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Anti-aging Secrets Part III-Retinol

Posted by Dan Narsete on

“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

 As promised, we are happy to give our third review of skincare secrets exclusively for our blog readers. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

We are all looking for the fountain of youth, right? To my knowledge, there is no such thing (if you find it, please call me!), but there are definitely some things we can do to slow down the aging process and reverse some of its effects. One secret many celebrities use to create beautiful, vibrant looking skin is retinol.

How it works

If you’ve ever had issues with acne or any interest in anti-aging products, chances are you’ve probably heard of Retin-A, Renova, etc. But what is that stuff and what does it do?

Retinol comes from beta carotene (Vitamin A) which effects everything from night vision to how embryos develop. Vitamin A was first synthesized back in 1947 and came into vogue for skincare in the late 1980’s. The body splits the compound into both retinaldehyde and transretinoic acid. The latter is what is of interest to us. The transretinoic acid (which is a mouthful!) helps communicate to our cells on a DNA level to produce new collagen. In English, transretinoic acid causes skin to “turnover,” making new collagen in the process. New collagen is essential for healthy skin. 

What you need to know

Retinol has been tried, studied, and proven to be effective by several companies all over the world. When looking to purchase retinol, you should only consider companies that are medical or pharmaceutical grade in their manufacturing. Many over the counter (OTC) companies tout they have retinol in them, but you will find there is very little present (look on the label on the back). One way to know this is to ask yourself: are you buying from a physician-backed company or a retail/department store? Large department stores generally don’t sell anything with any potency behind it. And, we want skincare that works, right?

Another consideration to look at is when you use retinol. The compound can sometimes stay in your system for up to 72 hours. For this reason, you should be careful when combining with a laser/IPL treatment or being in the sun. If you are going to have an aesthetic laser treatment, many companies will require you to stop using retinol 1-2 weeks before.

The other thing to look out for is not to use it during the day. There have been many studies that suggest a link between skin sensitivity and sun exposure. For that reason, use it at night only. Also, make sure you wear and re-apply sunscreen whenever retinol is part of your regimen.

Ease into it

Since retinol causes the skin to turnover, it’s a good idea to ease into using it. Retinol can cause irritation if your skin is not used to the application. For that reason, most reputable skincare companies suggest starting out in the lower concentrations and increasing the dosage over the next 6-12 months. Two great companies that start out on the lower spectrum are SkinMedica (.025%) and Replenix (.02%).  From here, you can gauge what works best for you and either stay there or move up as you feel comfortable.

Just don’t overdo it- skincare is a long-term application and should never be viewed as an instant fix. Do yourself a favor and ease into using retinol. You will be happy you did!


Happy anti-aging,

Team Reflect


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