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Is Retinol the Fountain of Youth?

There are endless products, treatments and services that claim to make you look younger. It is very difficult sifting through the all the information and advice available on the internet. Then when you speak to friends and service providers they have even more and often differing suggestions. The one ingredient that stands out is retinol. Retinol is really just a form of Vitamin A that increases skin cell production which in turn increases collagen production thus reducing wrinkles and plumping up the skin. It can also be used as a treatment for skin conditions such as acne, melasma and psoriasis.

Retinol for Anti-Aging

Over the Counter vs. Prescription

Over the Counter – Retinol products can be purchased in your drugstore or make-up seller in the form of creams, oils, serums and gels. It is included in so many cosmetic products. There are varying concentrations of retinol in an abundance of lines and manufacturers so the options seem to be never-ending. When trying a new product, it is very important to test it on a small patch of skin to be sure you do not have any reaction. Just because something can be purchased without a prescription does not mean it is safe for use on your particular skin type. If you have oily skin, try a lightweight serum. If you have normal or dry skin try an oil with retinol. If you have sensitive skin, avoid products with alpha-hydroxy acides and beta hydroxy acids. No matter what your skin type, start sparingly and see how it goes. While it is hit or miss with any new product, there are low price points that you can experiment with. It should take 2-3 weeks to see any improvement.

Prescription – Consulting your doctor is always the best idea. Retinoids are a higher concentration of retinol and available by prescription only. By going this route, the strength of prescription can be recommended for your particular skin type and the best topical type for your particular goals. Also, you need to consider your age. Are you young and this is strictly preventative or are you of a certain age and need to work on specific areas? Do you have dark spots or stretch marks? Of course, if you think you have any allergies or skin conditions you should definitely consult a doctor before doing anything new. Even though going the prescription route could be more expensive there is a possibility that insurance will cover some or all of the price. We have all wasted money on unused and underperforming make-up and skin care products. It is well worth the extra effort to go straight to your physician for potentially quicker and more effective results and avoid the game of trying to figure out what to buy.

Retinol vs Retinoid

In either case, whenever I add anything new to my make-up/skin care regimen, I try to keep it as simple as possible. I try to find something I already use every day such as moisturizer or primer and find a product that includes the new ingredient such as retinol so I don’t have to add something new to my repertoire. Is retinol worth the hype? You be the judge!

Check out our medical aesthetic treatments at Twin Cities Integrative Medicine and schedule an appointment to discuss your skincare and healthcare concerns.


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