What’s the big deal with Retinoids?
The most ardent fans of retinoids are not only dermatologists, but also everyone who uses them properly and consistently.
So, what makes retinoids such a big deal? Why are they the most prescribed anti-aging, anti-acne medications on the planet?
The main reason retinoids top the list of the “chosen few” products by dermatologists is retinoids have been studied for decades and their benefits proven time and time again.
An abbreviated list of benefits include:
- Retinoids allow for increased collagen formation by suppressing the enzyme that breaks down collagen. Increased collagen thickens the dermis (the support structure for the outer layer surface skin). When the support structure is thick and spongy, surface skin is less wrinkled and much smoother than if the dermis is left to become thin, slick and hard with time.
- Retinoids diminish sun damage, such as age spots, hyperpigmentation of all sorts, dehydration and rough texture. Retinoids also reverse sun damage, even reducing the risk of certain skin cancers.
- Retinoids increase cell turnover, keeping the process of shedding dead cells working efficiently. Efficient cell turnover is critical to skin health and a youthful appearance.
- Retinoids work as anchors of sorts, driving penetrations of topical products and medications deeper into skin layers, increasing their efficacy and potency.
- Retinoids unclog pores and reduce inflammation, fighting acne and other inflammatory skin disorders such as psoriasis and keratosis pilaris.
- Any adult with any skin type interested in improving skin appearance and skin health can use retinoids with the notable exceptions of pregnant and breastfeeding women and children.
How to Use
Because retinoids accelerate cell turnover, new users may experience flakiness, redness and irritation. Steps new users can take to get skin acclimated to retinoids:
- Start slowly. Apply your retinoid only a night or two in the beginning, adding additional nights as tolerated. If irritation occurs, skip a few nights until you feel you can resume using this product.
- Start with a retinol product (preferably, a medical grade one such as Skinbetter AlphaRet or AlphaRet Intensive). Retinols are less potent than prescription retinoids, but ultimately carry the same benefits as retinoids for anti-aging.
- When using a retinoid, use it as prescribed. A pea-sized amount is enough for the full face. Skin just needs a “whisper” of the product. Using more than prescribed will spike chances of side effects and intolerability.
Think of a retinoid as the prescription it is.
For example, if your doctor prescribes a two week supply of antibiotics with the instructions of taking one a day for two weeks, you very likely will not be compelled to take a week’s worth in a day in hopes they will work faster or better. They won’t. You will become sick, and a multitude of side effects will manifest.
The same goes for topical prescriptions. Use as prescribed!
- Make a retinoid “sandwich.”
Layer the prescribed amount of your retinoid between layers of your moisturizer: Moisturizer-Retinoid-Moisturizer
- Use retinoids only at night. UV rays degrade the efficacy of retinoids. Also, skin naturally regenerates at night. Ramping up this process with a retinoid is a very good thing.
- No need to stop the anti-aging magic at the chin. Use a little retinoid on other body parts too, such as the neck, chest, legs and any other area needing a rejuvenating and exfoliating boost.
Everyone ages. We just don’t have to look like we do.
Starting early with preventative aging measures and products like retinoids and sunscreen will save your face and a King’s ransom in anti-aging skin treatments later in life.