A powerful acne treatment, retinoids can also help fade hyperpigmentation and slow down collagen breakdown. According to dermatologists, adding one to your routine is the best way to see results.
If you’re a newbie, start by applying low-concentration retinol, like 0.2 percent, to your skin every other day. Then, gradually increase frequency over a few weeks.
In a skincare-loving, millennial world, we’ve all committed to achieving a truly clean canvas—which translates to radiant, blemish-free skin. Thankfully, one of the best ingredients known for fighting blemishes is retinol. But how does retinol help with acne and other skin issues?
Retinol is an effective exfoliant that helps slough away dead skin cells and prevents them from building up in the pores, which can cause clogged pores and acne breakouts. It also works to decrease oil production, decrease inflammation (which is involved in the formation of acne), and even lighten the red marks left behind from a pimple.
Adding a topical retinoid can significantly improve your skin’s appearance. Still, using the product sparingly and gradually at first is essential to avoid over-exfoliating or irritating your skin.
Another great thing about retinol is that it can help heal existing acne scars, as it’s a keratolytic agent and slows the overgrowth of new skin cells. It can also help discoloration and reduce blemishes caused by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (aka dark spots that occur after a blemish clears). Retinol can be a very effective acne treatment, but it is vital to use it correctly to avoid side effects. If you are considering using retinol for acne, talk to your dermatologist first.
Over time, the sun invisibly penetrates your skin and causes damage to microscopic cells, particularly the fibroblasts, which are responsible for creating collagen and elastic tissue. The basal and squamous cells also become damaged, contributing to wrinkles. Your melanocytes (pigment cells) can become overactive, resulting in dark spots known as hyperpigmentation. Retinol works to remove layers of damaged skin and stimulates new collagen and elastic tissue formation. It can also lighten or fade dark spots and even out skin tone.
It can take several months to see results from your retinol treatment, but be patient; it is worth it! It’s also important to protect your skin from the sun while using retinol and to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen daily. Many people are concerned that retinol will make their skin sensitive to sunlight. This is false, but you should be cautious if you have sensitive skin, especially when using it. If you use a prescription strength retinol, it is best to avoid the sun altogether.
Retinol is available over the counter in various strengths, but it is crucial to start with a low-strength product and gradually increase the strength as your skin tolerates it. Retinol can be irritating, so it is best to apply it to clean, dry skin at night and to wear sunscreen during the day.
Pores are an essential part of your skin — they allow hair follicles to pass through and let oil and dead skin wash away. But enlarged pores can be unsightly, especially on men’s faces. Fortunately, retinol can help. A study found that topical retinoids reduce the appearance of large pores. This is because retinoids make your skin cells thicker, preventing clogged pores that can develop black and whiteheads (also known as comedones).
Retinoids are also helpful for psoriasis. The skin disorder can be treated with a prescription-strength vitamin called isotretinoin. Psoriasis causes new skin cells to grow too fast, creating a thick, scaly rash. Retinoids can slow the growth of new cells and may also help control inflammation. Lastly, retinoids can help fade dark spots on the face, hands, or arms caused by sun damage. Excess melanin usually makes these marks, which can show sun damage to your skin.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that affects the skin. It occurs when immune system cells overreact and trigger rapid cell growth, leading to thick, scaly patches of skin. Many people with psoriasis also have emotional distress due to how their disease makes them look. This can lead to low self-esteem, social isolation, and depression. It is vital to manage stress and stay at a healthy weight, as obesity can trigger psoriasis. Vitamin A can help control psoriasis by slowing down the speed at which skin cells replace themselves. Topical retinoids (gel, cream, liquid) are available from your doctor to rub on the affected areas of the skin. These are used in addition to other psoriasis treatments, such as phototherapy and steroid creams. They can be incredibly effective, though it takes time for the results to appear.
Oral retinoids are also available. Acitretin is used to treat severe psoriasis and works to reduce inflammation. It does not suppress the immune system, making it safer to use in HIV patients. The only drawback is that it is expensive and requires a long work period.