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Anti-Aging Veteran: Retinol

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

While growth factors may be the newest ingredients on the block to fight aging, a tried and true ingredient should not be ignored as part of your anti-aging arsenal: retinol. Retinol belongs to a group of skin care ingredients called retinoids and is derived from Vitamin A. Retinoids can unclog pores, boost collagen and speed cell turnover. The result is clearer and firmer skin with a more even tone.  

Perscription retinoids like Retin-A, Renova and Tazorac are clinically proven to provide these anti-aging benefits, but recent claims have also linked their use to thinning skin and chronic inflammation. Though this is often due to the patient’s over- or improper use of the medication, perscription strength retinoids are still sometimes too irritating for certain skin types. Retinol, a more gentle alternative, is a viable option for the majority of those of us seeking smooth, ageless skin.

Due to its powerful ability to increase cell turnover, improve pigmentation and reduce wrinkles, Dr. Windt strongly recommends that all patients over forty use a retinol product.  

Numerous options exist with products that now combine retinols with other anti-aging superheros to create potent serums. When combined with phytic acid, PCA Skin’s Intensive Clarity Treatment tames enlarged pores, breakouts, and hyperpigmentation. The companion formulation, PCA Skin’s Intensive Age Refining Treatment, blends retinol with antioxidants and other soothing ingredients to reduce irritation while improving texture, luminosity and pigmentation. SkinMedica retinol products contain a patented ingredient formulation to slow the absorption of retinol into the skin, gradually infusing the skin with age-fighting power with little chance of irritation.

Still, some caution is recommended for patients using retinols:  

  • Use a sunscreen.
  • Do not use in conjunction with flaking products like alpha hydroxy acids.
  • Don’t use the product directly under the eyes.
  • Don’t use if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Don’t slather yourself in the product; use a minimal amount as recommended by your aesthetician.
  • Use every other day or as directed by your aesthetician to start.
  • Discontinue for a week or more before and after an intensive skin treatment, as directed by your aesthetician.  

If for whatever reason you do end up with a flake-fest or noticeable redness on your face, cut back and discuss the reaction with your aesthetician. For most patients, this is caused by over-use, a “if some is good, more must be better” mentality. Proper use and gradual acclimation to the product should produce desireable anti-aging results, not a blazing red, itchy face. It takes a little patience and moderation for retinols to work their magic – but it’s worth it.

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