Q: I have been reading that retinols are good for your skin. What do they do?
A: Retinols are pure Vitamin A.
Retinol, in the proper formulation, is one of the few substances with a small enough molecular structure to penetrate the outer layers of the skin. It works to repair the lower layers of the skin where collagen and elastin reside. Retinol stimulates cell production creating firmer, smoother skin.
Slow cell regeneration is one reason skin becomes lined and discolored as it matures. Retinol works to increase cell turnover. The natural process slows down as we age and retinol is the gold standard in ramping up cell renewal to produce smooth, evenly colored, younger-looking skin. If you suffer from acne, retinol works in the same manner and can help control some of the symptoms of acne.
In my opinion, a high quality retinol should be a part of everybody’s skin care regimen. Not all brands of topical retinols are equal; just having retinol listed as an ingredient on the label does not mean that it is the proper concentration or is in the right form to be effective.