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What Is Retinol and Why Should I Use It?

Retinol is a form of vitamin A and part of the broader category of retinoids. It has been a popular skin care ingredient for years and can address a variety of skin concerns including wrinkles and acne. You can find it in over-the-counter topical products such as creams or serums, or as prescription solutions that your dermatologist can recommend. Although people may mistake retinol for an exfoliant, it is an antioxidant.

You can get retinol in different levels of concentration and should usually start with lower ones to allow your skin to acclimate to this ingredient. You may also want to speak with your dermatologist first if you are unsure whether you have any contraindication for retinol use.

How Does Retinol Work?

You can expect to see results from consistent use of retinol within several weeks or a few months depending on several factors, including the concentration levels in the product you are using, your skin type, and your specific dermatological concerns. Make sure to properly moisturize and wear sunscreen every day when using retinol. You may also use retinol only as part of your nighttime routine.

Possible side effects of retinol include:

  • Dryness
  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Peeling
  • Sun sensitivity
  • Acne breakouts

If you find that results are taking longer than you would like or simply do not see any, you should schedule an appointment with your dermatologist rather than switching to a stronger retinol product.

What Can Retinol Treat?

Retinoids, including retinol, have a powerful impact on skin cells and improve their regeneration cycle. By boosting your skin on a cellular level, retinol can address a wide range of dermatological concerns and conditions. It can be a key instrument in creating and maintaining a radiant glow.

When you need prescription treatments for certain conditions like acne, incorporating retinol into your skin care regimen can boost your results. Although most people associate retinol with facial products, you can also use it for other parts of the body.

Retinol can treat:

  • Acne including whiteheads and blackheads
  • Acne scars
  • Discoloration
  • Psoriasis
  • Dullness

Retinoids can also play a significant role in anti-aging treatments by:

  • Helping your skin retain water
  • Improving your body’s collagen and elastin production
  • Increasing cell turnover
  • Reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Thickening the deeper layers of your skin

Who Should Not Use Retinol?

You should not use retinol without consulting a dermatologist if you:

  • Are allergic to any ingredient in a retinol product
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have certain skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, or severe acne
  • Have dry or sensitive skin that peels or gets irritated easily
  • You do not always wear sunscreen and spend a lot of time in the sun

Even if you are not in any of those situations, you want to be careful not to use retinol in combination with certain skin care products like astringents, tones, or vitamin C. Using those ingredients together may increase your chances of irritation.

Should I Talk to My Dermatologist Before Using Retinol?

Retinol is available in many declinations as an over-the-counter skin care solution. It can be a convenient first step if you just want to try it out and do not have any known contraindications. The lower concentration can ease your skin into regular use even if it means waiting longer to enjoy results.

However, talking with your dermatologist before using retinol is a good idea. This may help you get the results you want and have a greater understanding of how retinol works and what type of dosage and specific retinoid products fits your needs and goals.

Call Advanced Dermatology Center today at (818) 284-4003 or use our online form to schedule a consultation to discuss the benefits of retinol in Burbank!