VITAMIN A & RETINOLS


VITAMIN A & RETINOLS 101:

Retinoid acid, as you may already know, is essentially a form of Vitamin A. It can also be referred to as Retin-A, Retinol, Retinaldehyde, or Retinyl Palmitate along with a host of other names.


The purpose of using a retinol is primarily to increase cellular turnover. As we age, our natural skin regeneration process slows down just a little more each year. Vitamin A serums are able to kick it back into gear, forcing your skin to perform more like that of someone in their 20s. They can also help stimulate collagen and elastin, increase hydration and fight off conditions such as acne or hyperpigmentation.

​You can start using vitamin A in your 20s, as preventative skin care. Most estheticians recommend that everyone start using one by their 30s. Starting earlier can help undo visible sun damage that has already occurred and prevent future sun spots. It can also help with hormonal acne.​ Retinol is also a key ingredient in preventing wrinkles. By keeping the skin's turnover going at a healthy pace, your skin will exfoliate itself naturally and this helps diminish the appearance of those fine lines.

HOW TO TREAT:

This is where we like to note that less is more. A pea size amount of your retinol product is usually plenty. Apply a thin layer after cleansing and toning and pat it gently over your entire face. A little can be applied to your neck as well, for wrinkles.


If you are just starting out with a retinol, you may want to start with as little as once per week and work up from there. Redness, tightness, irritation and dry flaky skin can be common during the initial adjustment phase. By starting slow and working your way up, you can avoid some of these initial adjustment issues and get a more accurate assessment of how the product is working for you.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

Most forms of retinoids are derived from the same source (vitamin A) but vary greatly from there. The ingredient is commonly found in night creams, but also some serums, spot treatments and even some chemical peels. Retinoic Acid in pure form can be too harsh and is not suitable for all skin. Derivatives such as Retin-A, are converted to retinoic acid when applied topically and can be less irritating or inflammatory. For sensitive skin or during pregnancy, we like non-retinol forms of vitamin A.

The potency of retinoids will vary greatly. From prescription strength to over the counter. It's important to pay attention to what percentage you are using and follow the advice of your skin care professional when using these products. Technology is advancing, and many skin care companies continue to work on different delivery systems making retinoid ingredients gentler, more effective and better able to penetrate the skin.

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