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To Retinol or Not to Retinol, that is the question!

Our team from Prestige Medical Esthetics wants to educate you about 2 important topics related to skincare, Retinol (Vitamin A) and sunscreen. It’s time to debunk the negativity associated with Retinol (Vitamin A) and emphasize the importance of sunscreen.

VITAMIN A

Did you know that Vitamin A is only scientifically known element to keep skin healthy and combat the effects of aging?

Let’s breakdown the scientific side of aging skin (I am such a Geek; I love this stuff). As we age, our epidermis (top layer of our skin) and the dermis (the next layer of our skin) become much thinner. This happens because there is a reduction in the number and quality of collagen fibers. Well established studies have shown that retinol “stimulates procollagen synthesis and increase the mature collagen band in the high dermis (papillary dermis). This increase in dermal collagen is associated with wrinkle effacement” (Kafi, et al., 2007). So, what does that quote mean? Basically, it has been scientifically proven that the use of topical retinol can INCREASE the amount of collagen in our skin and DECREASE our wrinkles as well as make it firmer. AMAZING!

So why does it get such a bad rap? Mainly because of the anticipated reaction. When you first start using retinol, you skin will go through a transition period where it needs to acclimate to the retinol. This reaction includes, redness, dryness, peeling, irritation etc. but don’t worry we can help you navigate this anticipated reaction so it is not so bothersome. Part of this reaction is allowing for new healthy skin to emerge, so all that peeling and irritation is actually sloughing off the dead skin, that is responsible for dull tone and rough texture.

Here are a couple of really great questions that we often get, so let me answer them for you!

First, does retinol make my skin sun sensitive?

Yes and no…well that’s confusing isn’t it! It depends on the form of retinol you are applying to your skin. If you are using an ester form of retinol such as our Environ line of retinols, we actually recommend that you use it twice a day, as retinol palmitate (the ester form) helps protect your skin against UV rays. But if your using our ZO Skin Health, this is yet another form of Vitamin A, that can make you slightly more sun sensitive, but wearing hats and applying sunscreen will help protect your skin. Plus, sunscreen is a must anyway;)

Second, do I have to use retinol for the rest of my life?

Yes! The reality is, sun exposure and environment exposures as well as chronological aging decrease the amount of Vitamin A in the skin, and it needs to be replaced daily in order for the benefits of Vitamin A to occur.

Third, why can’t I just get retinol over the counter?

Well you can, BUT you don’t know the real dose of retinol you are receiving, and there is definitely a therapeutic dose that you need to actually make a difference. Only medical grade retinols can give you that dose (OTC products can only contain, so essentially, if you want to see results…medical grade retinol that is monitored by trained professionals is a must.

How long before you see any results?

Typically, about 2-3 months before seeing any noticeable results with the naked eye. The average length of a skin cell (new to old) is approximately 6 weeks, so it is important to understand that you need to give new products AT MINIMUM 6 weeks to see some changes.

I used Retin-A when I was a teenager and Hated it, why use it now?

Lucky for all of us, Retin-A (tretinoin) is retinoic acid the most intense form of retinol. There are times that we do recommend the use of Retin-A, but most of our Vitamin A products are made for everyday long-term use. Also DID YOU KNOW…. if you are using Retin-A, you should not be on it for any longer than 5 months, you skin will not acclimate to it like it will to other forms of Vitamin A.

SUNSCREEN

Sunscreen is needed 365 days a year, even when the sun isn’t shining. UV exposure causes damage to the DNA in your skin which in turn causes premature aging that shows up as fine lines, wrinkles and age spots eeekkkk...we DON’T want that! And did you know, that sunscreen should be reapplied every 2-3 hours, more often if sweating or swimming. Applying your sunscreen in the morning before you apply your makeup is ideal, but should be reapplied again at some point later in your day. If your makeup has sunscreen in it…. great, but you should still apply a sunscreen. Why you might ask, well because your makeup may not be evenly applied to every aspect of your face, and not fully absorbed by your skin. We know it’s an extra step, but one that you will come to appreciate when you realize your skin is protected from the harmful UV rays of the sun.

There are so many different sunscreens to choose from it may be hard to navigate what is your best fit. So, let us help you: Physical sunscreens- contain the IMPORTANT active mineral ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. They work by sitting on top of the skin to block and reflect damaging UV rays away from the skin.

Examples of the physical sunscreens we carry:

ZO Skin Health Tinted with primer SPF 30 Environ RAD SPF30 HydraFacial Protect Tinted SPF 40 Jane Iredale Powder Me SPF 30 *people with Melasma should use a physical sunscreen*

Chemical sunscreens- absorb into the skin and then the UV rays are absorbed but are converted into heat and released from the body.

Examples of Chemical Sunscreens we carry:

ZO Skin Health Daily Shear SPF 50 ZO Skin Health Smart Tone SPF 50

References:

Kafi, R., Kwak, H. S. R., Schumacher, W. E., Cho, S., Hanft, V. N., Hamilton, T. A., … Kang, S. (2007). Improvement of Naturally Aged Skin with Vitamin A (Retinol). Archives of Dermatology, 143(5).


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