Retinol: All You Need To Know

Retinol: All you need to know - blog |

What is it?

Retinol is a type of retinoid, made from vitamin A. It’s long been a favourite among dermatologists when addressing skin conditions such as acne, enlarged pores, wrinkles and sun damage. Retinol changes the way that a cell functions and how quickly it divides into new cells so that the protective top layer of skin, the epidermis, improves its strength and elasticity.

Want to know a little more science behind it?

Stanford dermatologist Zakia Rahman, MD, explains that while some users of retinol initially experience some sensitivity to the ingredient, that soon dissipates, leaving behind an invaluable aid in improving your skin’s condition. “As we age, there is a decline in the natural production of collagen and elastic fibres that give your skin lift and bounce in the epidermis. That makes our skin more frail and thin, which leads to wrinkles, sun spots and other types of visible skin,” she says on Stanford Medicine’s online publication, Scope.

How does it help your skin?

That’s where retinol comes to the rescue, explains Rahman. “They increase the production of natural chemicals (such as hyaluronic acid) in your skin that keep it plump and moist. They stimulate collagen production and inhibit the breakdown of collagen that already exists. They also block several inflammatory pathways that exacerbate pimples and acne.”

And what about those remarkably similar-sounding retinoids? Well, they’re not the same thing, but they are relatives: retinoids and retinol are both derivatives of vitamin A, and perform similar functions, but retinoids are quite a bit more potent – which is why they’re generally used only in more intense, pharmaceutical treatments. For your everyday use, retinol is the go-to ingredient to keep on call.

WHERE VITAMIN A IS FOUND: Beef, chicken liver, egg, fish, cantaloupe, carrot, squash, sweet potato and pumpkin

BENEFITS: Retinyl palmitate, or vitamin A palmitate, is the ester of retinol and palmitic acid, a type of vitamin A, helps to treat acne by stimulating the growth of new skin cells and stopping your skin from producing too much sebum. It's also a well-known anti-ageing ingredient that reduces fine lines and wrinkles – ideal if they've arrived already or if you're using the ingredient to keep them at bay. Retinyl Palmitate is a great option for people with sensitive skin.

SHOP PRODUCT: Retinol Renew Serum, Active Brightening Facial Cream, a natural alternative for Retinol would be Bakuchiol Replenish & Repair Skin Barrier Serum