What is Retinol and should you be using it?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

When it comes to turning back the clock on the visible signs of skin aging, Retinol is the beauty industry gold standard ingredient. Backed by over four decades of scientific research, topical retinoids provide a visible reduction in the signs of skin aging.

What is retinol?

Retinol is the name for an over the counter retinoid. 

Before we continue talking specifically about retinol, we need to discuss retinoids.

What exactly is a retinoid? A retinoid is a Vitamin A derivative that accelerates cell turnover, unclogs the pores, and stimulates collagen to reduce the look of fine lines.

The anti-aging benefits of retinoids were unknown back when it was first approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration. In fact, when the FDA first approved Tretinoin, it was for the treatment of acne. Tretinoin was patented in 1957 and approved for use five years later. The brand name you may be familiar with is prescription Retin-A. Since Retin-A, other brand names have come about including Renova, among others.

While acne treatment was its original claim to fame, dermatologists who prescribed it would later notice that patients who used it were experiencing skin with that looked younger and brighter as well.

Today, there are different classes of prescription retinoids, including adapalene and tazarotene. All three classes are quite effective -- they are just slightly different strengths.

While we're talking about retinoids, Differin (adapalene) is now available OTC without a prescription for acne.

About Retinol and its skin benefits

Retinol is an impressive over the counter retinoid.

Retinol gradually converts to retinoic acid, which is the active ingredients in prescription retinoids) and it is VERY effective at treating the skin signs of aging. It just takes a bit longer. It is also gentler with fewer side effects.

Retinol enhances collagen production is truly the most effective OTC anti-aging skincare ingredient available.

Retinol must be stabilized. Most “retinol” products contain esters of retinol, such as Retinyl Palmitate and Retinyl Acetate, which are the LEAST effective forms. You need to see Retinol on the label. If you use the derivatives I just mentioned, you will not be able to achieve the same results that you would with pure retinol.

My favorite Retinol product is Welcome Back YOUth from Robin McGraw Revelation.

I was very skeptical about this skincare brand. I honestly have never loved celebrity skincare products, because they tend to be more hype than anything else. I have been testing out many of the Robin McGraw Revelation products over the past several weeks and am extremely impressed. I really love the Welcome Back YOUth retinol serum.

Here is the listing of ingredients:

Water (Aqua), Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Glycerin, Dimethicone PEG-7, Isostearate, Caprylyl Methicone, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Allyl Methacrylates Crosspolymer, Squalane, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Retinol, Anadenanthera Colubrina Bark Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Glyceryl Caprylate, Disodium EDTA, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Polysorbate 60, Phenylpropanol, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 20, Fragrance (Parfum), BHT, Potassium Sorbate, Propyl Gallate.

Other ingredients in this serum that are worth mentioning:

  • Squalane is a skincare gem. It is naturally produced in our own bodies and, in skincare, is generally derived from olives. Its molecular structure is similar to that of our own skin and is easily penetrated. It is skin protective, skin smoothing, and helps promote skin rejuvenation. It is also beneficial to those with oily skin, as it may help control excess skin sebum.
  • Tetraxyldecyl Ascorbate is a very stable form of Vitamin C. It is oil soluble, aiding in skin penetration. It is believed to help Retinol work more effectively in the skin. It is skin protective and a valuable antioxidant. It may help to brighten the skin and helps to fight inflammation.
  • Anadenanthera Colubrina Extract is derived from the bark of a South American tree similar to a Yopo.  It has long been used for skin healing and shows benefits including plumping and deep hydration.

Does it work?

Yes. I am loving this. Most retinoids are a bit too strong for my skin, resulting in peeling. This exquisite retinol serum has been in my arsenal for a while now three nights per week and I am starting to see a slight reduction in fine lines, especially near my mouth where I have a pesky line. I will keep you updates as I use this for a longer period of time. I love that it is NON-IRRITATING and that great thought was put into what other ingredients would be used in the formula in order to maximize the effectiveness of the Retinol.

Chic & Green Rating: 

4.5 stars out of 5. It would have earned a 5 had it not been for the fragrance and BHT because I truly love how it feels on my skin. I do not generally use any products with artificial fragrance on my face. That said, this is still my favorite OTC retinol product.

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