Retinol: What Is It And How Does It Work?

Retinol is considered the gold standard ingredient in anti-aging products because of it's proven ability to stimulate and reproduce collagen in the skin. But knowing when and how to use retinol can be confusing, that's why we sat down with Los Angeles, CA, dermatologist Howard Murad, MD to find out all the information we could about this outstanding ingredient. Watch the video to see part one of the interview and stay tuned tomorrow for the second part.

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    Dr. Kristel D. Polder
    Dermatologists - Dallas, TX

    In this video, Dr. Howard Murad explains why retinol is important in everyone's skin care regimen. Retinol allows the skin to turn over skin cells more rapidly, giving your complexion a youthful glow. It stimulates the production of collagen, thereby diminishing pores, evening out pigmentation and sun freckles, and minimizing fine lines. I recommend every patient start a nightly retinol or prescription Retin-A product.

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    Dr. Tatiana Khrom
    Dermatologist - Brooklyn, NY

    Retinol or topical vitamin A is still a gold standard for antiaging. I recommend it to most of my patients not just for wrinkles, but also for acne, acne scarring and uneven pigmentation. Retinoic acid, which is an active ingredient used in prescription strength products is harsher than Retinol that is used in cosmeceuticals. Yes, I do sometimes hear that it is irritating, but most of the time it is due to incorrect application. I advise my patients to use it only at night, if they washed their face they should wait 10-15 minutes before applying it and also use just a pea size amount for the whole face. Non-comedogenic moisturizer can be used on top to soothe any dryness. If any irritation does occur it usually lasts about 2 weeks and then disappears. Daily SPF 30 is very important when using Retinol products due to the photosensitivity caused by its use

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  • Claudio Pinto
    Master Aesthetician - New York, NY

    Retin-a is a must - Its one of THE best things one can do for their skin. Not only we have the prescription strength available as well as cosmetic strength - Its a perfect treatment but one must be very attentive to sun protection as retina-a will cause sun sensitivity. From improving skin texture, to assisting in diminishing pore sizes to addressing hyperpigmentation when used in conjunction with lightening agents to speeding up cell turnover and metabolism. It is ONE of the best things one can do for their skin and the skin of their patients. If you are someone that spends too much time in the beach you might want to use during the week and stop using on Thursday to give the skin a break from all the severe sun exposure - The benefits for sure are great and you will be glad with the results you will achieve. But first consult with a qualified skin care professional - As always follow SKINCAREXPERT on twitter for more beauty and healthy tips and happy summer!

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  • dawnlois

    After cleansing, wait a few minutes and apply retin-a - wait a few more minutes, apply a few drops of argan or passion fruit (maracuja) oil. I've not used too many OTC retinols, because I wanted serious results, so I got a scrip, but I couldn't use it every night until I began using oils with it. Now my skin is smooth and totally flake-free.

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  • MJParker

    For a non-prescrptio retinol product, I highly recommend Isomers™ Retiniacin serum. It is a gentle product, but effective.

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  • Holly

    I manage a Medical Spa and highly recommend the SkinCeuticals Retinol and SkinMedica Retinols. Affordable and not too irritating as you get through the initial "break in" period.

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  • wendyb964

    I've used prescription retinoids (never tried the OTC retinols) for 15+ years with tremendous results. With incredibly sensitive skin and systemic lupus, the best information I've ever read was to start SLOWLY (pea size over entire face/neck) every 3 days and work up as you tolerate it. A friend was able to use it daily after a week; for me it took a month. Though not a quick fix, the results are tremendous. Please do NOT forget sunscreen (UVA and UVB) year-round. The combo of retinoids/retinol + sunscreen may not reverse aging but certainly stops it in its tracks.

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  • Carolyn

    Try Obagi products. They are the best. I use their retinol. Also, used Retina A for years, prescription.

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  • cindy

    I have used retinol since I was 36, I am now 66 and have NO wrinkles!!!! It is awesome! Also use Vitamin Cwith great!!!

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  • Denise Verost

    Should I use retinol and which product would be the best for oily/combination and sensitive skin or another product for wrinkles an good ingrediants anti-aging

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  • karen

    What about Renova?

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  • Jennifer

    I work for a plastic surgeon and we have a retinol pads that you apply after cleansing. It's amazing!! Especially for the patients who have oily skin!I strongly recommend it for all ages!

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  • Kris

    Retin-A comes in a cream base also, not oily at all. If you have a Dr. who you've been with for years, he just might call in the prescription without a visit. I still think the cream is more easily absorbed than the oily.Good luck! I love the stuff, shop around when u get a prescription . . costs vary wildly!

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  • Cosmetic Nurse

    For oily skin try one that is marketed towards acne since Retinol helps with both acne and wrinkles. I know the Rx ones are pretty drying. I don't know much about the ones that are available in stores but the clinic I work in sells Lucrece Physician's Aesthetic Research brand and they have a Retinol serum specifically for oily/acne skin that also has a glycolic in it (also helpful for both wrinkles and acne). I think it's around $50. Since it's a serum it feels a little oily when it first goes on but it soaks in pretty quickly and you definitely don't feel oily by the morning. Make sure to use products to balance your skin, like an oil free moisturizer or a hydrating serum, and not just things to dry it out since that can cause your skin to produce more oil to protect itself. Good luck! :)

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  • Anna

    I recommend Paulas Choice to anyone who wants to see a change. This retinol serum has helped me and my husband who has very red skin. My face has changed from dull to bright soft skin and has taken the red out of my husbands face. Not to expensive since the bottle lasts for several months at about 30.00

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  • Terri

    Can you recommend a retinol that is NOT oily? I'm 58, but still have very oily skin & breakout, but I DO have wrinkles on my forehead, above my lips, and at the corners of my chin. All the over the counter ones I've used make me even OILIER and worse yet, make me break out. Right now I'm using both an oxy 10 and the retinol, since the retinol is so oily, in an attempt to lessen my wrinkles but not break out so badly.

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  • Cosmetic Nurse

    If you don't want to go to a Dermatologist for a prescription I recommend it in a clinical grade serum form. To get a high concentration it's best to purchase this type of product from a medical spa versus a drug store or the mall. Make sure it is a yellow-ish color, that's a good way to tell that it is a true retinol. It will typically have other great anti-aging ingrediants in it as well, which is another good benefit. I myself prefer the serum compared to a prescription because it is usually less drying, absorbs better and quickly and even though it is a clinical grade product which can be somewhat pricey, it's usually about half the price of a prescription if you are using it for anti-aging which is considered cosmetic, therefore not covered by insurance. I haven't watched the video so I don't know if this is repeating anything.

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    What is the best option for retinol if I don't want to go to the Dermatologist office and get a prescription? Can I find prescription strenth without the prescription?

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  • Cathy McIvor

    Thank you, New Beauty, for another very informative video!

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    Dr. Deirdre Leake
    Facial Plastic Surgeon - St. Augustine, FL

    I recommend a form of retinol to most of my patients. It is great for people with acne, dull, dry texture and for anti-aging. It takes a few weeks to start seeing the results and it is a product that you will continue to use throughout your life.

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