Clear skin is not a genetic gift bestowed on everyone. Some of us have lifelong skin struggles with persistent acne in our youth to uneven texture and fine lines as we get older. While any time spent online searching for the holy grail of skincare perfectors will show one advertisement after another, there is a tried-and-true serum that offers a host of benefits that not only work but it is also suitable for all different skin types. One of the most powerful classes of ingredients to reverse the signs of aging is retinoids, chemicals from vitamin A that should be a staple in your skin care regimen. 

Let’s explore the power of retinoids including benefits, usage and choosing the right product. Retinoid is an umbrella term for many derivatives of vitamin A. Scientifically proven to speed up skin cell production, retinoids exfoliate and unclog pores to reveal bright, glowy, healthy skin. Retinoids are broken down into 4 main categories: retinyl esters, retinol, retinaldehyde and retinoic acid, with this last option only available by prescription while the others can be accessed over the counter. In large part, retinoids come down to their concentration level; the higher the percentage listed on the bottle, the greater the power level. Knowing that, a steeper price tag does not necessarily convert to a higher strength or greater effectiveness. When applied topically to the skin, the body gradually converts retinol into retinoic acid, the active form of vitamin A. The more steps it takes to convert to retinoic acid, the weaker or gentler the formulation, which helps consumers decide how to choose the right product for varying sensitivity levels. 

For those who are new to retinoid use, THE CENTER for Advanced Dermatology suggests an over-the-counter option to slowly test out your skin’s sensitivity. Redness and dryness are common side effects with first time retinoid use. If you find your skin tolerates the lowest level well, you can slowly integrate to a higher concentration level. If the beginning level OTC retinoids prove effective but you’d like to see greater improvement, it’s time to visit your dermatologist for stronger retinoids that may include retinoic acid, tazarotene, trifarotene and the ever-popular beauty blog favorite tretinoin. With any concentration level of retinoid use, be sure to layer products on your skin that will nourish and protect the skin barrier. 

Retinoids are best used as part of your nightly skincare routine versus daytime as it is advised to avoid sunlight when the retinoid is actively working on the skin. Retinoids should not be combined with acids such as glycolic acid or AHAs. When just starting out, use a retinoid every few days instead of every day until your skin can tolerate its effects. Various forms of retinol will neutralize free radicals in the middle layer of the skin. This will create a plumping effect as collagen and elastin are boosted. Retinoids can also reduce scarring, reduce inflammation and improve tone. Combine with moisturizers for maximum benefits and to protect against irritation. 

If you are looking for treatment of hyperpigmentation, reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, promotion of collagen production, brightening and smoothing of complexion, and improvement with acne, retinoids are your answer. To customize a skincare plan with a board-certified dermatologist at THE CENTER for Advanced Dermatology that will improve your skin quality, call 602-867-7546 or visit WEBSITE for a consultation.