Skincare Q&A with Jasmine

What is Retinol?

This is a question that I get several times a week from patients.  Derived from vitamin A, Retinol was originally used as an acne treatment.   In addition to the drastic improvement in acne, clinicians couldn't help but take notice of the cosmetic benefits that Retinol provides. Retinol is now used worldwide to soften fine lines, improve texture, and help unclog pores or blackheads. Retinol also has a significant antioxidant component that helps fight free radicals, thus decreasing your risk of aging.  

Retinol vs. Tretinoin?

Clients commonly ask which one is better, but the real answer is which is better for a particular skin type.  One way we type the skin is "sensitive" vs. "resistant".  The risk-to-benefit ratio of people with sensitive skin tends to favor retinol, particular blends of retinol.  Less sensitive skin can have better results with tretinoin, but often need to start their regimen with a very light dose.  We favor higher strengths of retinol with the exception of the toughest skin types.  The way you apply these products will optimize your benefits and minimize your irritation.

How Do I Apply It?

The secret to using retinol is all about the application process.  We typically recommend starting nightly applications on a consistent schedule of three nights per week. It takes only one pump (pea size) of Retinol to a dry clean face at night followed by a moisturizer to minimize the risk of irritation or dryness that is sometimes associated with this product.  We recommend continuing the schedule of 3 nights a week for 2 weeks, gradually increasing nightly applications.Our goal is to work up to Retinol application every night.

What Are The Risks?

The application process is important.  Patients must start using retinol gradually to decrease side effects of irritation, redness, and itchy skin.  It is also important to avoid the corners of your mouth, nose and eyes when applying Retinol.  A broad spectrum SPF application is imperative while using this product, due to increased sensitivity to UV Rays. Follow these rules, and we will have you loving your Retinol.

What Type of Retinol Is Right For Me?

I like the blend of retinols in Skin Medica Retinol Complex because I see excellent results.  We keep this available for purchase at Swann Dermatology.  We offer shipping to anyone out of town that wants in on the fun!  If you're ready for the next step in your skincare regimen, introduce Retinol.  You will not be disappointed.  I also invite you to send me an email with any questions you may have.  We love skin and want to help you love yours!