Retinol: benefits and tips to start using it

  • By:karen-millen



Retinol is one of those ingredients that resonates in the world of cosmetics with increasing force. It is known for its anti-wrinkle and depigmenting effects, two essential benefits in any beauty routine, especially for mature or blemish-prone skin.

DosFarma experts explain that it is a retinoid, that is, a substance derived from vitamin A, one of those that most influences aging and skin health.

Specifically, retinol is a precursor to retinoic acid, a molecule that acts directly on the nucleus of cells. This acid has multiple benefits for the skin, but it also irritates it. For this reason, cosmetics use retinol as a substitute for acid, since it has all these benefits, but does not cause the same irritation.

In addition, DosFarma experts tell us what are the main reasons why this substance has gained a foothold in the world of cosmetics.

-It stimulates collagen production. Collagen is a protein that is present throughout the body, as it is the main component of the connective tissues that make up muscles, skin or tendons. Thus, collagen is responsible for giving firmness and elasticity to the structures of the body and also to the skin. However, over time, the production of this protein is reduced, so the skin tends to look looser and less smooth and hydrated. Retinol helps the body produce collagen. That, consequently, helps to reduce the damage caused by aging (wrinkles, dryness, expression lines...).

-Promotes cell regeneration. Cellular regeneration occurs naturally approximately every 28 days when we are younger. From the age of 30, the renewal of cells is slower, and this influences the skin to dry out and age. The main attraction of retinol is that it acts directly on the nucleus of cells. Unlike regular exfoliants, retinol products don't just help renew surface cells, they work deep down. This is because this substance has a low molecular weight and is also fat-soluble (that is, it dissolves in body fat), so it reaches the deepest layers of the skin. In other words: it does not exfoliate, but it renews.

Likewise, it is an antioxidant, which means that it reduces the damage caused by free radicals, molecules that are released naturally in the body and are the ones that cause cell aging.

Retinol: beneficios y consejos para empezar a utilizarlo

-Anti-acne effect. Its benefits as a skin regenerator make it a common ingredient in anti-acne cosmetics. Helps to eliminate dead cells and fat, in this way the pores are cleaner and favors the disappearance of pimples, while preventing them from reappearing.

-Reduction of stains. It helps to stop the production of melanin, the pigment that gives color to hair and skin. For this reason, it is an essential ingredient in the routine of people who have spots, which are accumulations of melanin.

Retinol is a substance with great benefits in anti-aging routines. However, it requires a little learning, as it can become irritating if incorporated abruptly, since it has an effect similar to that of an exfoliation, although more in depth. For this reason, DosFarma provides some advice, as an initiation guide, for those who want to incorporate this ingredient into their usual routine.

1. Start small. It is important to note that retinol has a mild irritating effect. It is normal to feel a slight stinging or tingling sensation with the first few applications. Therefore, the key is to start small and gradually introduce it into the routine. It is recommended to start by applying it twice a week for a couple of weeks. Then every other day for another two weeks. From there, the skin will be used to its effects and can be applied daily without any problem.

As for the dose, the ideal is to start with very small amounts. There are products that have a low concentration, just 0.01% or 0.03%, so they are perfect for the first few days. A pea-sized amount is enough to get you started. Later, products containing it in a higher percentage can be added.

2. Apply it together with sunscreen. You should use sunscreen all year round, regardless of whether it is hot, cold, sunny or rainy. Ultraviolet radiation is present in any season and is capable of passing through clothing and clouds. However, it is even more important to use sunscreen if we are using a retinol treatment. This substance favors the regeneration of the skin and this, when it is new, is more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Consequently, newly regenerated skin is more vulnerable to burns and blemishes. Consequently, most retinol-containing products are recommended for use at night.

Now, if the product so indicates, it can also be applied during the day, but always with sun cream. It is important to keep in mind that, although retinol is applied only at night, sunscreen in the morning is essential.

3. Stop if excessive irritation is noted. Each skin is a world. The key is to find the amount necessary to enjoy its effects without irritating; therefore, if you notice that it is too sensitive, you can stop and wait a few days. When resuming it, it must be done again with the lower amount, to get used to it again. In any case, it is also important to consult a dermatologist or a pharmacist specialized in the skin.

4. Do not apply together with vitamin C products. Vitamin C is another of the great ingredients in anti-aging cosmetics. It also helps produce collagen and has antioxidant effects. It is logical to weigh that combining a product with vitamin C and another with retinol will generate a double anti-aging action. However, the exfoliation-like effect of retinol is enhanced by vitamin C, leading to more irritation. Therefore, the ideal is to alternate them (for example, one at night and one in the morning), instead of applying them at the same time.

Another valid option is to use a single product that already contains both ingredients, combined in the right doses to achieve the benefits of both.

5. Avoid it during pregnancy. Vitamin A, among other things, is involved in many processes in the body and affects the development of the embryo. In too high doses, it can even cause malformations. This vitamin is already present in many foods, such as eggs, dairy products, carrots or broccoli, so a balanced diet already provides the necessary amounts and it is not recommended to add more through cosmetics with retinol, which is a derived from this vitamin.

6. Use it on clean skin. Retinol is a substance that can be found in many different cosmetic products, such as serums or creams. As we would do with any other product, they should be applied to clean skin, previously washed with some facial soap, to ensure that its components penetrate correctly.

7. Use a specific product for the eye area. The skin around the eyes is much thinner and more sensitive than the rest of the face. Therefore, it is necessary to choose a cream that, in addition to retinol, is designed to hydrate that area. There are eye contour creams that may contain low doses of Retinol or encapsulated, to improve its tolerance.

Because you are the most important...

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