What you should know about this skin care trend
Lately, retinol products have been touted by retail and skin care companies as a miracle worker for youthful and smooth skin. But is there much truth to these claims and is it safe despite being a natural ingredient?
Retinol itself is derived from Vitamin A and is usually in skin products which are over the counter at a low dose. Retin A is found in prescribed topical medications and is at a stronger dose. Though both have been around for over 20, years more studies have published the benefits of Retin A and retinol and the latter was recently approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
“Retin A is key for assisting many of my patients with their skin care,” says Rachel Schulman, physician assistant at Advocate Medical Group in Oswego, IL, “It increases cell turnover of the skin and minimizes dilated pores, making them less likely to trap dirt and oils.”
Schulman says Retin A has several key uses for their dermatology medical office’s patients:
- Clears acne
- Lessens appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Smooths skin texture and overall pigmentation
- Increases production and retention of collagen, a protein which supports your skin and is key for your skin’s elasticity
But to get best results of Retin A, Schulman and her office carefully inform patients on what to expect and how to apply Retin A prescriptions for best results:
- Only a pea size dollop of cream is needed to cover one’s face, as it takes time for the facial skin to adjust to Retin A and too much can cause irritation and drying. Usually patients start out with applying just 2 times per week, increasing over time to every other day, and then every day.
- Retin A cream should be applied in the evening as some ingredients can make you more prone to sunburn after its initial application. Also, a few of the ingredients become more unstable in the sunlight and won’t have as effective results.
- For sought after results it takes about 6 weeks for the skin to adjust to the medication, and a couple months before consistent changes of less acne and diminished fine lines appear. But for acne, it’s important to remember that skin can get worse before it gets better, as Retin A helps to push out anything in clogged pores to the surface.
“When patients meet with me for the first time, many admit they don’t have a skin care regimen. Common concerns are irregular skin tone, hyperpigmentation from sun damage, fine lines, increasing pore size, and acne,” Schulman says. “The sooner you go to your dermatology office and develop a prevention skin plan, the quicker we can help you get ahead to help improve your skin health, especially when collagen begins breaking down in your 20s.”
Schulman notes a few prevention tips for one’s skin outside of Retinol products and Retin A prescriptions:
- Prevent hyperpigmentation: All skin-types and ages should use SPF 30 or higher, spring through fall and in the winter time when outdoors. Even if indoors or in a car put some on your face, neck, and hands, where skin is exposed. Remember to reapply every 2-3 hours if outdoors. Sun protection is the first step with anti-aging.
- Slow and lessen aging and wrinkles: Get enough sleep and keep to a similar bedtime and wake up routine. Make sure to stay hydrated, eat a healthy diet of greens and lean meats. Red wine in moderation is also good for the skin.
- Limit Acne: Though the common causes of acne are genetics and hormones, washing your face every morning, night, and after athletic activity helps a lot. Know what is in your make up and how to remove it. Also, make sure to wash your pillowcase once a week and know that certain foods like caffeine, dairy, and sugar can make some people prone to breakouts.
About the Author
Jennifer Benson, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs for Advocate Aurora Health. She has 10+ years of community development and communication experience for non-profits and has a BA in Architecture from Judson University in Elgin, IL. Outside of work, you can find her planning the next adventure near water or rocks, re-organizing spaces, working on her Master’s in Public Health, caring for her senior citizen cat, keeping to healthy moving and eating disciplines and growing green things wherever she can find room.