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What is Retinol and Why Do We Need It in Cosmetic Products
Retinol is almost a buzzword in today's beauty industry. Many have overhyped it, and many have underhyped it. However, the truth about retinol has been the same since its discovery. Since retinol is a fat-soluble vitamin in the vitamin A family, it has its share of benefits for the skin and body. The beauty industry has caught up with retinol as a result of the discovery that it can effectively treat acne. When we talk about using organic ingredients like aloe vera or neem for acne, we do not pay attention to the fact that they would work differently on different people. Retinol, on the other hand, has a much higher efficacy rate. Once retinol made it to the mainstream as an anti-acne medication, soon other uses were discovered. Today retinol is a part of our skincare products, but we still don't know enough about it. This article aims to make you more aware of all the benefits of this ingredient. Read on to find out why you must include retinol in your skin care routine.
Table of Contents:
- What Is Retinol?
- Is Retinol Natural?
- Is It Safe to Use Retinol?
- Non-cosmetic Benefits of Retinol
- Retinol and Vision
- Immune System
- Faster Healing
- Why Is Retinol Used in Cosmetic Products?
- History of Retinol Use in Cosmetic Products
- Benefits of Retinol in Skin Care
- Reduces Acne
- Prevents Wrinkles
- Evens Skin Tone
- Reduces Large Pores
- Shrinks Large Pores
- How to Use Retinol
- Retinol Face Cream from Wow Skin Science
- Do You Need to Consult a Dermatologist Before Using Retinol?
What Is Retinol?
To put it in one word, retinol is a vitamin. As you probably already know, vitamins and minerals constitute micronutrients that are essential for mental and physical well-being.
To be more precise, we can say retinol is vitamin A1. It is a fat-soluble vitamin in the vitamin A family and is commonly used in food, skin care, and dietary supplements. Retinol has medical usage as well. It is used to treat vitamin A deficiency, and the eye condition called xerophthalmia. In this condition, your eyes stop producing tears, which results in excessive dryness and itching
Is Retinol Natural?
The answer to this question lies in how you choose to define natural. If you mean whether it is usable in its raw form, the answer is no. But does retinol occur naturally? The answer is yes.
Retinol is naturally found in cheese, eggs, milk, liver, butter, and cod liver oil. Otherwise, it is derived from fungi, marine algae, or specially developed bacteria. Retinol can also be synthesized in labs, and it was done for the first time in 1947.
The discovery of retinol has several names attached to it, the most important of them being Nobel Laureate Frederick Gowland Hopkins. His inventions would go on to play a huge role in the discovery and understanding of retinol.
Is It Safe to Use Retinol?
If you are using skincare products with retinol, it is completely safe to continue. But if you are taking it as a dietary supplement, there are certain side effects that may kick in as a result of overdosing.
You should never self-prescribe retinol even though it is available as a generic OTC drug. Taking more retinol than necessary is linked to various problems with the liver and kidneys. There is no such danger in the case of retinol-based cosmetic products.
Non-cosmetic Benefits of Retinol
We often get too caught up in the cosmetic benefits of retinol that we forget to appreciate its non-cosmetic use. Retinol became a mainstream ingredient only because it has several practical uses that could save people's lives.
Today retinol is widely accepted as a legitimate treatment for several disorders.
Retinol and Vision
As we already mentioned, retinol is used in the treatment of xerophthalmia. Another common problem that retinol addresses is night blindness. Many people have trouble seeing in the dark, and the reason behind it is vitamin A deficiency. Retinol has proven to be effective in the treatment of this disorder.
Retinol is an important compound for the protection of your immune system. Vitamin A deficiency can significantly diminish the power of your immune system. Many doctors would recommend a retinol supplement in such cases.
Retinol helps maintain epithelial tissues that provide a physical barrier from infection. If your diet lacks Vitamin A, your immune system will be severely compromised over time.
Fast healing is a sign of a healthy body. If your body takes a long time to heal from an external or internal injury, the chances of you being vitamin A deficient are high.
Taking dietary supplements in the form of retinol can help boost healing in the body. It is also because a strong immune system makes healing faster.
Why Is Retinol Used in Cosmetic Products?
Cosmetic products come with both retinol and retinoids. They are essentially the same but differ in intensity. You can think of retinol as a weaker concentration of retinoids. It is easier to get retinol over the counter as opposed to retinoids.
The active ingredient that does all the work is called retinoic acid. It is found in both retinol and retinoids, but their concentration differs. If you are buying OTC retinol creams or lotions, they will have a low concentration of retinoic acid. However, that does not necessarily make them less effective.
On the flip side, retinoids may be too harsh for the skin if not mixed with a moisturizing agent. Most commercial skin care products also use retinol.
