What it is:
Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A. Fat-soluble, it is the form of Vitamin A most easily absorbed by the body.
What it does:
Retinol is an antioxidant that can counteract the damage free radicals inflict on skin cells. It stimulates collagen production and promotes skin cells renewal, thus lessening the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.
In addition, retinol improves the skin’s hydration level, texture, tone, and colour.
Finally, it is an effective treatment for acne.
At first, retinol can irritate skin, causing redness, itching, and even a mild stinging feeling. If that happens to you, use it only every other day or opt for a lower concentration until your skin has got used to it.
Retinol can increase sun sensitivity, which is why it is best used at night. If you want to use it during the day, apply sunscreen as well.
Retinol breaks down, and slowly loses its efficacy, every time it is exposed to light and air. Therefore, opt for products packaged in opaque, air-tight bottles and tubes.
Finally, retinol shouldn’t be used while pregnant or nursing.
(Source: Arch Dermatol. 2007, Pharmaceutical Research January 2006, and J Am Acad Dermatol. 1995 May)
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