Topical retinols work by increasing the rate at which your skin cells reproduce and cycle out. Essentially, it takes that 27-day cycle and shortens it. This helps the skin, making it look younger, brighter, and healthier. It also helps those with blemishes, as increasing the turnover rate of cells means they are less likely to get stuck in pores. This is also why there's a lengthy "adjustment period" of retinol; your skin needs to get used to its new turnover cycle.
It helps skin in other ways, too. For years, people assumed that retinol made your skin thinner as your cells were shedding faster, however research indicates that it actually helps thicken the dermal layer over time. However, it does make your skin extra sensitive to photodamage, so be sure to practice proper sun care if you use this active.
Additionally, it improves collagen production: Retinol binds to retinoid receptors within skin cells This activates genes that upregulate collagen production. This effect was observed in a small human study, where topical retinols stimulated collagen production in mature skin, helping decrease the appearance of wrinkling.
Retinol, and its alternatives like bakuchiol, are not for everyone. For starters, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use retinol (they can use bakuchiol). But some skin types just don't tolerate it as well, and it can be irritating for those with certain inflammatory skin processes. However, if you can tolerate it, there is significant evidence that you should incorporate it into your nighttime routine.
The Vintage Salon Team x