What is Retinol?

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, which plays a key role in helping cells regenerate, repair, and turn over.

How does retinol work?

There are two main mechanisms at work: cell turnover and increased collagen levels. The skin’s ability to shed the layer of dead cells on the surface naturally decreases with age, which can make the skin look dull. Retinol increases cell turnover, which makes the skin look brighter and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinols also increase the amount of collagen present in the skin and decrease the amount of enzymes, including collagenases that threaten to break down collagen fibers.

What are the side effects?

Retinol promotes cell turnover, which is part of what makes it so effective but also what may lead to flaky and dry skin. This side effect happens because retinol loosens the connection between the skin cells, and that loosening can increase flakiness.

How can I prevent side effects?

Moisturize before applying retinol, then add another layer of moisturizer on top. Also, avoid using retinol every day right off the bat — you’ll want to increase use as your skin builds tolerance. But if your skin doesn’t seem to be adapting after two weeks of use, you should discontinue use and consult with your cosmetic provider.

What is the dose?

Use a pea-sized drop of retinol two or three nights a week to start. If your skin seems to be tolerating it well after two weeks, try using it every other night for another week or two, eventually working your way up to daily application. Pay attention to how your skin reacts and adjust the frequency of use accordingly.

Should I stop using it in the summer?

Retinol can become deactivated when exposed to sunlight, and it can make the skin more susceptible to sunburn, especially during the first six to eight weeks of use. But any suggestion that you should halt retinol use during the sunny summer months isn’t true. With good sun protection, it is safe and preferable to use year round.

Will it damage my skin over time?

You may have heard that extended retinol use can cause the skin to thin and the skin barrier to degrade as a result of increased cell turnover, but that’s a myth. You don’t need to worry about retinol causing permanent damage.

How long will it take to see results?

Unfortunately, it’s not realistic to expect to see results overnight. t can take a while for the benefits to come through. We recommend committing to at least 12 weeks of use to see results.

Retinol comes in many types, doses and delivery systems – depending on your cosmetic needs. Some types are meant for short term use and some for long term. At BeautoxEtc we offer several options that will fit your specific needs, along with ongoing support to answer any questions or issues that come up. Book your consultation appointment today!

Mary Dealy

Mary Dealy, is a board certified Nurse Practitioner with over 25 years of clinical expertise from some of Massachusetts most prestigious hospitals. She launched BeautoxEtc, a cosmetic dermatology practice located in Medfield, Massachusetts.

Book online or call 508-734-9529.