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Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that has recognized anti-aging benefits.  It can be used to prevent some of the signs of aging as well as to effectively treat existing skin conditions.  Retinol was first used in the 1970s as a treatment for acne.  Since then, retinol has been shown to have other benefits including the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, treating dark spots (hyperpigmentation), treating melasma, addressing uneven skin texture, and tightening enlarged pores.  Retinol is safe for most people to use, with the exception of women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Is retinol the same as retinoid?

Retinol is a type of retinoid.  Topical retinol is available in many over-the-counter products, while retinoid is a higher concentration product available by prescription.  Non-prescription retinol products are available in low concentrations, beginning at 0.01%.  Low doses typically do not cause much irritation to users.  Products containing retinol are available as creams, serums, lotions, and gels.

How does retinol work?

Retinol increases skin cell production, stimulates collagen production, and exfoliates the skin.  Although topical retinol products begin to work immediately after application, it may take several weeks to see improvements to the skin.  This depends on the strength of retinol in the product being used.

Does retinol have side effects?

Retinol can be irritating, so it’s best to start slowly and increase usage as the skin adjusts to the product.  Most people should not use retinol products every day at the beginning.  Retinol can make the skin more sensitive to sunburn, so it’s important to wear sunscreen outdoors.  Some people do experience side effects from retinol including dry flaky skin, itching, redness, and burning.  Aloe gel and hydrocortisone cream can help relieve itching and flakiness.

Benefits of Retinol

Retinol has many benefits as a skincare product.  It brightens skin tone, improves skin texture, boosts collagen production, and helps reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.  Retinol has antioxidant properties which protect the skin from the aging effects of free radicals.

What to Ask Your Doctor about Retinol

If you are new to using retinol, it may be a good idea to schedule a consultation with a health care professional.  There are different types of retinol products in different concentrations.  Not all retinol products are the same!  A doctor can recommend an appropriate product based on your skin type, condition, and the problems you are trying to address.  If you are using retinol in a low strength and have not seen results, your doctor may prescribe a stronger product.

Trust Boca Raton Plastic Surgery Center

Board Certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Cristina Keusch, can recommend high quality products, including the SkinMedica® line, that will enhance the look and feel of your skin.  Dr. Keusch has been in practice at Boca Raton Plastic Surgery Center since 1990.  A thorough analysis of your skin’s condition, including your skincare history and expectations, are important considerations when choosing appropriate skincare products.  Contact us to schedule a consultation.