What Does Retinol Do for the Face?

Written by rochelle connery
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There are many facial products formulated with retinol, including anti-ageing skin creams, acne prevention solutions and wrinkle repair. RetinolSkinCare.org describes retinol as an active form of Vitamin A designed to rejuvenate skin as well as improve complexion. If you're looking to keep your skin looking young, get rid of or prevent acne or smooth out wrinkles, a retinol product might be the route to take.

Retinol Benefits for the Face

Mayo Clinic doctors pose that retinol might improve wrinkles and the look of ageing skin as people get older; they also cite Vitamin A as a treatment for acne, although it should be used in small quantities and never in pregnant or nursing women. In general, retinol works to unclog pores, thicken tissues, and increase the nutrition of blood cells, which has the effect of improving the overall complexion of facial skin.

Retinol Anti-Aging Creams

Dr. G. Todorov says sufficient amounts of retinol can give the skin proficient means to improve complexion and the skin's overall appearance. Dr. Todorov warns that not all retinol products are equal, so it's important to gauge the effects of different retinol strengths; start with a mild retinol product, as harsher products can cause skin irritation.

Tretinoin (Retin-A) for Acne

Some doctors prescribe tretinoin cream (brand name, Retin-A) as a topical acne treatment. While small amounts of this product are very effective, using more than nominal amounts of this product daily can lead to scaly skin, dehydrated skin cells and an overproduction of acne. InhousePharmacy.com warns that redness, itching and dry skin will occur if overused, and you will no longer experience good results with this drug. According to SmartSkinCare.com, some people confuse retinol with Retin-A. Even though both contain retinoic acid, these are not the same product.

Retinol Compound Creams for Acne

A lesser concentration of retinol can be found in other acne creams, most of which only dermatologists and doctors are allowed to administer or prescribe. These compounds are less drying to the skin and can be applied to the entire face, not just the parts affected with acne. These are typically the same types of creams given to patients seeking anti-ageing and wrinkle treatment.

Drawbacks of Retinol

One of the main drawbacks of retinol is the price. While retinol typically does an efficient job of giving the skin the ability to tighten and produce new skin cells to replace wrinkly, dry ones, it comes at a cost. Many retinol products can cost upwards of £32 per month, especially in a prescription.

Side Effects of Retinol

There are certain properties of vitamin A that cause harmful toxicity levels if overdosed. Mayo Clinic doctors say the high quantities of vitamin A in retinol can lead to liver and eye damage, fatigue and vomiting. Always use retinol in small quantities.

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