What you should know about Retinoids
Ask a Cosmetic Chemist
Retinoids are proven to take years off your look.
Here is everything you need to know about the miracle skincare ingredient group - Retinoids
Retinoids - What Are They?
"Retinoid" is the blanket term for Vitamin A's synthetic and natural derivatives. Its biologically active forms include retinol, retinal and retinoic acid. There are several derivatives of retinoids, from prescribed strength to low strength. Potent retinoids such as Tretinoin (Retin-A) and Tazarotene can only be prescribed by a doctor.
How Do Retinoids Work And The Benefits
Retinoids work a few different ways in the skin.
1. Promotes cell turnover
It is believed to promote rapid cell turnover and thicken the subcutaneous layer of the skin.
2. Boosts collagen production
Over a period of use, Retinoids stop the collagen breakdown and boost the production of matrix proteins - both collagen and elastin that help prevent the formation of wrinkles and fine lines, bringing back the suppler bouncy.
3. Brightens the complexion
Some vitamin A derivatives encourage the production of new blood vessels in the skin, enhancing the complexion.
4. Exfoliates dead skin cells
Help exfoliate dead skin cells (older keratinocytes) at an increased rate avoiding clogged pores.
5. Unclogs pores
Clear out the skin by unclogging pores and control further outbreaks from occurring.
6. Potent antioxidant
Most of them act as antioxidants that help repair free radical damage, reduce discolouration, pigmentation and even out the skin.
Retinoid Uses In Cosmetic And Skin Care Treatments
Low-strength retinoids are lauded for their clinically proven ability to speed up the skin's cell cycle, similar to prescription-strength retinoic acid if it's formulated correctly.
(Note - Retinoids on prescription are potent and work faster. On the other hand, Retinoids in cosmetic products take longer to serve their purpose but impart the same results over time in a gentle way).
Four different types of over-the-counter retinoids
The gold standard for anti-ageing skincare because it defies the behaviour of matured cells, so they function in a more youthful manner targeting texture to tone. Retinol concentration lies between 0.0015% and 0.3% in cosmetic products.
Due to the oxidized form of retinol, retinal is less effective than retinol but well tolerated. It improves photo ageing skin but slowly addresses wrinkles and fine lines.
A derivative with a retinoid-like activity helps treat mild-moderate acne.
4. Retinyl Esters:
Retinyl acetate and Retinyl palmitate are stable retinyl esters used in cosmeceuticals. These esters need to be converted to retinol in the skin by breaking the ester bond and then into retinoic acid.
Even though these more steps result in weaker efficacy as compared to retinol and retinoic acid, retinyl palmitate can deliver the same anti-wrinkle and other anti-ageing effects in long term use while being gentler on the skin.
As per the opinion of Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety - SCCS, the recommended usage concentrations of Retinyl Palmitate for leave-on products is between 0.05% to 0.3%.
Despite the numerous skin-loving benefits retinoids have, it is important to keep in mind that no single ingredient exists, fulfilling all the skincare needs. – Retinoid is no exception.
Seven tips for applying Retinoids
1. Retinoids can be beneficial for most skin types, but all skin types cannot tolerate them, particularly with sensitive skin conditions like rosacea.
2. Retinoid is a powerful OTC ingredient. It is best to start with low strength on alternate days and gradually increase the strength and frequency of usage.
3. Use a well-formulated gentle cleanser, hydrating serum and moisturizer to increase the skin's tolerance level to Retinoids.
4. Retinoids containing products work best when combined with other active ingredients, especially antioxidants, calming and hydrating substances.
5. If you are using an acne routine with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or a prescription-strength product, which may already have a form of retinoid, adding more retinoids could aggravate the skin.
6. Retinoids increase skin sensitivity; Apply a sunscreen of 30 or higher on top during the day to protect the skin.
7. Pregnant or breastfeeding women are not recommended to apply retinoids.
- Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments
- Do retinoids really reduce wrinkles?
- A comparative study of the effects of retinol and retinoic acid
- Improvement of Naturally Aged Skin With Vitamin A (Retinol)
- Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne
- Cosmeceuticals: The Evidence Behind the Retinoids
- Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety on Vitamin A
Hope you find this helpful. Follow us on Instagram @ewalibeauty for more skincare updates.
M.Sc. in Medical Microbiology, B.Sc. in Applied Science (major in Chemistry and Botany) and more than 8 years of industrial experience. In her career, she has formulated 600+ new products, reformulated existing products and created experimental studies to resolve problems during projects.
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