THE BENEFITS AND DANGERS OF RETINOL FOR THE SKIN
Retinol (or vitamin A) has been a super-popular ingredient in many skincare products for a while now. But what exactly is retinol? And what does it do for your skin? In this blog, Witlof Skincare skin expert Caroline van Eeuwijk tells you everything you need to know about retinol.
WHAT IS RETINOL?
There are different forms of vitamin A and together they are called retinoids. Retinol is one of them and is, among other things, an antioxidant. It is certain that Vitamin A has benefits for the skin, it works against wrinkles, boosts collagen production, and also works well against acne and reduces pigmentation. The cause? Vitamin A causes a strong renewal of the skin.
But why doesn’t everyone reach for vitamin A products en masse? Because these benefits only occur when using high concentrations of retinol and you can only get these on prescription. And that’s necessary, because retinol is highly irritating in such concentrations and can cause side effects that should be avoided.
WHEN TO START RETINOL AND HOW TO APPLY IT?
Retinol can be dangerous to young children as too much Vitamin A can cause issues with bone development. However, it is completely safe for teenagers to use products containing retinol. Many believe that beginning to use retinol in your 20's is the perfect time, as the skin's elastin production begins to slow down.
HOW DO YOU IMPLEMENT RETINOL INTO YOUR ROUTINE?
Implement it by using products that contain pro-vitamin A, which is less aggressive nor harmful. As said above, pro-vitamin A is different to retinol in approach. You can use as much as you want because it will not harm the skin. The skin will turn it into vitamin A and will stop the process of conversion into vitamin A when your body has enough, before reaching toxic levels
You can start to use retinol at any time and apply the product as instructed, whether cream or serum. Day or night.
NATURAL VS. SYNTHETIC?
There’s just one big difference between natural vitamin A and synthetic retinol. Plants, fruits and vegetables, beans and other natural sources are the main are good Vitamin A sources. For example, we use pro-vitamin A, or beta carotene, in our Witlof Skincare products. This is extracted from orange fruits and vegetables, such as sweet potato and carrots which give them their orange colour, but also kale and spinach contain beta carotene.
The nice thing about this natural pro-vitamin A, is that it is converted into vitamin A by the body itself. As soon as toxic concentrations are reached, the body stops the conversion process itself.
Synthetic retinol is made through a chemical process and may also contain chemicals that you would rather not have on your skin. In addition, synthetically produced retinol is actually too powerful for the skin. It can therefore be harmful to you in large quantities.
IS TAKING VITAMIN A SUPPLEMENTS BENEFICIAL FOR THE SKIN?
Of course! The most common provitamin A carotenoid in foods and dietary supplements is beta-carotene. Taking beta-carotene can help you in getting as much vitamin A as you need.
It is a general rule that whatever is good for the skin on the outside is better coming from the inside, however that is not to say that topical creams are useless. There is still a great benefit in using retinol or products containing vitamin A.
CAN RETINOL CAUSE ACNE?
Retinol cannot cause acne, actually, it helps fight against it. BUT, a cream with the wrong base substance, like mineral oil, can cause to clog the pores and make acne or inflammation of the skin worse.
THE WITLOF WAY
Witlof Skincare uses the natural pro-vitamin A, beta-carotene. Our 100% natural skin-renewing products, like the Smoothing Peel, Refreshing Eye Cream, Nourishing Facial Cream and Balancing Toner all contain pro-vitamin A, extracted from ginger. Ginger contains antioxidants, which helps reduce inflammation and soothe the skin.
Would you like to know more about the attributes of retinol or vitamin A? Or are you curious about which products are suitable for you? Schedule a free online skin consultation with our skin expert Caroline.