If you are one of millions of Americans leading a hectic lifestyle then the effects of stress, hard work and sleep deprivation have started to leave behind nasty reminders of your age. As the traces of time form, you notice smile lines, crow’s feet and brown spots on your skin. In an attempt to reverse damage, many rush to the store to buy a slew of products touting anti-aging properties and restorative ingredients.

Unfortunately, many over the counter products offer little to no help. Containing trace amounts of important ingredients such as Retinol and vitamin A, they can take months of use for nominal results. According to a 2008 New York Times article, a review in The Archives of Dermatology concluded that the topical application of retinol, carbon dioxide laser resurfacing, and injections of hyaluronic acid, have been proven clinically effective as anti-aging treatments.

The Soderstrom Skin Institute specializes in retinol skin treatments and has a staff of fully trained employees ready to help you. 

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a critical ingredient in anti-aging products. Retinoids are a derivative of vitamin A, which is an essential human nutrient. Retinol, and other similar medications, cause new collagen to form in aged skin making them effective in the treatment of acne, aging, and sun damaged skin.
Retinoids, like Retin-A, are commonly used with oily, acne-prone skin because they cause skin cells to grow more rapidly  thus cleaning out the duct to the glands and helping acne to heal. Retinoids can also help to reduce and evenly distribute the melanin found in the skin, causing brown spots to fade. Oftentimes patients will see a rosy glow to their skin, a result of the formation of new blood vessels.

Broken collagen and elastin fibers may slowly be repaired by retinol as it is absorbed into the skin; over time, facilitating smoothing of fine lines and wrinkles and helping to increase the firmness of the skin. It also enhances the body’s natural exfoliation process; as a result skin will rejuvenate and appear smoother.

What are the treatment options?

It must be kept in mind that retinol is a long term skin therapy. Early results will generally become apparent after four weeks of use. Although results vary, a general guideline to follow for determining these results is as follows:

  • 1-2 months skin may begin to feel softer.
  • 3-4 months skin will begin to take on a rosier glow. Fine lines and wrinkles will have begun to diminish, and freckles and brown spots will begin to fade. 
  • 6 months should mark the maximum benefit you will achieve with a retinoid. The skin should be smoother, softer, and more evenly toned.  If the treatment is stopped, however, regression of the skin will begin to slowly present itself. 

What else should I know?

The exfoliating process promoted by retinoids may result in your skin becoming drier than normal. Side effects may include some peeling, flaking, and itchiness of the skin, slight burning or prickling sensations, and very sensitive skin may temporarily become red or blotchy. These symptoms do not happen to everyone and are only an indication that your skin is tolerating the change. It is important to take note that using more retinoid containing products does not equal faster and better results. Overuse can lead to unnecessary skin irritation.

Retinoids may cause a rapid breakdown in sunscreens, so it is important to regularly apply moisturizing sunscreen of SPF 30 or more. Using retinoids in the evening and sunscreen during the day is the best way to get maximum benefit of the product. Unprotected exposure to the sun can cause unnecessary irritation and additional sun damage. Retinol is not to be used by pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant.

To schedule an appointment with a board certified dermatologist at Soderstrom Skin Institute, call 1-888-970-7546.