Does the perfect ingredient of face creams exist? In the end, so much is heard about formulas that can work wonders, improved ingredients created in laboratories, advanced work on cosmetics of the future improving the condition of the skin. Just why all this, since according to many women, the best ingredient that cares for the complexion is vitamin A and its derivatives, including retinol. Let’s see if it’s really true.

How do vitamin A derivatives work?

One of the substances derived from vitamin A is retinol. We will deal with it a bit later, and now let’s check what properties other substances from vitamin A have. Retinoic acid can irritate the skin and cause redness and flaking. Two more substances, palmitate, and retinyl acetate have a weaker effect than retinol. Their main task is to moisturize, keratinize and fight free radicals. Beta-carotene (provitamin A) is used as an antioxidant and found in many cosmetics. The least known form of vitamin A is retinal and the right to use it is held by only one pharmaceutical company.

Retinol – its role in the body 

Retinol performs very important functions in the body. These include, among others:

  • growth regulation,
  • regeneration of epithelia,
  • participation in the process of seeing at dusk,
  • suppressing the secretion of the TSH hormone,
  • reduces tissue sensitivity to thyroxine.

For these reasons, it is used for medicinal purposes, in particular to:

  • prevent and treat vitamin A deficiency,
  • treat skin diseases (psoriasis, acne, ichthyosis),
  • thermal, radiation and other skin damage treatments,
  • treatment of respiratory tract and gastrointestinal inflammation,
  • combating the feeling of burning and irritation of the eyeball and in ophthalmology in the case of dry eye syndrome.

The effects of retinol in cosmetics 

Retinol is often and willingly added to cosmetics due to its healing and conditioning effects. Thanks to this component:

  • the epidermis thickens completely;
  • the stratum corneum becomes smaller;
  • the number of abnormal cells in the skin is reduced;
  • the production of collagen fibers increases;
  • the number of new blood vessels increases;
  • wrinkles are smoothed;
  • discolorations are brightened;
  • oily skin is healthier.

How to use creams with retinol?

When buying a cream with retinol, make sure that it is enclosed in a non-transparent packaging – this way its chemical stability will be better. If the product is not in such a box, then you have to store it in proper conditions, that is, away from the light source. The maximum concentration of pure retinol in the cosmetic should be 1%. This may surprise you, but it is as high as the effective skin care at home allows.

The retinol product is best used in the evening, especially at the beginning of the treatment. Retinol acts on the epidermis and causes sensitization to solar radiation. If you use retinol during the day, remember to apply a sufficient amount of a cream with SPF 30 filter. During the treatment, use moisturizing products that can be discontinued with time. Retinol will affect the production of hyaluronic acid, which will improve skin hydration.

Is retinol completely safe for our health?

If there is a small concentration of retinol in the cosmetic, you have nothing to be afraid of. However, it may happen, that retinol and other vitamin A derivatives will be overdosed. In this case, the following symptoms will appear:

  • fatigue and drowsiness;
  • stomach and intestinal disorders;
  • reduction of appetite and vomiting;
  • enlarged liver and spleen;
  • hepatitis;
  • headaches;
  • drying, peeling and cracking of the skin;
  • erythema, pruritus.

In order to avoid such unpleasant side-effects, you should know what the right dosage of retinol is. The recommended dose for adults and children over 8 years old is 5000-10,000 units per day for a few weeks, while for children under the age of 8 it is 2000-2500 units per day. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should discontinue using retinol. It can cause developmental disorders, congenital malformations of the cardiovascular system and the nervous system in the fetus. For this reason, the patient must use preventive measures during the treatment and get a negative pregnancy test before starting treatment.

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