What is Retinol?
You may have noticed that as of late, retinol has seemed to have made its way into many skin care products. It made its introduction onto the market mostly as night creams and serums, however these days, it's turning up in just about everywhere, from day creams to cleansers. However, what many unsuspecting consumers do not know is it can be quite harmful to use retinol during the day, despite this cosmetic companies continue to produce daytime products containing this ingredient regardless.
Retinol is the weaker, over the counter version of tretinoin, a prescription vitamin A derivative known for its powerful abilities to reverse sun damage and the signs of aging. Additionally, Tretinoin is also known to decrease fine lines, even the skin tone, improve skin texture, tighten pores, as well as stimulate blood flow and collagen production. Despite its wondrous skin healing properties, many cannot use or take tretinoin because it can cause irritation and drying out of the skin. Retinol however, is a lot milder and while the results may not be as immediate or extreme, it is less likely to irritate many. Similar to tretinoin, retinol encourages high skin cell turnover; it’s important that this new skin is treated with care and is not exposed to the sun. Which is why these ingredients should only be intended for night time use.
That being said, many dermatologists worry now that retinol is being used in many foundations, lipsticks, and even sunscreens! However, when used in a daytime product, retinol will have the opposite effect and can in fact make skin age faster because of its increased exposure to the sun, regardless of the amount of SPF the product may contain. A good rule of thumb when shopping is to never purchase a product with SPF and retinol listed in its ingredients as these two do not make for a healthy combination. To that point, Retinol-containing cleansers are quite frankly a waste since the retinol is literally washed down the drain and does not set on the skin long enough to actually work.
Something else to take into consideration is that retinol, like all vitamin A derivatives, is not intended for women who are pregnant or nursing. This includes skin care products, even serums and night creams.
In closing, retinol is an amazing ingredient with proven skin related benefits when used properly, which is in night time products like a face cream.