When the goal is preventing aging as well as correcting existing damage virtually all dermatologists agree daily retinoid use is the answer. The term "retinoids" refers to vitamin A and the various molecules derived from vitamin A, which itself is also known as retinol (ROL). In the skin, ROL is converted to retinaldehyde (RAL) and then to retinoic acid (RA). Misuse of the terminology has led to much confusion around the whole issue of Vitamin A derivatives and their use, but I’ll keep it as straightforward as possible by limiting our discussion to skin aging and what retinoids like retinol/retinaldehyde/tretinoin can do to prevent and even reverse visible signs of aging such as wrinkles and age spots.
Vitamin A is essential for normal skin cell development and differentiation:
The encouraging news for people with photoaged skin is how retinoids work to reverse the damage. The magic trick involves:
In brief, as we age the epidermis thickens while the dermis thins. Use of retinoids inverts that aging process, so long term retinoid users enjoy an age-spot and wrinkle-free epidermis supported by a lovely thick dermis. The findings are that early retinol usage also helps delay the aging process, so the best time to start using retinol is early thirties, when your cell turnover rate begins to slow. One of the benefits of getting an early start on OTC retinols is that you can hold off on prescription retinoids until your forties or fifties.
If retinoids are so good, why do some people stay clear of them?
There are many reasons--some people believe their skin is too “sensitive,” others have tried them and discontinued them due to a “reaction,” still others fear that retinoids are not “natural,” and should be avoided. The truth is that retinoids are the common denominator of skin care; while every skin is different, almost every skin can benefit from them. Of course a crucial exception applies to those who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or nursing.
Some companies in the “natural” camp try to advance the argument that the retinol (aka Vitamin A) found in rosehip seed oil (or some other plant) is somehow just as good as retinol, the Vitamin A derivative. It’s a specious argument that takes advantage of the fact that retinol can refer either to Vitamin A or the Vitamin A derivative that exerts powerful effects on skin health via conversion from retinol to retinaldehyde, thence to the retinoic acid. At the end of the day, it’s only RA (retinoic acid) that modulates gene expression and influences cellular processes in both the epidermis and the dermis, and the path to get there is either indirectly via retinol (the Vitamin A derivative, not to be confused with Vitamin A) or retinaldehyde, or directly with tretinoin (retinoic acid). And now that we’ve cleared that up let’s forge right ahead to the last hurdle. Almost there!
A few symptoms common to the beginning stages of retinoid use might explain why many people either fear to try them or discontinue their use before they’ve had the opportunity to revel in the improvements. Retinoids initially can cause peeling and some redness, a process called facial retinization. Users should be aware that this is normal and even to be expected — peeling and redness are side effects of retinoids working at a profound level to influence gene expression, resulting eventually in enhanced collagen production, skin smoothing, and evening out of pigmentation.
When people experience such symptoms they often make the mistake of stopping their treatment program, then waiting until the skin gets “better” before beginning again. Giving the top layer of skin time to rebuild can unfortunately initiate another round of redness and peeling which ultimately delays the anticipated therapeutic benefits.
While every skin has its own idiosyncrasies, almost every skin can benefit from retinoids. Here are some tips to make your retinoid journey successful, even if you’ve had trouble in the past.
The dermatologists’ final answer is:
Nothing having to do with application decides how much of the retinol is converted into retinoic acid, the form of vitamin A that actually repairs skin. That's solely related to your skin's chemistry and retinoid receptors.
To sum it all up: order of application is not important, what matters is that you find the type of retinoid that best suits you, make it a part of your skin care routine, and be consistent in its use. You’ll be very happy you made the effort.
Our OTC retinol serums, formulated to be well-tolerated by even the most sensitive skins, successfully address both acne and aging skin issues.
GENTLE RETINOL NIGHT SERUM
Our high tech formula permits anhydrous Vitamin C and microencapsulated retinol, with stabilization assist from Vitamin E, to coexist to deliver near-miraculous results.
TREATMENT RETINOL SERUM
Gentle Retinol Night Serum is for aging skin and Treatment Retinol is for acne related issues--same formulation but different categories
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