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Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, has anti-aging benefits when used as a topical skin firming product. These products can rejuvenate the skin by diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, enhancing skin tone and texture, and increasing the skin’s resiliency. Retinol products are available in creams and gels in prescription and over-the-counter versions.

How Retinol Works

Products containing retinol cause the surface skin cells to turn over quickly, making way for new cell growth. Retinol helps the body produce more collagen and elastin, which plumps the skin. As the skin tightens, fine lines and wrinkles become less apparent. Results will be subtle and temporary and may not be noticeable for several weeks after starting the product. For best results, retinol would need to be used as part of a regular skincare routine.

Non-Prescription Products

Over-the-counter products contain retinol in varying concentrations. The higher the concentration, the stronger and more effective the product. When beginning to use these products, it is recommended to start with a lower concentration to condition the skin and then work up. Though non-prescription retinol products are less irritating than their prescription counterparts, the results will be less dramatic. Some products that claim to contain retinol have such small amounts that their effectiveness is suspect.

Dr. Cristina Keusch recommends SkinMedica® Retinol Complex 0.5 to resurface the skin to improve the appearance of wrinkles and uneven skin tone. This product is appropriate for all skin types pre-conditioned by using Retinol Complex 0.25 or another retinoid product.

Prescription Formulas

Prescription products contain retinoic acid in a stronger form that immediately binds with receptors on the skin cells. Prescription users may see improved cell turnover for clear, fresh-looking skin that is smoother with tighter pores. Production of melanin, a dark pigment, is inhibited so skin will be less splotchy. There is an adjustment period while the skin acclimates to treatment. A pea size amount used once or twice a week is a typical dose until the user determines their sensitivity to the product. Side effects may include irritation, redness, roughness, flaking, and peeling. These usually subside in two to four weeks. A prescription retinoid can also be used to treat acne.

Retinol is not recommended for people with sagging skin. Another type of skin tightening treatment will likely be more effective. Retinoids should not be used by pregnant women as they have been linked to birth defects.

Patients can purchase the SkinMedica® Retinol at the Boca Raton Plastic Surgery Center office or sign up for our 8-week subscription plan through our online store. Also, visit our online store to view all SkinMedica® products. Contact us to learn more.