The Multi-Faceted Nature of Retinoids
November 30, 2022
Laura Lee

An ingredient well-loved in the dermatologist community is retinoids. They provide a plethora of benefits to people looking to address skin aging, hyperpigmentation, and acne. Due to this, they are prescribed to people struggling with a variety of skin-related issues, although the dosage is controlled by dermatologists and aestheticians. The stronger types of retinoids, such as Tazarotene and Tretinoin, need the fewest metabolic conversions to turn to pure retinoic acid on the skin, which is why they are only available through prescription. In comparison, Adapalene, which requires more metabolic conversions, is more gentle to different skin types, which is why it has been made available over-the-counter in US pharmacies.

Similar to Adapalene, Retinoids are weak enough to be considered a cosmetic ingredient. They are widely accessible to those wanting to experiment with retinoids to reap their benefits. So how exactly do they deliver these benefits to the skin? They accelerate an individual’s skin cell turnover rate, meaning they aid in sloughing off the top dead layer of the skin and reveal the newer one underneath. This means that the rate at which clogged pores and discolored skin cells are extracted or renewed is increased, making the healing process smoother for those suffering from acne or similar lesions.

Getty Images/Tetra Images/JGI/Jamie Grill

While there are also anti-aging benefits, such as the synthesis of collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin which improves the look of wrinkles, they’re more noticeable in the stronger types of retinoids. However, they come with many side effects, such as inflammation of the skin, itching, dryness, and flakiness. Due to this, their usage must be gradually increased so that their benefits can be properly harvested without the individual’s skin issues worsening in return. After all, retinoids are multi-purpose ingredients and can also help the user retain moisture in their skin while also providing some anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial benefits.

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