Darlings, one thing that we can be doing during our extra time indoors is taking care of our bodies and trying new self-care routines. I’ve said before that retinol is an essential skincare product and I’ll say it many times again. I hope you enjoy this article that teaches us all about retinol, it’s benefits and how it works.
The Truth About Retinol
Most of us expect to experience instant gratification and immediate results when trying a new skincare product. Unfortunately, that’s not always the way it works. Unlike other cosmetics, the majority of our skincare treatments require special care and attention for them to work correctly.
The timeline to visible results can depend on the type of product, its active ingredients, and how consistently you use it. Retinol-based skincare products, for example, are meant to treat ace and reverse signs of aging. However, different brands and circumstances can affect how long it takes to see results from retinol. Let’s take a closer look!
What is Retinol and What Does It Do?
Retinol is a synthetic form of vitamin A commonly regarded as a gold-standard ingredient for skincare. It’s a type of retinoid that works to prevent acne, fine lines, and wrinkles, and improve skin tone, texture, and pigmentation.
Retinoids are a class of topical medications and compounds including retinol (vitamin A) that are both natural and synthetic derivatives. Its transformative effects come from its powerful ability to repair the skin at a molecular level. Specifically, retinol helps speed up cellular turnover and increase collagen production, two factors that tend to slow down with age.
Thankfully, with regular use of these products, it’s easy to preserve your youthful glow and maintain smooth, supple-looking skin. Sounds great, right? The only catch is that this active ingredient calls for considerable time and patience before you can expect to see results.
How Long Does Retinol Take to Work?
Although you may not see results right away, retinol begins to work as soon as it comes into contact with your skin. Retinol immediately attaches to your body’s retinoic acid receptors. From there, your skin enzymes must convert the ingredient into retinoic acids before it can be usable.
The conversion process is crucial for retinol’s effects. Conversion may take longer than other over-the-counter (OTC) treatment products. That said, OTC retinol formulas generally take about 12 weeks of consistent use before you see skin changes such as improvement in texture.
Over-the-Counter vs. Prescription Retinol Formulas: What’s the Difference?
One main factor that influences your retinol timeline relates to the types of retinoids and retinol products you use. Some retinol formulas tend to be stronger than others, which can impact how long it takes for you to see results.
Prescription retinoids like Retin-A (the generic name for tretinoin), for instance, are more potent than other OTC retinol products, as they’re already converted into retinoic acid. Therefore, the formula can immediately start working, allowing you to reach the desired results more quickly.
Still, despite the powerful effects of prescription-strength retinol products, it’s vital to be mindful of your specific skin type and concerns, as these formulas can lead to skin irritation if you’re not careful. For that reason, it may be a good idea to start with an OTC retinoid first since those products will typically disclose their exact percentage of retinol on the label. That will help you determine what dose is best suited for your skin and allow you to work your way up if needed.
However, if your OTC retinoids aren’t providing you with the results you desire, you may want to consult with a licensed healthcare provider. Dermatologists, who specialize in skin treatments, can determine if you are a suitable candidate for a prescription-strength retinoid.
What Other Factors Impede the Speed at Which Retinol Works?
It’s no secret that consistency is a key element for a successful skincare regimen. From the steps you perform to the products you use, it’s essential to be vigilant when caring for your skin.
Does that mean you should also be using certain treatment products every day to achieve fast results? No, not necessarily. Rather, when it comes to your frequency usage of retinol skincare products, less can often mean more.
Most dermatologists typically recommend applying retinol-based skincare products every other night. But, if you tend to have sensitive skin, they might suggest only using the product once or twice a week to reduce the likelihood of skin irritation (especially when you first start). It’s essential to stick to a consistent schedule throughout your skincare journey, whatever it may be. In other words, be consistent with how regularly you use it, even if that isn’t every day. You can always adjust later on as needed.
In short, retinol-based products have proven their efficacy as an effective treatment for anti-aging, acne, discoloration, and more. But, like most skincare formulas, you must be patient and give it time to work. Only then will you be able to see the results you’re looking for.
Understanding your skincare products and their unique ingredients is critical for creating a smooth, healthy complexion. To further uncover the timeline of your skincare, check out this graphic to learn more: