Retinol is a form of vitamin A, and is mainly found in animal-based foods like eggs, fish oils and liver. However, the animal-based food sources of vitamin A usually contain the precursor of retinol, retinyl ester, which is converted to retinol by our body. On the other hand, vegetables and fruits like carrots, spinach, oranges, mangoes etc, contain beta-carotene and pro-vitamin A carotenoids, that are converted to vitamin A, which is required for a number of important functions including bone growth, hormone production, and maintenance of healthy vision, skin and hair.
Is Retinol Good for Acne?
Acne is one of the most common skin problems, especially among teenagers and adolescents. It occurs when the skin pores get clogged due to excess sebum or oil production. Bacteria and dirt can get easily trapped inside the pores, which eventually causes acne or pimples.
» The reason behind the use of retinol for acne control is that it easily gets absorbed by the skin due to the presence of certain retinoic acid receptors in the outer membrane of the skin.
» It can help to prevent the clogging of the skin pores, by stimulating the regeneration of new skin cells.
» Topical creams containing this form of vitamin A control excess oil production, promote exfoliation of the dead skin cells, which in turn keeps the skin pores free of blockage and prevents the development of acne.
» It is also a powerful antioxidant that can protect the skin cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are known to oxidize the skin cells, and promote the development of wrinkles and fine lines, resulting in aging.
» Apart from treating acne, it can be used for acne scar removal. By promoting regeneration of new skin cells, and removal of the dead skin cells, it can diminish the appearance of acne scars or marks.
» It can easily penetrate the outer skin layer to nourish and repair the deeper layers of skin. It can stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, which are responsible for maintaining skin elasticity. Wrinkles and fine lines develop when the body cannot make enough collagen and elastin.
It is very important to know that while using retinol-based skin care products for acne, one can experience certain side effects occasionally. Such side effects include skin dryness, flaking, warming or redness, scaling and itching. Sometimes, acne outbreak can worsen for the first few days after using such products on skin, but it will gradually diminish after regular use.
Additionally, the skin can also become a bit more sensitive to sunlight, which makes it imperative to use a sunscreen before stepping outside. To prevent skin dryness, you can use a good moisturizer.
Note: Pregnant women should use such products only after consulting a doctor. Using retinol along with vitamin A supplementation can lead to vitamin A overdose, which can cause serious side effects.
Though the side effects are not experienced by everyone, it is better to talk to a dermatologist before using retinol-based acne treatment products. Use retinol products at night, and only after properly cleaning your skin. If you observe any kind of reaction, do not forget to inform your dermatologist. Including vitamin A rich foods like, carrots, oranges, pumpkin, peaches, spinach, mangoes, etc, in your diet can help to derive many other benefits of this essential vitamin, besides getting a healthy and glowing skin.