From retinol eye creams to retinol body lotions and retinol creams, it might seem like retinoids are really having a moment. You’re not mistaken. These vitamin A derivatives are a favored staple in many skincare regimens—and they’re likely not going anywhere anytime soon.
“You’re likely to find a retinoid in any dermatologist’s medicine cabinet,” says Kavita Mariwalla, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and IT Cosmetics Advisory Board member. “As a dermatologist, the number one ingredient I recommend to patients for anti-aging results is retinol.”
Curious about why there’s so much enthusiasm surrounding this ingredient? Keep reading to learn about the many retinol benefits for skin and how to add this anti-aging hero into your regimen.
Retinoids, Retinol, and Retinoic Acid: What’s the Difference?
Before getting into the specific retinol benefits for skin, let’s quickly discuss the different forms of this anti-aging skincare ingredient. The first thing you need to know is that “retinoids” is actually an umbrella term that emcompasses retinol and retinoic acid (also known as tretinoin).
Retinol is the over-the-counter version of retinoids, and is often formulated in a cream, butter, or serum to more elegantly deliver the ingredient to your skin. IT Cosmetics’ Hello Results Wrinkle-Reducing Daily Retinol Serum-in-Cream is a perfect example of this skincare MVP that combines the soothing care of a cream with the powerful effects of retinol.
The thing about retinoids, in general, is that they can sometimes lead to mild irritation or redness as they work their magic. For this reason, many people opt to use a gentle, less potent retinol in their skincare routine instead of a prescription-based product. As their skin adapts, some choose to level-up to an increased retinol application frequency or a higher potency product.
Retinol Benefits for Skin
Long story short, retinoids work in two primary ways: by speeding up natural cell turnover, and by stimulating natural collagen production. Cell turnover happens naturally, but speeding it up with an exfoliating ingredient like retinol helps replace old cells more quickly to reveal newer, healthier-looking skin.
Collagen is something produced naturally by our bodies, and it’s responsible for that springy, plumpness seen in youthful skin. Bouncy baby cheeks are the poster child for collagen!
Not to be a debbie downer but, as we age, our natural collagen production begins depleting at a rapid rate. While we’re never quite going back to those full baby cheeks, products formulated with retinol can help boost collagen production for younger-looking skin.
Now, let’s explore the more specific retinol benefits for skin.
Addresses Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Retinoids are by far one of the best tools we have when it comes to fighting fine lines and wrinkles. Because they help speed up cell turnover and boost collagen levels when used consistently, those pesky, age-revealing lines start to visibly diminish over time. For example, in a 12-week clinical study of Hello Results Wrinkle-Reducing Daily Retinol Serum-in-Cream, there was an observed 22% reduction in the appearance of wrinkles.*
Creates Firmer-Feeling Skin
Using retinoids consistently can help create skin that looks and feels plumper, fuller, and more firm. In that same 12-week clinical study of Hello Results, there was a 35% increase in a firmer feel. Please and thank you.
Visibly Improves Dark Spots
While retinoids are particularly noted for their ability to address fine lines, wrinkles, and skin firmness, their capacity to increase cell turnover can also aid hyperpigmentation. This is especially true in cases of “mottled hyperpigmentation,” where skin has slight variations in color (think uneven patchiness). We saw an impressive 25% reduction in the appearance of dark spots in our 12-week clinical study for Hello Results.
How to Use Retinol Products
Because of the many retinol benefits for skin, including this hero of an ingredient in your skincare routine is a no-brainer. But it’s important to reiterate that retinol can sometimes lead to skin irritation, redness, and even sensitivity. For that reason, we recommend starting with a gentle but effective formulation like Hello Results. It’s formulated with soothing ingredients such as vitamins B5 and E.
We recommend using it in the evenings only, and to not mix it with other active ingredients such as glycolic acid or vitamin C in the same application session; you can use those in the morning. Additionally, we recommend wearing sunscreen every day of an SPF 30 or higher.
The bottom line: When it comes to your anti-aging and wrinkle prevention efforts, retinol is one of your best defenses out there. To learn more about common retinol misconceptions , check out our retinol myths and facts.
*Results based on a 12-week clinical study.