• Priti Patel MD

Retinol-The "go to" skin care product

Shree Amin, Priti P. Patel MD


Skin care is often something many people overlook. Maintaining your skin is just as important as taking care of any other part of your body. If you’re over 30, retinol is a vital ingredient to keeping your skin youthful.


What is Retinol?

Retinol, a synthetic derivative of Vitamin A, is found commonly in foods such as sweet potatoes, eggs, and carrots. When applied topically, specialized enzymes in the skin convert retinol to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid can be directly applied topically as well, but is much harsher and more intense than retinol serums, and does not convert over time naturally.


What is the purpose of Retinol?

Retinol alters the behavior of aged cells so they perform in a more youthful manner. Specifically, it refines and smoothens the texture of your skin, resulting in a more radiant appearance and minimizing aging. As it continues being incorporated into skin care routines, retinol aids in accelerating skin renewal, while simultaneously evening age spots and smoothening texture while enhancing collagen production and reducing skin aging. Moreover, gradual use of retinol creams and serums fade dark spots and hyperpigmentation, evening out complexion over time. It also aids in regulating oily skin and reducing breakouts. Many users also notice a brighter and smoother appearance to their skin as it brightens dull skin by exfoliating it at a cellular level.


When should I start using Retinol?

Plastic surgeons, such as Dr. Priti Patel, and other skin-care professionals highly recommend integrating a retinol product into your skincare routine starting age 30, about 3-4 times a week. By the 40s, every other night or more is beneficial, and the following years, 5-7 times a week (with a goal of daily usage) can help maximize the benefits of retinol.

Retinol use for Acne

Retinol can be incredibly advantageous for those suffering from acne and breakouts. As a great exfoliant, retinol aids in normalizing cell turnover and prevents pores from clogging, which ultimately averts cysts, blackheads, and pimples from forming. For those who suffer from acne, it is important to ensure retinol isn’t mixed with other ingredients that could overdo its effects. A comprehensive consultation with a skin care specialist is crucial.


What are some side effects?

Because Retinol is a powerful ingredient, incorporating it into a skin care regimen initially can result in skin peeling or reddening. For some, initially it may yield flaky, dry skin, and even some breakouts. As the skin adjusts to the use of retinol, these side effects significantly lessen or disappear. To avoid skin irritation, Dr. Priti Patel recommends slowly adding it into a nightly routine 2-3 times per week, and gradually increasing usage from there, monitoring your skin’s reaction. Ultimately we would encourage daily use. A good ceremide moisturizer can help to keep skin hydrated as well.


Overall, Retinol has tremendous benefits for your skin, but building a tolerance is important. For most, changes are visible in 6-8 weeks. Its important to continue usage so you can fully notice the progress of your skin. Just remember, patience is a virtue.






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