This Is Your Skin on Retinoids: Anti-Aging With Antioxidants

Do you have a few rogue grey hairs, new fine lines around your eyes, and you get excited about buying a new vacuum? Then you might be entering your mid-30s. 

After we skate past our mid-twenties, a few things may start to change about our skin. Starting at 25, levels of collagen, also known as the scaffolding of skin, can begin to decline. This marks the very beginning of natural skin aging. 

If you’re worried about skin aging and you’re looking for preventative solutions, you might have heard about retinoids. But what’s all the fuss about? Are retinoids worth the hype? What can retinoids really do for your skin?

Let’s get into what you need to know about this antioxidant powerhouse. 

What are retinoids?

Retinoid is an umbrella term that refers to all vitamin A derivatives. 

They come in a few different forms you might have heard of such as retinol, tretinoin, and adapalene. However, there are some differences between these retinoids, but we’ll get into that later.

What do retinoids do for the skin?

Retinoids are one of the most sought-after anti-aging ingredients for good reason. 

All retinoids chemically exfoliate the skin, increase skin cell turnover rate and boost collagen production. These benefits are what help smooth over fine lines, prevent the formation of wrinkles, brighten skin and give you that “retinoid glow.”

Retinoids are one of the more powerful anti-aging products because they are counteractive to natural skin aging; making them a potent anti-aging weapon.

Retinoids are counteractive to natural skin aging

Did you know you could counteract signs of skin aging by regularly using a retinoid? It sounds too good to be true, but it’s in fact both, good AND true. 

Counteracting a sluggish skin cell turnover rate 

As we age, our skin cell turnover rate, the speed at which skin cells regenerate, slows down. Over time, this can make our skin appear dull, flat, or lackluster. Retinoids help the skin produce new skin cells at a faster rate, mimicking the skin of your younger years. This can make your skin smoother, brighter, and more radiant. 

Increasing your skin turnover rate truly is the secret behind anti-aging. With the help of retinoids, if you can mimic the cell regeneration of your skin when you were 20, then you can “anti-age.” 

If you look at the skin of a 10-year-old, you’ll find it’s resilient, soft, and bright. This is not because of a stellar skincare routine — it’s due to a speedy skin cell turnover rate. 

Counteracting collagen depletion 

As previously mentioned, collagen levels can start to decline at around 25 years old. (Yes, that young!) When it comes to skin aging, this is a significant loss because collagen is an MVP. 

Collagen is to the skin what a wood frame is to a house — it’s structural. As we lose collagen, our skin loses strength, firmness, and elasticity. Because of this, the loss of collagen is a large contributor to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

If you look at mature, aging skin, you might see that it’s thinner and sagging, further deepening lines and wrinkles. This is a sign of a lack of adequate levels of collagen. 

Choosing the best retinoid for you

Choosing the right retinoid is an important part of any anti-aging skincare routine. Before you buy, there are a few things to consider about two of the most popular retinoids.

Retinol: Unlike tretinoin, this retinoid is not pure retinoic acid, making it a far gentler product. The end result may be similar to tretinoin, however, it’ll take more time. Retinol is widely available, can be purchased over the counter and it has fewer side effects than tretinoin. 

Tretinoin: This powerhouse is pure retinoic acid and requires a doctor’s prescription. In lower concentrations, it’s great for anti-aging, and in higher concentrations, it may help with acne. Because it’s stronger, you might experience more side effects vs retinol however, results tend to be faster and more dramatic than retinol. 

Other considerations when choosing a retinoid

  • If you have exceptionally sensitive skin or deal with flushing rosacea, you might consider starting with gentler retinoids such as retinol. 
  • Tretinoin is a great product but because of its strength, it can require a period of adjustment. During this adjustment period, you might see skin peeling, redness, pore purging, and itchiness. It can take a few weeks for your skin to get used to tretinoin.  
  • If you’re only worried about under-eye darkness or wrinkles, opt for a retinol eye cream. If you’re worried about dull-looking skin and all-over signs of aging, a mild concentration of tretinoin might be best. 
  • Also note, all forms can make you more sensitive to UV rays so it’s recommended that you use daily SPF 30+ and avoid direct sun exposure.

No matter which you choose you’ll have the anti-aging benefits of increased skin cell turnover, brightening of dark spots or scars, clearer pores, and increased collagen production. 

It’s never too late to start your anti-aging routine 

Preventing signs of aging is easier than reversing signs of aging. So early adoption of anti-aging practices is a great idea. However, it’s never too late to start an anti-aging routine. 

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