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The Science Behind Retinol – How It Works 

The Science Behind Retinol – How It Works

Retinol helps improve skin texture, smooth blemishes, and fade dark spots and wrinkles. It also helps prevent clogged pores, which lead to blackheads and whiteheads.

Retinol tells the skin cells to multiply more quickly, speeding up dead cell shedding and increasing collagen production. This also helps diminish fine lines and wrinkles, evens skin tone, and reduces hyperpigmentation.

Retinol’s Activation of Retinol Receptors

You may wanna know how to start using retinol for acne, but before that, you need to know the properties of retinol. The fat-soluble vitamin A, retinol, can penetrate through the epidermis (made up of living cells that constantly produce new skin) and, to a lesser degree, the dermis. Once inside the cell, retinol is converted into an active form of vitamin A called retinoic acid, which ultimately triggers several changes in skin cells that promote smoother, more even skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In addition, retinol can reset cell turnover so that dead skin cells are shed more quickly and help reduce the appearance of sunspots and dark marks on the skin.

Retinol is absorbed from the diet in the intestines and is transported to the liver in chylomicrons. Once there, it binds to a retinol-binding protein, which transports it to other cells in the body where its action is required. Retinol can also attach directly to the nuclear receptors that require vitamin A to function, and this binding causes changes in gene expression that lead to cellular growth.

In the eye’s retina, retinol is converted into a molecule called 11-cis-retinal through the activity of a protein called rPE65. The molecule then binds to a protein inside the photoreceptor cell, opsin, and acts as a molecular switch that light activates. The activation of opsin causes the cells to send signals that cause the visual pathway in the brain to be initiated.

Retinol’s Action on Collagen

Retinols and retinoids can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by encouraging skin cell turnover, stimulating new collagen production, and slowing collagen breakdown. It’s important to note that this only happens after some time, and it can take several months to see the results.

Topical retinoids are also effective at increasing Type I collagen, which can help prevent the loss of skin elasticity as you age. Studies have shown that the most potent retinoids (Tretinoin and tazarotene) increase collagen by 80% while inhibiting collagen degradation.

Using a product with retinol will also promote new blood vessels in the skin, giving it a rosy appearance and fading sun spots and discoloration. Retinol can also minimize clogged pores and balance sebum production to keep the complexion clear and blemish-free.

When shopping for a retinol skin care product, look for a stabilized formula to resist degradation and oxidation. You can also find retinol in serum form, which you apply after cleansing and moisturizing. It would always help to use sunscreen when using a retinol product, as it can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. It’s also good to start small and gradually work your way up, as retinol can initially cause minor irritation. This is known as the “routinization” period and is completely normal.

Retinol’s Action on Hyaluronic Acid

Every few months, a new wunderkind skincare ingredient pops up, and the next thing you know, it’s in your masks, serums, foot creams (insert whatever else is in your beauty arsenal here), and the rest of your routine. While these are great additions to your regimen, a few skincare essentials have stood the test of time and become skincare must-haves. Two of those powerhouses are hyaluronic acid and retinol.

Retinol has been scientifically proven to increase cell turnover, which boosts collagen production, evens skin tone, and reduces fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps keep pores clear by decreasing the tendency of dead skin cells to clump together, which can lead to breakouts. It’s also been shown to reduce the appearance of sun spots and hyperpigmentation and even skin tone, smooth texture, and tighten skin.

While these are the most common benefits of retinol, it’s worth noting that it can treat other conditions, including psoriasis, keratosis pilaris, stretch marks, and wound healing. However, the underlying mechanism differs, and the resulting results may be less dramatic.

The bottom line is that retinol works to impact your complexion on a much deeper level than other skin-renewing ingredients like glycolic acid and vitamin C, so it takes a little longer to see the results you want. But if you stick with it and work up to a higher concentration of retinol, you should start to see a difference after four or six weeks.

Retinol’s Action on Acne

While retinol might be the hot new wrinkle-fighting ingredient of the moment, it has been around for decades. It has earned its reputation as one of the best skin care ingredients to prevent aging, improve skin tone and texture, reduce fine lines, and fight acne. The FDA approved it as a topical acne treatment in 1971 under Tretinoin. It was later discovered that it also prevented clogged pores, improved skin tone, and reduced fine lines and wrinkles.

Retinol works by entering the lower layers of the skin and stimulating cell growth, so it keeps the cells active the way they were when you were younger. When used regularly, retinol can increase collagen production, smooth the skin’s surface and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It can take 3-6 months to see noticeable results.

Retinol is a 20-carbon molecule with a cyclohexyl ring, four double bonds, and an alcohol end group. Once it comes in contact with the skin, the alcohol is oxidized to form an aldehyde, which can then be converted into retinoic acid—the robust version of vitamin A that your body uses. This is the main ingredient in prescription retinoids, like Retin-A and Tretinoin. Over-the-counter retinol is often combined with other ingredients that help to soothe and moisturize the skin.

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