Retinol: The Only Anti-Aging Skincare Ingredient You Need

While few basic skincare ingredients have become household names, one is constantly part of the conversation: retinol. By now, it's no secret that as we age, retinol becomes a woman's best friend and greatest weapon against wrinkles and the ravages of time.

We've all heard of it, but even after years of it being on the market, it's clear that many of us still aren't exactly sure how it works or whether it's right for our skin. To learn as much as possible, (and of course, live our best wrinkles-free lives), we listened to two top dermatologists for a full breakdown on retinol.

They helped us learn everything we wanted to know about using retinol in our skincare routines, including why, how, and when to use it, and any precautions worth following. Continue reading below to learn more about this ingredient and how to decide if Retinol is right for you. 

What is Retinol?
Retinol is a type of retinoid, another form of vitamin A, most commonly used for anti-aging and found in many skin care products today. Many are under the impression that retinal is an exfoliant, but this is not the case. Retinol is actually an antioxidant.
In recent years, retinol has become increasingly popular in the skincare market due to its support of graceful aging and its beneficial effects on the skin. 
What are the benefits of Retinol?
Retinol has many benefits. In fact, Doctor Shah, board-certified dermatologist from the Doctorly YouTube channel with over 1.8 million subscribers,  states that "after sunscreen, it is by far the best ingredient." Below are just a few of the benefits Doctor Shah and other dermatologists love most about Retinol. 

Reduces fine lines and wrinkles: Retinol has been shown to boost collagen production and prevent the loss of collagen and elastin we already have in the skin. This helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and skin laxity.

Improves the texture of your skin: By boosting collagen production, your skin cells have more structure, strength, and nourishment. Additionally, cells on the surface of the skin will be replaced faster, helping smooth your skin and reduce the dullness and dryness of dead skin cells. 

Decrease dark spots: Aside from the texture, retinol also works to decrease hyperpigmentation (brown spots and patches).

Helps prevent sagging skin: Because Retinol boosts collagen and elastin production, this helps to maintain your skin's natural firmness and preserve its structural integrity. This makes it a must-have especially for those looking to prevent or treat the appearance of sagging skin, such as jowls or cheeks.

How and When Should I use Retinol?
It's important to note that the timing of when you apply Retinol is extremely important to the health and safety of your skin!
When using Retinol, you should always opt to apply it during the evenings or at night, when you know you're going to be indoors for several hours (8+). 
This is because Retinol actually makes your skin MORE sensitive to UV rays and sunlight, and it actually decreases the effectiveness of the product because sunlight has been shown to break down Retinol. 
So be sure to use Retinol at night and always be conscious of the outside temperatures and if you're going to be spending some part of your day in direct sunlight.
Side effects of retinol 

As with everything, there are some minor side effects to consider with Retinol before using it. 

The most common side effects are that it can cause dryness, peeling, and irritation to the skin. 

On top of that, it can also make the skin more sensitive to other products and procedures. As such, people with sensitive skin, or underlying skin conditions like eczema, may experience some inflammation from using Retinol. 

As always, if you do have an underlying skin condition, it's best to consult your dermatologist and/or gradually incorporate retinol into your routine slowly over time. 

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