BAXT CosMedical® has recommended retinol for years. But do you understand what it does? Is it really that effective for skin care? Does retinol play a role in anti-aging skincare? Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Baxt says YES!
In most skincare products, retinol is a featured ingredient. “It is a great over-the-counter retinoid that helps minimize fine lines. It also can reduce wrinkles and fade sun damage,” says Dr. Baxt. “Dr. Sadia Baxt and I often recommend using retinol along with glycolic acid products and vitamin C antioxidants.” Because starting a healthy skincare plan early offers long-term results, your mid-twenties are a great time to start using retinol.
WHAT IS RETINOL?
Retinol is a retinoid. Like other retinoids such as retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate, it is a byproduct of Vitamin A. Because it increases cell turnover, Vitamin A offers anti-aging properties. So, this vitamin is one of the body’s key nutrients for healthier skin.
Dr. Rebecca Baxt says that OTC retinol is not as strong as prescriptions strength Retin-A (Tretinoin). So, your skin may tolerate an OTC product more easily. Retin-A and Tazorac are vitamin A-based drugs called retinoids. Both require a doctor’s prescription. These medications are used to treat acne, hyperpigmentation and psoriasis. Medication may not be the answer for your acne, pigmentation conditions. Ask Dr. Baxt what the right treatment is for your skin problems. View B/A gallery of acne and photo facial patients.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF RETINOL AND HOW DO I APPLY?
Retinol typically causes mild irritation and dryness of your skin. In addition, all retinoids make your skin very sensitive to the sun. Patients are also more sensitive to facial waxing. We caution our patients to take the following precautions.
- Stop retinol a week before a waxing procedure
- Always apply sunscreen
- Wear a hat in the sun
Additional side effects are usually redness and flaking. Below are application techniques that Dr. Baxt recommends for best results.
- Start with a small amount
- Limit application to two or three nights in the beginning
- Wait 20 to 30 minutes after washing before applying. Avoid putting retinol on damp skin.
As your skin begins to adjust over time, you will notice less irritation. If your skin continues to be too dry, add a moisturizer to the retinol. Because this dilutes the product, it can make it more easily tolerated.
A word of caution: People with sensitive skin (or have skin conditions such as rosacea or eczema) should schedule a consultation with a dermatologist before using retinol.
When it comes to the first line of defense in reversing the visible signs of skin aging, retinol is the industry’s gold standard ingredient. It has the power to help accelerate skin renewal. Retinol can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. You get healthier, smoother and more evenly-toned skin. Retinol is a key ingredient in our anti-aging kit!
Read more about Retinol in a recently published New York Times article.