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The Science Behind Retinol

//The Science Behind Retinol

The Science Behind Retinol

Retinol may be experiencing a sudden surge in social media fame, but it has been known for its incredible youth-restoring benefits for decades. But what exactly powers this age-defying ingredient, and how do you know if it is right for you? At Art of Dermatology in NYC, we are here to break down the science behind the seemingly magical effects of retinol and how to use this powerful molecule safely.

What Is Retinol?

Retinol is a fat-soluble vitamin that is a member of the vitamin A family. Retinol can be found in food and other supplements and is vital for immune function, vision, cellular development, and reproductive development. Retinol is most commonly known for its role in maintaining skin and mucus membranes and has become a popular addition to skincare. While retinol is most commonly associated with anti-aging, it has many positive effects on the skin. A clinical study from 2015 found that 84 percent of women between the ages of 40-55 saw improvement in the appearance of their dark spots after one year of retinol use. Retinol use can benefit skin concerns such as:

  • Wrinkles
  • Acne
  • Hyperpigmentation 
  • Dull skin
  • Age spots
  • Collagen loss
  • Skin Laxity

How Does Retinol Work?

Retinol and all vitamin A derivatives (retinoids) increase proliferation (cell production) in the skin and boost collagen production, unclogging pores and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. But you may be wondering how exactly this vitamin provides these almost too-good-to-be-true benefits. When applied to the treatment area, retinol immediately goes to work on your skin cells by stimulating fibroblasts to synthesize collagen fibers, encouraging them to increase in number and activity. This boost in collagen production augments skin elasticity by removing degraded cells and promoting angiogenesis (the production of new blood vessels). Retinol also increases the production rate of keratinocytes, the surface cells in the epidermis, as well as increasing the cell turnover rate, increasing the number of younger, juicier cells and sloughing off drier, outer keratinocytes faster than normal which provides some natural exfoliation. All of this regenerative activity results in the appearance of plumper, smoother, and more rejuvenated skin.

How to Use Retinol?

While retinol is hailed for its incredible skin-improving effects, the results will not show up overnight. Results with retinol will show gradually, after weeks to months of slowly working the ingredient into your routine. It may be tempting to jump right into using lots of retinol, but this can actually cause more harm than improvement. Because of the powerful cell production caused by retinol, it is a very intense stimulator. If used too intensely, it can cause redness, soreness, rashes, dryness, and peeling. To reduce the amount of redness, burning, irritation, or dryness that can be caused by retinol, make sure to introduce it to your skincare routine slowly with the guidance of your dermatologist. Dr. Krant shares special techniques with her patients in the office.

Schedule a Consultation

If you would like to learn more about safe ways that you can incorporate retinol into your skincare routine, schedule a consultation at Art of Dermatology at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York by filling out the online contact form. For a personalized approach to retinol use, book an appointment with Dr. Jessica Krant to develop a skincare regimen that is right for you.

Dr jessica Krant Art of Dermatology NYC
Board-Certified NYC Dermatologist at Art of Dermatology

Jessica Krant, M.D., MPH, is a board-certified dermatologist with specialized experience in cosmetic, laser, surgical, and medical dermatology, but above all, Dr. Krant is most proud to be a caring, comprehensive physician who takes the time to listen and send her patients home with a smile.

By Dr. Jessica Krant| February 2024|Skin Care|0 Comments

About the Author: Dr. Jessica Krant

Jessica Krant, M.D., MPH, is a board-certified dermatologist with specialized experience in cosmetic, laser, surgical, and medical dermatology, but above all, Dr. Krant is most proud to be a caring, comprehensive physician who takes the time to listen and send her patients home with a smile.

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