History of Retinol Use in Cosmetic Products
Retinol is very new to the skincare circuit. It was only in 1971 that dermatologists started to look into its benefits in the treatment of psoriasis and acne. Retin-A was the first commercial product, and it was targeted at people suffering from acne.
Since retinol reduces sebum production in the skin, it is effective against acne. Once retinol was established as an effective acne treatment, dermatologists started to focus on its other benefits.
Over time, it was revealed that retinol boosts skin generation and prevents signs of aging. Today it is as much an anti-aging solution as it is an anti-acne treatment.
Benefits of Retinol in Skin Care
The primary benefits of retinol in skin care are acne management and anti-aging. All the other benefits of retinol are side effects of combatting acne or preventing signs of aging. Having said that, here are some of the most common benefits of retinol.
- Reduces Acne
While acne can have several causes, all forms of acne have one immediate reason. When our skin starts producing too much sebum, it can clog our pores. As a result, the clogged pores develop pus and infection, and we get pimples. No matter how you choose to deal with acne, it would involve something to get rid of excessive sebum.
Retinol works better than other ingredients because it works at the root of the cause. The anti-inflammatory properties of retinol ensure your skin is not producing excessive sebum. Instead of removing sebum, it focuses on controlling its production.
- Prevents Wrinkles
Wrinkles are a result of the skin losing elasticity. They are one of the most prominent facial signs of aging. A number of factors can trigger wrinkles, and you would get what we call premature wrinkles.
There has been considerable research on the relation between retinol and aging signs. It turns out that retinol can effectively keep several signs of aging at bay, including wrinkles. It does so by neutralizing free radicals. As a result, your face gets a plump glow that's associated with youthfulness.
If you are looking for a safe, non-invasive method to tackle premature wrinkling, retinol is a great option. It is one of the most widely studied ingredients when it comes to anti-aging benefits.
- Evens Skin Tone
Like acne, there can be several reasons behind uneven skin tone, but each of them has one factor in common. When the skin pigments differently in different parts, your skin tone becomes uneven. It is particularly common among people who spend a lot of time outdoors or have to bear high heat.
Retinol can even skin tone because of its inherent exfoliating properties. As it exfoliates the skin, it also triggers a process of skin regeneration. Consequently, you get new skin cells that no longer have uneven tones. Using a retinol face cream daily can help you get even and smooth skin.
- Shrinks Large Pores
Having large pores is not good for your skin even beyond the cosmetic aspect. Larger pores easily trap dust and grime and can give you acne. It also makes your skin more susceptible to infections and triggers.
Using retinol is a very effective way to shrink the size of the pores. As retinol boosts elastin and collagen, your skin becomes more supple. The size of your pores starts shrinking gradually, and soon you are left without any large pores.
How to Use Retinol
Unlike organic ingredients, you cannot make DIY recipes with retinol. The only way to use it is through either cosmetics or dietary supplements. Unless the doctor prescribed it to you, do not take dietary retinol supplements. Overconsumption of retinol is detrimental to your health.
When it comes to skincare uses, there are various retinol products available in the market. They are available in the form of face wash, face scrubs, creams, moisturizers, face masks, and even mists and toners. Depending on what you want from the product, you can either choose one or multiple retinol products.
Let us take the example of a retinol cream to explain its benefits and how to use it.
Retinol Face Cream from Wow Skin Science
If you have never used a product with retinol before, you can start with this Retinol Face Cream from Wow Skin Science. This cream is the perfect way to introduce retinol to your skincare routine. The best thing about this product is that you do not have to do anything more than usual to use it. Just replace it with your regular night cream, and you are good to go. Alternatively, you can use it as a moisturizer once or twice a day.
Coming back to the product itself, the addition of hyaluronic acid makes it exceptional. You can use this cream every day without the fear of any side effects. Enriched with vitamin A, it is a single solution for uneven skin tone, fine lines, wrinkles, acne, and other skin conditions. It is also rich in antioxidants making it effective against sun damage. If you want only one retinol product in your kit, go for this face cream from Wow Skin Science.
Do You Need to Consult a Dermatologist Before Using Retinol?
If you are planning on using retinoids, you must get a prescription from a dermatologist. However, generic OTC retinol drugs do not require prescriptions. You can use any retinol-based skincare product as long as it does not contain harmful chemicals.
However, few people have adverse side effects from the use of retinol. Such cases should immediately go to the doctor. Stop using retinol immediately if it produces any side effects.
There are a lot of misconceptions around retinol, and we hope this article cleared some of them. When used correctly, retinol can help you look younger and stay healthy from the inside out.