When it comes to miracle ingredients, retinol is high on our list. Not only does it help with things like dark spots and acne, but it also keeps skin firm and taut. Retinol, however, can be extremely drying. Luckily, we found three products that give you the exfoliation you need for a beautiful glow but also have hydrating properties. Read: red, flaky skin will be a thing of the past. On Kirbie: Helmut Lang dress.
Retinol is one of the few topicals that are incontrovertibly proven to reduce fine lines and improve skin texture. You can get prescription retinoids like Retin-A, but if you want a gentler, over-the-counter option, you'll find that not all serums are particularly effective. Which is why the retinol facial serum ($11) from Sally Beauty Supply is an amazing deal. It contains a huge dose of retinyl palmitate in a gentle base, so you get immediate results without any "adjustment" period for your skin, and it's so inexpensive that you don't have to feel guilty about using it on your décolleté, shoulders, or anywhere else that needs to get its glow back. Just don't forget to use sunscreen, since it does make your skin solar-sensitive.
Today's New York Times featured an article focusing on anti-aging creams and their effectiveness — particularly Strivectin, which is gearing up to release a new product with more scientific research to back its claims. While it's still not clear just how effective Strivectin is, there was a lot of talk about what exactly the key ingredient, a form of niacin, has been shown to do for skin. Which got me thinking about skin care ingredients in general and what they've been shown to do. When it comes to your products, how much do you know about what's been proven and what's just advertising? Take the quiz to find out.Take the Quiz
You've probably heard about retinol in ads for skin care products, but just what is this term of which the commercial voice-over speaks? Retinol is essentially the antioxidant vitamin A in its purest form. Because it has a small molecular structure, it easily penetrates into the top layer of the skin, moving down into the elastin and collagen layers. This ingredient works to help stimulate collagen production, increase cellular rejuvenation, and decrease pore size, creating softer, smoother skin. For these reasons, you'll often find retinol in antiaging products like Equilibra Perlabella Anti-Aging Retinol Face Serum ($20), or RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Daily ($23).
Because of retinol's ability to get the cells a-moving, it's often used to treat acne because it can help loosen clogged pores. Also, due to its exfoliating nature, it is sometimes used in the treatment of keratosis pilaris. One more benefit? It can help even acne scarring and mottled skin tones.
If you protect your skin with sunscreen and an SPF in your 20s, you probably won't even consider using retinol until you're in your 30s. To find out if your skin might benefit from retinol, check with a dermatologist. Otherwise, start out using this vitamin in small doses to see how your skin reacts. And don't forget to wear a sunscreen, as retinol will make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure.
Retinol is a pure derivative of the active molecular form of Vitamin A. It has been shown to increase cellular turnover and stimulate collagen production, which can lead to healthier, smoother, and younger-looking skin. It is also useful for the treatment of acne, as the stimulation of cell regeneration helps to clear clogged pores.
It is available in low concentrations in many over-the-counter products. Higher doses are available for more severe skin issues, but they're available by prescription only, since the overuse of Vitamin A can lead to a number of health problems including birth defects. Regardless of whether you go with a mild or stronger form of retinol, wearing sunscreen is imperative.