What is Retinol?

Retinol is Vitamin A which works by producing new layers of collagen in the skin. It does this by increasing the hyaluronic acid in your skin.  They are wrinkle reducers and can create smooth skin. 

The best way to fight a wrinkle is for your skin to produce collagen which is what retinoid creams do.  I'm not a dermatologist, but I have been an esthetician for over ten years which has given me the opportunity to see my clients age for a decade.  I've noticed younger and younger women being prescribed Retinol and Retinoids to stop wrinkles before it happens and I don't love it. Not to mention more and more over the counter creams, serums and cosmetics have retin-A in them. It's overkill. 

I'm not totally against using a retinoid or retinol, but truly believe there is a certain client these creams are for.  They're great for someone with mature skin and for anyone treating acne without the help of LED light therapy. Acne is a big subject, I'm not going to get into it now but I know Retinols can help smooth out the skin during a breakout. 

I'll tell you why I'm not a huge fan of retinoids. In all my years of being an esthetician, I have seen so many women come in with what I call "porkchop face syndrome" (aka Retin-A junkie) One particular client comes to mind,  a 30year old female that I did laser hair removal for.  She did several body parts at different times so I got to see her for about two years. From the day I met her, she had this glossy shine to her skin. She always looked like she just rubbed a pork chop all over her face. She was really really shiny and was red on her cheeks and across her nose. Because of her laser appointments, I did a thorough consultation and found out she was on prescription Retin A.  

Over the course of treatments, we got to know each other and so finally I asked her why she was using Retin A (she had no blemishes or pigmentation and no wrinkles, it was just lots of shine which Retinol marketers will call "dewy") She said "My dermatologist prescribed it to me for acne two years ago."  I thought to myself, if you were using it for acne, and your acne is gone, why are you still using it? Her skin looked raw! She said "I don't know, my dermatologist keeps refilling it for me" 

I recommended she stop the Retin-A for one month and if the acne came roaring back then she should use it again. I also recommended hyaluronic acid and an enzyme exfoliation once a week at home. I had an accident after that and didn't work for a month so it was almost two months later when I saw her again.  This time, she looked amazing! Normal, plump, smooth, gorgeous skin.  I'm not saying never use retinols, but they are chemicals and should be used with some common sense.  Weaving a retinol into your skincare routine isn't a terrible idea but being on it 365 days a year for years? I've seen what 30 years of using Retin A looks like (I'll leave that story for another day) it wasn't cute. 

We all produce our own collagen-it's a protein found in all of our connective tissue. It breaks down as we age but using a chemically produced Vitamin A, like a retinol, isn't the only solution to rebuilding our own collagen. There are natural ways to do it and I'll tell you how in the near future.

To be continued .....In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, please click on this blog title and leave your comment below.