Benefits of Retinol
While the exact mechanism remains to be clarified and verified, it is generally understood that topical vitamins and antioxidants like Retinol promote the faster growth rate of healthy skin cells while preventing dead skin cells from clogging pores. All told, Retinol helps reduce visible signs of aging by decreasing the incidence of outbreaks and promoting the proliferation of healthy, hydrated skin cells. With less irritation and more water, your skin can maintain its elasticity, thus stalling the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Let’s dive into that a bit deeper. As a fat-soluble vitamin, Retinol may help dissolve the cement between the dead cells, making it easier for those cells to be shed. When cells aren’t shed they may physically shelter acne-forming bacteria. More likely however, these unshed dead skin cells may clog pores, or electrostatically attract dirt and grime into those pores, creating blackheads. There’s also some evidence to suggest that Retinol may promote faster epithelial cell division, physically pushing blackheads out.
For the same reason Retinol is great at preventing and getting rid of blackheads, it’s great at maintaining a healthy and hydrated skin microbiome. By helping your skin gradually shed all the bad gunk and replace it with newer healthier cells, Retinol helps maintain the appearance of blemish-free, hydrated skin.
Clinical evidence suggests this same anti-aging mechanism is enhanced when nighttime use of Retinol is paired with daytime use of Salicylic Acid. (Hint hint there’s Retinol in your Repairing Night Cream and Salicylic Acid in your Everyday Face Wash.) The use of Salicylic Acid can increase the effectiveness of Retinoids, like Retinol and Tretinoin: while Salicylic Acid weakens the stuff that holds dead skin cells together and on the surface of your skin, Retinoids promote the growth of healthy cells from below. The two used together can clear blackheads by chemically-loosening, then physically-pushing gunk up and off your skin’s surface. Both actives help clear your skin in their own way, and can be effective when used alone. But you might as well give these miracle molecules the best chance possible by using a regimen in which they feature as a dynamic duo.