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Beauty Lingo: Retinol

Get the lowdown on the beauty world's favorite anti-aging ingredient.
Beauty Lingo: Retinol Get the lowdown on the beauty world's favorite anti-aging ingredient.

Printed multiple times on different anti-aging products, retinol seems to be the star player when it comes to fighting off wrinkles, but what it does is still a mystery to most. On the simplest level, most can explain retinol as a form of vitamin A used to slow down the aging process by working on a molecular level.

Yup, you heard it right. Retinol doesn’t just affect the top most layers of the skin. It goes down deep into your cells and works its magic right from the source. Once applied to the skin, it bonds with different DNA sites and gently stimulates the production of collagen (which contributes to thicker, firmer, and plumper skin). Aside from collagen production retinol also works to increase cell turnover, promoting the improvement of the skin’s texture and the lightening of pigmentation caused by the sun.

But miracle workers aren’t without drawbacks. Firstly, before you see actual improvements, retinol needs a couple of months to work so patience is key. Second, since retinol promotes cell turnover, the new, exposed skin is more susceptible to burning. So a strong broad spectrum sunblock is essential with this product. And third, retinol can cause irritation to the more sensitive-skinned, which is why you need to ease this product slowly into your skincare regimen.

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