Should I be Using Retinol?



What is retinol and should you be using it in your home-care regimen? Retinol, and Retin-A are both Vitamin A derived products that help to keep the skin exfoliated. When people ask what products make the most significant improvement and changes in the skin, retinol is not “negotiable” and should absolutely be involved in a patient’s skin care regimen (at night time, a few times a week) for optimal skin health and best practices in age management.

How does retinol work? Retinol helps to speed up the skin cells natural turn over rate, thus helping and improving fine lines + wrinkles, redness, discoloration from hormones + sun exposure, as well as minimizing breakouts.

Myth #1: “I’ve tried retinol before, and I was allergic to it.”- Patients sometimes feel as though they do not tolerate retinol well, and this is a very common misconception. While retinol is “active” and takes a little time to build a tolerance to, most patients are not “allergic” to it. During the tolerance building phase, it is not uncommon to feel a little itchy, or experience minor redness-especially if the patient is using the product too frequently. My best recommendation is to start using retinol 1-2 times per week (at night time only) and slowly increasing frequency from that point. Itching and redness will fade over time, and can be avoided all together if the patient starts with the recommended 1-2 times per week application.

Myth #2: “Retinol makes me dry and peel too much.” Another misconception with retinol is that is makes the skin “dry” or “flaky”. While retinol should be used with a hydrating moisturizer, (our practice favorites being skinmedica or pca skin) retinol will not make you feel “dry” when used appropriately. Patients should again, build a tolerance slowly and the negative side effects that are often noticed with retinol will be less-evident. Another important note about retinol is that it will initially make the patient peel slightly as the outermost layer of skin is being shed.

Do I need a prescription for retinol? There are many formulations of retinol available on the market for purchase. In former years, prescription retinols and “retin-a” were held as the highest standard. Our office has discontinued carrying our prescription retinols as we feel our medical-grade, over the counter retinols (again, pca skin and skinmedica) are more effective and help to avoid the “negative side effects” because of their more elegant formulations.

For a personalized, one-on-one skin care consultation, please call our office and set up an appointment. Ashley Smith, RN, BSN is available to discuss your specific goals and concerns and set you up with a successful home care regimen customized specific to you and your needs. (480) 214-9955 for appts + scheduling.



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