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Can Retinol Really Reduce Wrinkles?

Retinol is a Well-Known Skincare Ingredient with a Lofty Reputation. 

Chances are, you’ve heard about retinol somewhere along the way in your skincare journey.

This ingredient found in many skincare products is often said to have numerous benefits for your skin, one of which is fighting wrinkles. As you age, the appearance of wrinkles on your face can be concerning and frustrating. It’s tempting to look for an easy fix that eliminates them as quickly as possible. 

This may come as no surprise, but retinol isn’t that instant, easy fix for your wrinkles – nothing really is. 

Improving your skin takes time, regardless of how potent the ingredients in your skincare regimen are. Fortunately, though, retinol can play a key role in reducing the appearance of age-related skin issues like wrinkles. 

From this article, you’ll learn what retinol is, how it works and how to use it to reduce wrinkles. 

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A. This means it’s an antioxidant. Using antioxidants on your skin gives your complexion a boost by rejuvenating and nourishing your skin. 

As you age, collagen production in your skin slows down, which leads to the breakdown of the cells in your skin, weakening them. This decrease in collagen production often results in wrinkles, fine lines, crows’ feet, dark spots and the other age-related skin issues you may be experiencing.

Retinol’s Benefits for Your Skin 

So, how do antioxidants help with reducing the look of wrinkles? To understand how this process works, it’s important to know about environmental stressors and the role they play in the aging process. These can damage the cells in your body by causing unnecessary reactions by trying to take electrons from healthy cells. Antioxidants are compounds that can reduce the effects of these stressors. 

When there are not enough antioxidants in your body to inhibit their effects, signs of aging tend to show up more prominently. This is because excess environmental stressors can cause your skin to stop producing enough of the proteins it needs to stay strong and look healthy.

One of the proteins that is inhibited by oxidative stress is collagen. Your skin needs collagen to stay strong, firm and structured. When collagen production decreases, wrinkles are often the result. 

As an antioxidant, retinol can help nourish and rejuvenate your skin, decreasing the appearance of wrinkles. 

Because your skin needs antioxidants to stay looking healthy and strong, retinol is worth including in your skincare routine whether or not your primary concern is wrinkles. 

Retinol is also often used to decrease the appearance of acne scars. This is because of retinol’s ability to promote youthfulness and suppleness in your complexion.  

The same principles that make retinol beneficial for blemishes also apply when using the ingredient to reduce signs of aging like wrinkles. Increased youthful suppleness keeps your skin looking consistently fresh. In addition, nourishment and hydration can keep your skin strong and firm, combating the appearance of wrinkles. 

How Retinol Fights Wrinkles

As you age, your skin’s production of collagen decreases. As you now know, a decrease in collagen production can lead to weaker, more wrinkly skin. In addition, a reduction in your skin’s production of collagen can cause your pores to become enlarged, giving your skin an overall rougher texture.

As an antioxidant, retinol nourishes and hydrates your skin, resulting in wrinkles and enlarged pores being visibly reduced. 

Retinol can also work to reduce the visibility of wrinkles, lines, and dark spots that are caused by sun damage. Overexposure to the sun can cause issues with your complexion that will give you a more aged appearance. If you have accumulated wrinkles, lines and dark spots through years of sun exposure, all is not lost. Retinol can fight your wrinkles by renewing your skin and supplying it with the nutrients it needs to regain its youthful, smooth appearance.  

Retinol use is just one way to promote a youthful look, but it can be complemented by other helpful skincare products like exfoliants.

How to Use Retinol 

Retinol is often used on your skin in the form of a retinol serum or retinol cream

Serums provide your skin with a higher concentration of their active ingredient than a heavier product like a cream would. Serums with retinol as their active ingredient are often used to combat wrinkles because of their ability to deliver a high concentration of retinol to your skin in a lightweight form.

To use a retinol serum, just a few drops per application will suffice. In addition, it is often recommended to space out your applications of retinol by at least two days to give your skin time to adjust. Retinol sometimes causes mild side effects like redness and irritation. However, these side effects typically subside after a few weeks of use. Sometimes, starting with more spaced-out applications and working up to daily use can help when using products with retinol. This can keep irritation at bay while still allowing you to make the most of retinol.

Serums normally come in dropper bottles for easy use. A serum should be used during your skincare routine before the application of any heavier products like eye cream, moisturizer or sunscreen. Lightweight products like serums need direct access to your skin to have the most significant effect.

If you’re unsure about the best retinol-based product to include in your skincare routine, talk to your dermatologist. A skincare expert can weigh in on your inclusion of retinol in your beauty regimen and advise you on how to use retinol well. 

If you are concerned about your skin potentially reacting badly to retinol, a patch test can give you a sense of whether this ingredient is right for your skin. A patch test is performed by putting a small amount of a skincare product on a patch of skin on your arm and waiting to see if any redness, rash or irritation develops. After about a half hour with no problems, you’ll have confirmation that your skin reacts well to a skincare product and that it’s safe to use it on your face.

Pairing Retinol With Other Ingredients 

Other ingredients can work alongside retinol to boost your skin’s health and minimize wrinkles. 

One key aspect of an anti-aging skincare regimen is use of an exfoliating agent. Retinol is not an exfoliating ingredient, but it can be paired with other ingredients like glycolic acid exfoliator to aid in getting rid of dead skin cells that can cause problems for your complexion. 

When you use glycolic acid to aid in exfoliation, you can count on a gentler exfoliating experience. Using a gentle exfoliating agent like glycolic acid can be especially helpful when using retinol. Some harsher products can irritate your skin when combined with retinol. When exfoliating while using retinol in your skincare routine, steer clear of exfoliators that have rough particles in them and avoid any harsh scrubbing.

How Long Does Retinol Take to Work? 

As with many skincare ingredients, retinol does not make dramatic changes all night. The key with using retinol on your skin is patience. Consistent retinol use can take a few months to produce major changes to your complexion and the appearance of wrinkles. However, it’s worth the wait. 

While seeing results from retinol may take time, consistent application of the ingredient can boost your skin’s youthful complexion and overall nutrition and suppleness. 

Sources:

https://www.livescience.com/54901-free-radicals.html

https://www.glamour.com/story/retinol-for-acne

https://pleijsalon.com/how-slow-cellular-turnover-visibly-ages-your-skin/