There are tens of thousands of creams and serums on the shelves that all promise to turn back the clock but at this current point in time, there is still only one main ingredient that actually delivers on such promises.
Both over-the-counter retinol and its prescription counterpart Retin-A are the only form of ingredient that can turn back the clock.
Interestingly, the retinoid group was initially used to get rid of acne, blackheads and dead cell buildup in pores but now it turns out retinol was also found to have incredibly effective anti-aging properties. Luckily retinoids come in varying forms and strengths. That said, there are a few important things to keep in mind before incorporating a retinol regimen. You should talk to your dermatologist first about what time of day you should be applying it or how long it will take to see results.
Dr. Howard Murad, dermatologist and founder of Murad skincare line, explains "Retinol and Retin-A are both part of a group of derivative compounds of the vitamin A family". He also advises, "You can get a prescription from your dermatologist and may see results in short periods of time." On the other hand, he notes that retinol, which is available in over-the-counter skincare formulations, "may take longer to achieve results, but many find it less irritating than the prescription formula."
"If you choose to use a retinol product, it is generally recommended that you start in your 30s," says Dr. Murad. "By your 40s, it’s time to add a retinol product in your night care routine."
Retinol is photosensitive and should only be worn at night. Never go outside or into the sunlight with it on; this could cause adverse effects. As far as how often, this varies by skin type and the product. Dr. Murad points out that "it depends on whether you are using prescription Retin-A or over-the-counter retinol. It’s best to begin using retinol products every other night and work up to every night." You could begin to notice changes anywhere from within a week to about eight weeks.
However, peeling and redness will most likely occur at least at first. Retinoids exfoliate your skin and may cause it to become even more sensitive. It is key to use small amounts every other day, until your skin works up tolerance for vitamin-A.