What is retinol?
The beauty industry is abuzz with talk of retinol. Retinol is a synthetic vitamin A derivative that’s considered a miracle treatment for aging and wrinkled skin. It increases cell turnover to leave you with fresh, new layers of skin free from collagen (structural protein) damage.
But, is that all?
Let’s dive more into how it works, the side effects and long term repercussions of using retinol.
A topical, vitamin A-based ingredient, retinol was first used to treat acne as it cleared up pores. Later, it was also discovered to smoothen fine lines and wrinkles, and it became a widely recommended over-the-counter, as well as, prescription remedy.
By triggering the inflammatory response of the skin, retinol encourages rapid cell turnover. It sloughs off the cells on the surface of the skin to reveal the new skin underneath. It also halts collagen damage and thickens the deeper layer of the skin where wrinkles start forming.
The collagen boost allows it to give the skin a plump, supple appearance.
Sounds perfect? Not quite.
Retinol acts fast, so it’s easy to call it a miracle treatment. But by removing the top layer of the skin to reveal smooth, new skin underneath, it also exposes the skin to environmental damage. Retinol use can have side effects like itching, redness, burning, and inflammation. These symptoms are so common that medical experts group them under the condition ‘retinoid dermatitis’.
Severe side effects can lead to swelling, hives, and even breathing difficulties.
Excessive dryness, inflammation, redness, flaking skin, burning, and itching (retinoid dermatitis), are almost universal side-effects of retinol. This happens quickly, so you might start seeing them within a few hours of application.
Retinol increases your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Using retinol without adequate application of sunscreen results in sun damage, which is a potential cause of skin cancer.
The accelerated cell turnover damages the protective oil secretions on the skin (lipid barrier). This leaves the skin vulnerable to environmental damage like pollution. It also affects the skin’s ability to stay supple and moist.
While vitamin A is an important nutrient for foetal development, excess vitamin A in pregnant women may cause birth defects and liver toxicity.
Retinol interacts negatively with vitamin C, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and alpha-hydroxy acids which are commonly found in skincare products. This can cause severe allergic reactions like hives, rashes, wheezing, breathing trouble, and swelling.
Retinoids are synthetically prepared or derived from animal sources like meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. Regular use makes the skin more prone to irritation.
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Ozone Signature oils contain natural, herbal ingredients. Batches may differ slightly in appearance or consistency but this has no reflection on quality. Before use, please test for allergies by applying on your inner elbow and leaving for half an hour.
The content on this site is not a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.