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Retinol Side Effects

Side Effects of Retinol You Needed to Know Yesterday

Retinol is a form of vitamin A, used as a dietary supplement and in skin care products. If you are concerned about its side effects, this HealthHearty article will certainly be helpful.
Omkar Phatak
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Retinol is widely used in many skin care products like facial and body lotions, besides being used as a dietary supplement. Retinol based cream products have been claimed to have anti-aging effect on skin, and have been reported to be effective in treating acne. It is a good practice to check the side effects of such cosmetic products before using them on your skin.
Moreover, people have a tendency to overuse skin creams, and therefore, it is essential that they know about retinol cream side effects. If you are thinking of trying out these anti aging cream products and anti wrinkle skin care products, then this article will clear your doubts about what exactly makes them work, and what are the precautions that need to be taken while using them.
What is Retinol?

Retinol is a form of Vitamin A, which is a fat-soluble and vital nutrient required by the human body for maintaining clear vision and sustaining bone growth. Out of the many forms of vitamin A, retinol is the most usable. The body derives vitamin A from provitamin carotenoids and retinoids. Retinoids are derived from animal sources like meat, eggs, and dairy products. Prescription forms of vitamin A, called retinoids, contain more of the active ingredient than the OTC forms. Topical application of the cream helps reduce acne as well as wrinkles. It is also used to treat more severe skin diseases. Carotenoids like beta carotene are assimilated from green vegetables. There are many reasons for the choice of retinol as an ingredient in these anti-aging creams.
➺ Retinol being vitamin A, is an antioxidant and a prime ingredient of many skin rejuvenation products.
➺ It has the property of increasing water content of the skin by attracting moisture.
➺ It gently removes the dead top layer of the skin, made up of old dead tissue.
➺ The reason retinol based cosmetic products have an anti-aging effect is not just because they remove dead skin layers. Retinol also increases production of collagen, and promotes cell division. There are two types of proteins in the layers below the skin, which are collagen and elastin. Elastin increases the elasticity of skin, while collagen improves its rigidity. Increased production of collagen reduces fine wrinkling of skin.
➺ It is also known to reduce the pigmentation caused by exposure to sunlight.
➺ The anti-aging property that retinol provides is also a result of its active derivative being retinoic acid or tretinoin. The aging of skin occurs due to the action of free radicals on it. When retinol gets absorbed and penetrates the skin deep inside, its antioxidant property reduces the effect of free radicals and halts the process of aging.
➺ Due to the deep absorption of retinol, it can remove even the deepest of wrinkles quite easily.
Side Effects of Retinol

Despite so many benefits of retinol cream, there are some reported side effects.
➺ One of the often reported ones is reddening of the skin in the applied area, along with a mild stinging sensation. However, this effect reduces after some time as your skin gets used to it. If the effect persists after regular usage, then you should consult a dermatologist, and temporarily stop usage of the cream.
➺ Another one is that the skin becomes extra sensitive to sunlight. People using retinol based creams are advised not to expose skin to direct sunlight, immediately after application.
➺ Irritation of the skin where the cream is applied is one of the most common retinol cream side effects. Some users may experience dryness of the skin and itching sensation.
➺ A slight scaling of skin has also been reported in some cases. These itching and scaling effects are often a result of excessive application of the cream. Moderate usage is recommended.
➺ As a dietary supplement, it is recommended that its intake be well controlled. High concentration of vitamin A can cause toxicity problems, especially in pregnant women and children.
➺ All skin care products contain elements that are absorbed by the skin. Retinoids are also absorbed into the body through your skin. Scientists haven't yet studied the effects of retinoids on developing fetuses. So, pregnant and breastfeeding women, or women who are trying to conceive should not use retinoids. Even prescription retinols taken orally can cause severe birth defects. So they should be avoided during pregnancy.
Any cosmetic or medication, is after all an artificial way of modifying the inner working of the body. There are bound to be some side effects depending on the nature of a person's skin. As long as these side effects are negligible, one can safely use such cosmetics like anti-aging creams.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.