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Retinol: The Real Story

Posted by Tanya Jacobson on

retinol for anti-aging


Without doubt, retinol is one of the glowing love stories of our time. Who hasn’t heard about it, wondered about it, read about it, or desperately wanted to try this age-busting, prune-face staving beauty wonder. Let’s start with a learn-about-it part. Simply put, retinol is a type of retinoid — an umbrella term that encompasses any skincare ingredient derived from vitamin A, a vitamin found in foods like carrots, eggs and sweet potatoes. (Forget dreams of carrot cake and sweet potato pie making you look younger.) Tretinoin, under the brand name Retin-A, was the first retinoid that was used as an acne treatment in the 1970 ’s, but was later found to do so much more. But you need a prescription to get it. Does that mean running to a dermatologist and paying a derm’s often hefty fees? Lucky you, no. There are products with retinol that can do the job for a lot less. (Go ahead, you can do a happy dance now.)


No question, retinol is an absolutely amazing age-buster. Retinoids (retinol) work by prompting surface skin cells to turn over and die rapidly, making way for new cell growth underneath. They hamper the breakdown of collagen and thicken the deeper layer of skin where wrinkles get their start. They also stimulate the production of new blood vessels in the skin, which improves skin color. Additional benefits include fading age spots and softening rough patches of skin. Which begs the question, “why would anyone want to look older when you don’t have to?” Everyone ages. And don’t think your Grandmother. We’re talking to you. With retinol, birthdays be damned.


There are a few wrinkles with using retinol. When you first begin using it, you go through a process some call “retinization”. During this period, your skin is getting used to the retinol and you might see redness, dryness, and flakiness as a result of the retinol breaking down the "sticky" cells causing buildup within your pores. Your first instinct will be “whaaaaat?”. Your second instinct might be to stop using it immediately. A more desperate instinct is running to emergency telling them your face is falling off. But smile, it’s just the years that are beginning to fall off.


As with most things in our lives, we tend to believe excess is best; dozens of deadlifts (til’ you want to die), pints of Halo ice cream (hey, the whole pint is less than 400 calories), more apps than there are cellphone choices to dump them on.  So slathering on any retinol face cream or serum must be right. Wrong. There are some retinol rules you would be smart adhering to:

  1. Start off with once or twice a week to see if your skin reacts and gradually work up to every other day or three times a week. Finally ease into every day.
  2. Be patient; it can take three to six months of regular use before improvements in wrinkles are apparent—and the best results take six to 12 months. You must commit. Longer than either Kim or Khloe K do to their hairstyles.
  3. Apply moisture after retinol to help ease any dryness.
  4. Never go out without sunscreen. (Right up there with flossing.)
  5. Never go out without sunscreen. (Can’t say this one enough.)


The skin and cosmetic surgery experts at Reflect Personalized Skin Care know all about about retinoids and retinol. Volumes more than you’d ever need to know. But one thing you really should know is the difference between all the different retinol products that are out there. Drugstore or beauty store retinol products could make you dizzy trying to figure out which will make you look like Jane Fonda at 80, or Michael Douglas at 75. Hit the internet for “best retinol products” and you’ll get lists galore. All different. Absolutely unsure of what to do, you might be inclined to systematically try them all. Or even try them all at the same time. But do you know if any of them will actually work? Do you have any idea what’s actually in them? Retinol? Yes, hopefully. But what strength? (Retinol comes in different strengths in case you didn’t know.) At Reflect Personalized Skin Care, all our skin care regimen products, retinol included, have been thoroughly researched, clinically tested and approved by top dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons. Just as important, Reflect’s retinol creams and serums are the best offered by some of the best-known medical grade companies.  It’s their brands you see on Reflect’s labels. Which means you know exactly what you’re getting. Other personalized skin care sites might offer retinol products, but they brand them as private label (the name of their company) which makes you wonder what else they are keeping private.  Hmmm…. At Reflect Personalized Skin Care you can choose to get a personalized skin care regimen that includes retinol just by taking a simple quiz.  You also have the choice to purchase our retinol creams and serums by themselves, going directly to SHOP. Looking for younger looking skin and a product you can trust to deliver? Do retinol right.


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