When it comes to anti-aging, it seems like there’s a new buzzy ingredient everyday that claims to zap away wrinkles and erase fine lines. It’s overwhelming! Can you help us cut through the clutter? Is there actually a 100% proven anti-aging ingredient we should be looking out for? — Rebecca
Great question! The simple answer is: yes, absolutely. I’ve been a beauty editor for over ten years now and watched as ingredient trends came and went, but there’s one anti-aging powerhouse that’s remained consistent: retinol. Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that helps speed up cellular turnover in order to help even out discoloration, boost collagen, rid acne and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Beauty companies have been loyal to the ingredient by placing it in night creams for decades. You may have heard of it before, or even tried it in the past.
Retinol has somewhat of a bad reputation due to the fact that it can increase sensitivity and dryness, but that’s limited to improper use. With proper use, it’s a skincare game-changer and anti-aging must-have. I will tell you that it takes some getting used to. For example, your skin might start to look worse before it looks better (dryness, acne), but it’s worth it in the long run.
The stronger form of retinol, known as Retin-A (retinoic acid), is available by prescription only. Usage varies depending on doctor’s orders, but typically, you only want to apply about a pea-sized amount to your entire face about three times per week. Over the counter, the ingredient is simply called retinol, and beauty brands have conquered the delivery system through moisturizers. Whether you’re using a drugstore brand or prescription, you want to start slow, and the best time to use the ingredient is at night to help aid in cellular turnover. During the day, it’ll make your skin sensitive to UV radiation. Oh, and start young! There are many preventative reasons to use retinol, and you can begin to use it as early as your 20s. After all, it’s easier to prevent skincare concerns than it is to correct them.