes with a number of benefits for the skin, it might not work as effectively or as quickly to address skin issues unlike retinoid, so what sets retinol apart from retinoid?


The Difference Between Retinol and Retinoid

Before we delve into the differences of retinol and retinoid, note that it is the retinoic acid in your skin that keeps your skin looking youthful. Having said this, retinol and retinoids function the same way. These products essentially react produce retinoic acid by reacting with the enzymes in your skin, much like a catalyst, so to speak. The only thing that sets them apart is that retinol is relatively more gentler on the skin — due to the two-step conversion is undergoes before activating the retinoic acid in the skin. So this basically means that it usually takes longer for you to see results when using retinol.


Benefits of Retinol

It's numerous functions includes working as an antioxidant, retinol combats free-radical damage by intercepting the process that causes wrinkling and other visible signs of ageing. It has also been proven to increase the collagen production in the skin. Collagen is the major component found in connective tissues that is responsible for keeping skin taut and youthful. An increased production of collagen in the skin also prevents sagging and retains the structure and elasticity of the skin. However, it is important to note that collagen production decreases as we age. Even with the use retinol the most we can do is to slow the effects of time on our skin. Besides keeping skin looking youthful, retinol also helps to diminish discolorations caused by sun damage and in a recent study, it is said to even restore the skin’s elastin.


Uses of Retinoids

Retinoids are naturally occurring compounds that are vital for various internal and external processes in the body. They aid and improve our immune system and contribute to tissue repair.

As said before, retinoids work much like retinols, with the only difference being that one is much more stronger on the skin than the other. But there might be instances when you should think about treating severe skin issues with retinoids instead of retinol.

Treating Acne and Acne Scars

If you are suffering from severe acne or acne scars, consider using retinoids to address your skin issues. Retinoids were first approved as an ingredient to treat acne in 1971, since then it has been praised for its effects on the skin. When it comes to acne, retinoids work to unclog the pores, this in turn helps cleansing and moisturising agents to penetrate the skin deeper and work better. Apart from getting more out of your products, retinoid prevents dead skin cells from clogging up pores, inadvertently reducing acne outbreaks, which also leads to the reduction of acne scars forming on the skin. Bacteria that cause acne and inflammation can be countered with retinoid pills as well.

Treating Wrinkles

Retinoids can also be used to treat wrinkles. It manufactures new collagen and stimulates new blood vessels in the skin, leaving skin looking lively and rejuvenated. It’s important to note that over-the-counter retinoids might not work as well tretinoin, a type of retinoid to treat wrinkles. Instead these retinoids ease and improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin. At the onset of wrinkles, consider adopting tretinoin into your skin care regime to tackle visible ageing on the skin. As tretinoin is said to be potent enough to restore skin to its former youthful state. Retinoids are also said to treat other skin conditions like warts and psoriasis.



Your skin needs some time to get use to retinol, so in the beginning of the process, it is not uncommon for your skin to react aggressively to the treatment. Although retinol is mild on the skin, it still affects the skin to a certain extend. Retinoids and tretinoin are said to cause irritation and inflammation to the skin in the beginning phases of the treatment, which is why many dispose them before they even see results. In addition to getting used to the product, the skin also starts purging the impurities and dirt from your skin. This in turn pushes blemishes and other bacteria or dirt to the surface, throwing off the balance of your skin’s composition, but you know what they say, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Once the initial stages of treatment are over, your skin will look much healthier than it did before you begun the treatment. It is advised that you use retinol or retinoid-based products once a week to avoid drastic changes, like redness, dryness and even flaky skin. Allowing your skin to gradually get used the product will cause your skin to be more tolerant to the effects of the ingredient.

One really important thing to note would be that any variation of retinol or retinoid is to avoid applying it to the skin in the day. When retinol or retinoids come in contact with sunlight, they start breaking down, losing their potency. This is why retinol products are usually found in opaque bottles and/or packaging. The best time to apply retinol or retinoid products would be at night.


The Takeaway

If you are new to retinol or retinoid-based products, ensure that your skin is introduced to it gradually over a period of time. This slow introduction may alleviate the adverse reactions of the product when it comes in contact with your skin.

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