What is Retinol?
Retinol is one of those ingredients you hear about everywhere online. People say it can reverse aging, totally eliminate wrinkles, and nourish your skin all at the same time. While retinol is an excellent ingredient in any skincare product, it's important to know what exactly retinol is so you know what to expect, because a lot of these claims tend to get a little inflated and out of hand thanks to the company's marketing team.
Let's take a deep dive into retinol together!
Retinol’s Connection to Vitamin A
You might have previously heard that retinol is the same thing as vitamin A. This isn't exactly true: retinol is actually a derivative of vitamin A, so they're closely related. Retinol is also quite good for your skin's cells.
Technically speaking, retinol is a retinoid, of which there are many different variations. Retinoids are a little more potent than regular retinol, and retinoids can only be acquired with prescription medication. This is why you can sometimes find retinoid creams for serious skin conditions.
Retinol is proportionately weaker but is still valuable for improving your skin's look and feel and, specifically, reducing the appearance of things like wrinkles and dark spots.
Additionally, retinol is actually synthetic. There are natural forms of retinol such as rosehip seed oil and moth bean, which is what you’ll find in all natural skincare products. Best of all, all the benefits of retinol can also be found in its natural forms, so all the goodness you see onward about retinol also applies to moth bean and rosehip seed oil (without the synthetic of course!)
How Does Retinol Work for Your Skin?
At its core, retinol alters how your skin cells function. They specifically can improve the rate at which your cells regenerate or divide to create new cells. Since your skin is normally made up of a layer of older, dead skin cells, applying retinol will cause those skin cells to turn over more quickly. When combined with exfoliation, the resulting skin will be younger, softer, and healthier.
But more importantly, retinol improves your cells' ability to produce two compounds: collagen and elastin.
- Collagen is a key cellular compound that determines how well your cells stick together and, ultimately, how healthy they are.
- Elastin is another compound that determines how elastic your skin is. You don't necessarily want your skin to be "stretchy" per se, but more elastic skin is more supple, plumper, and doesn't split apart with aging lines as easily.
Put together, both of these compounds determine how wrinkly your skin looks, how soft it is, and a few other factors, including:
- How well your skin retains moisture
- How well your skin recovers from mild injuries
- How fast your skin has visual signs of aging like wrinkles and dark spots
As you can see, retinol is a hugely important vitamin for your skin's cellular health over the long term, and if you want to improve the look of the skin you have right now.
Where Can You Find Retinol?
Because of its vast beneficial capabilities, retinol and its natural forms like moth bean can be found in many of the best facial skin care creams and other products. It's not uncommon to find these in moisturizers, cleansers, serums, facemasks, and much more. You can also sometimes find retinol and moth bean in many makeup products designed with natural ingredients.
Suki Skincare's Purifying Face Serum demonstrates these abilities well. When moth bean is combined with other quality ingredients like apple fruit extract, willow bark extract, and lavender oil, the resulting serum infuses your skin with the vitamins and nutrients it needs to look its best all year round.
Brightening and Anti-Aging Effects
Since retinol can improve how well your skin cells reproduce and repair themselves, retinol also has an effect on reducing the appearance of dark spots and aging lines.
Dark spots and aging lines are natural side effects as a result of your skin becoming older and your cells losing their ability to produce the right amount of collagen and elastin. Wrinkles are simply side effects of your cells becoming less elastic. Dark spots are usually small mutations or improperly healed cells that haven't been corrected automatically.
This is why many anti-aging creams advertise retinol as a part of their formulas.
Suki Skincare's Even-Tone Brightening Serum works to this effect. In conjunction with other natural ingredients, it takes retinol’s natural form, moth bean, and can reduce hyperpigmentation and even the appearance of some kinds of scars by promoting your skin cells' natural regenerative abilities and increasing their turnover rate. This particular brightening serum is different from a bleaching product, so it doesn't come with any serious side effects.
Of course, this doesn't mean that retinol nor moth bean can arrest or reverse the aging process. It's better to think of retinol and moth bean as something you get better returns with the earlier you start using it. The healthier your cells stay over the long-term, the more gracefully they will age and the younger you will look even as you collect years under your belt.
That's why it's a great idea to start using a retinol or moth bean product while you're still young.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Even with all their benefits, products that use retinol can cause a few minor side effects for their users. However, these side effects are normally quite temporary and should clear up within a few weeks.
Common side effects include:
- Dry skin or itching. This may be because of allergic reactions to other ingredients in a given skincare product. Alternatively, those who already have dry skin might experience mild irritation, as retinol can sometimes exacerbate the drying effect. Remember, retinol increases how quickly your skin cells turn over, exposing more sensitive and younger cells beneath older ones
- Greater sensitivity to ultraviolet light. This just means you might want to use a good sunscreen while using a retinol product, at least until the sensitivity disappears
In addition to just waiting for the side effects to dissipate on their own, you can also combine any retinol or moth bean product with an excellent moisturizer. Suki Skincare's moisture-rich cleansing lotion for example can go a long way toward sealing in hydration and alleviating the irritation your skin might feel from retinol-based products.
In the end, both synthetic retinol and its natural counterparts are an important vitamin and one of the key compounds used for some of the best skin care products on the market. While it can't reverse aging all by itself, it plays a key role in eliminating wrinkles and dark spots and keeping your skin looking and feeling as good as it can.