Retinol is the super hero of all anti-aging substances to which a long list of capabilities are attributed. Here is a small selection: Retinol improves the structure of the skin, reduces wrinkles, gives you a rosy complexion, moisturizes, reduces age spots, makes the skin more robust and provides an even skin tone. If Retinol would not also be known for causing initial redness, it would be found in all creams and serums. This small flaw keeps a large part of the population from using Retinol. Wrongly so find the authors, because the adaptation to this super hero can be achieved with a little ingenuity.
Retinol = Vitamin A
Retinol is pure Vitamin A. At the same time “Vitamin A” is a collective term for all Vitamin-A derivatives. They are called “Retinoides” and can be of natural or synthetic source. The best known Retinoides are Tretinoin, Isotretinoin, Alitretinoin and of course Retinol our favorite Retinoid.
Well tolerated Retinol
Tretinoin is known by many from acne therapy. Most users are also aware of the anti-aging properties and it is known to almost everyone that it causes redness and itching. This reaction is the reason why Tretinoin cannot be used over long periods of time because the inflammations can become chronic. Not so with Retinol!!
Retinol can do everything that Tretinoin can, as long as the dosage is raised and used over a long period of time. However, the important difference is that there are less side effects and even better- the skin can get used to Retinol so that it can be used daily over a longer period of time. Therefore nothing stands in the way of the desired long-term use.
The authors each have 20 years of acne therapy with different therapies and combined therapies behind them. The topical treatment with Tretinoin, ingested Isotretion, as well as topical and ingested antibiotics (next to numerous others) had to be interrupted repeatedly. During these interruptions the acne became worse and we had to start all over again. Today, 20 years later, our findings: The best strategy against pimples is to choose Vitamin A, specifically Retinol, which can be applied to the skin daily, preferably twice a day. Moreover a degreasing cleanser has a very positive effect on the pimple-count (Wash-Scrub-Oil control). Most important is the daily use of Retinol and the daily thorough degreasing of the skin. Because the cause of acne - the excessive sebum production, keratinization disorder and bacteria – also affect the skin daily therefore necessitating daily counter measures - a prerequisite for lasting success.
The super-power of the Retinoides
If you look at the studies it is evident that Retinoides are known for reducing the signs of UV skin aging. Photo-aging and Retinoides are well researched. When applied to the skin wrinkles are reduced, the skin becomes softer, evener and rosy and hyperpigmentation (spots from skin pigment) is reduced.
Retinoides significantly increase collagen production (up to 80 %). The number of fibroblasts (cell producers) is increased, the keratinocyte production (main skin cells) is boosted, the outer skin layer, the epidermis, becomes thicker and stabilizes. The accelerated cell-renewal process and the intensified shedding of the uppermost skin layer (Stratum Corneum) additionally rejuvenate the skin.
Retinoides penetrate to the Dermis, circulation is increased. Interestingly the connection of the Epidermis to the Dermis is rejuvenated, as the nub-like links of both skin layers at the interpapillary ridges (rete pegs) is strengthened since the wavy arches bend more with Retinoides. The better the rete pegs’ interconnect, the firmer the skin.
Generally, less matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) are released. They promote inflammation and degradation of collagen. Retinol inhibits his process.
An added positive effect is that the skin coloring substance, Melanin, is reduced and distributed more evenly – resulting in an even complexion and less lentigines (spots). The fewer spots on the skin the better. Spots make the skin look agitated and aged.
Retinol a sunscreen?
Less well known is that Retinoides also protect against sun damage. Is the skin pretreated with Vitamin A, less UV damage is sustained. Now you probably ask yourself why is there always a warning of a higher sun sensitivity when using Vitamin A. How does that fit together? On the one hand there is less protection from the corneal layer since it flakes off faster. The protection of the corneal layer is not high, not more than protection factor 4, but it is still protection. On the other hand Retinol impedes the production of Melanin, which is why part of the natural sun protection with skin pigmentation is missing.
Collagen- killer sun
Let’s not forget that the first signs of aging that we see in the mirror are mainly caused by the UV radiation. The typical skin changes from light-induced ageing are wrinkles, pigment spots, old age spots, freckles, rough and uneven skin, visible small red veins and ashen skin. Keeping the sun-damage at bay is the motto. Therefore sun protection is THE number one anti-aging measure.
Retinol in daily care
The most effective method is to apply Retinol creams twice daily. This gives the skin a kick to increase its own cell activity and initiate the anti-aging process.