Deconstructing The Buzz Around Retinol. Let’s Dig Out the Facts.


Retinol is everywhere. From the recommendations of dermatologists, advice of beauty experts, and in the headlines of beauty news. It has become the “next big thing” in the beauty and skincare industry. So, is retinol worth a try or is it just another fad that will soon blow over? Let’s find out.

Understanding Retinol and Its Connection with Vitamin A

Vitamin A derivatives are collectively known as retinoids. Retinoids are fat-soluble compounds, which is naturally found in plant and animal products.

The derivatives come in many different forms and nomenclature, and that is where the confusion begins. In the market, the prescription-strength derivatives are usually referred as retinoids and the OTC derivatives are called retinols.

The active form of Vitamin A derivatives is retinoic acid. Strong retinoids like Tretinoin are available in active state. They are only prescribed by dermatologists for treating age spots, acne, and other skin ailments. Retinol is similar but less intense than retinoids. Retinols take the active form once they come in contact with the skin. Their effects take longer to show, but they are as effective.

The milder properties of retinol are the source of its popularity in the beauty and skincare market today.

  1. Retinols are not as strong as retinoids which makes them the perfect candidates to be used as an everyday remedy for common skin problems. Also, stronger retinoids can sometimes cause skin irritation, which does not happen with retinols.
  2. You do not need a prescription-strength compound to get better skin. You can easily buy the over-the-counter retinol from their local store to improve your skin.
  3. Every skin responds to the action of retinoids differently. The gentle quality of retinol is utilized by dermatologists to prime the skin for stronger treatments.

Retinol Benefits Make it the Queen of the Beauty Industry

Inhibits Collagen & Elastin Breakdown

The levels of skin protein dwindle with ageing. The two most prominent skin proteins are collagen and elastin that make the skin look bouncy, plump, and youthful. With age, the concentration of these two proteins fall which lead to loose skin. Retinol is known to inhibit the processes that lead to collagen breakdown. It also plays a role in stimulating the production of collagen and elastin. In the process, they keep the skin free of lines and wrinkles.

Encourages Cell Turnover

Retinol is also known to promote quick turnover of the skin cells. Since new skin cells constantly take the place of the old, it automatically gets rid of most of the issues you face. The new skin cells provide the skin a better texture, lighten dark spots, and keep the pores clean. Clean pores further help in avoiding black heads, white heads, and pimple formation. It is easy to understand how all these changes in the skin lead to a glowing skin with a fantastic tone.

Protects from Photodamage

Studies have shown that retinol products are effective in protecting from photodamage. Within 4 weeks of use, visible changes in the skin can be observed. There was a clear improvement in photodamaged skin. But, apart from that, the retinol application also reduced fine lines, lightened pigmentation, and improved skin firmness within a short 8-week period.

Sources of Retinol

As you understand by now that there is a difference between retinol and Vitamin A. So, every source of Vitamin A is not a viable source of retinol.

There are many natural sources that do contain retinol like Rosehip oil. However, it is important to understand that the concentration of retinol found in Rosehip oil is not enough to generate the skin rejuvenating effects of retinol. Sure, the contents will help in improving complexion and reducing oxidative stress, but it would not promote collagen production, the primary benefit. The same goes for most naturally-occurring sources of retinol including lycopene, oily fish, liver, whole milk, seaweed extract, licorice root, and so on.

And then there is Cacay Oil. Cacay oil is extracted from the nut of the Taccy Nut tree or Caryondendro Orinocense. Touching the heights of more than 131 feet, they are found growing in the Colombian Amazon. It takes at least 4-5 years for the Taccy Nut Tree to grow the fruit that produces Cacay Oil.

Cacay Oil has been proven to be a good source of retinol. The oil is known to promote collagen production and deliver all the benefits promised by retinol. In high concentrations, retinol may lead to irritation and cause dry skin. However, Cacay Oil does not make the skin dry or flaky, which means people with different types of skin can use it to reap its benefits.

Nothing Short of Magic

Retinol is not a fad or a recent buzz. It has been around in the beauty industry since the 40s when scientists discovered its near magical properties. And it is certainly here to stay. After all, it is the answer to almost every imaginable skin problem – fine lines, wrinkles, loose skin, large pores, dullness, oxidative damage, acne, and the list goes on.

Retinol can work magic for you. The key is to find a product that contains the concentration of retinol that agrees with your skin.

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