Retinol - Uses and Benefits
Retinol is a form of vitamin A, which is found in animal foods such as meat, eggs, dairy products or fish. Retinol is the active form of vitamin A, also known as preformed vitamin A.
Retinol (vitamin A) is an essential nutrient for eye health, skin health, and for the proper functioning of the immune system. The chemical form of retinol is often used in cosmetic products because it has a number of benefits for the skin, from combating acne to blurring wrinkles and maintaining youthful skin.
Retinol is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it dissolves in fat. For the skin to use retinol, it is converted into retinoic acid. Of course, retinol can also be administered directly in the form of retinoic acid, but products containing retinoic acid are only given with a prescription because they are more aggressive to the skin.
Acids can reduce the efficiency of retinoids, so do not associate retinol with AHA and BHA acids. Vitamin A derivatives, including retinol, are destroyed by exposure to air and sun. Therefore, products containing retinol should be stored in opaque containers and consumed within a few months of opening.
We hear more often from retinol, but also from retinoids - what is the difference between these two types of retinol?
Retinoids are a class of natural and synthetic derivatives of vitamin A, which include retinol and retinoic acid, which are naturally present in the body. Some retinoids, such as retinoic acid (no tretinoin, known as Retin-A) are available on the market only in the form of ointments and prescription products. On the other hand, retinol is found mainly in cosmetic products.
Vitamin A is beneficial for both the skin and for maintaining healthy eyesight or for strengthening the immune system. But retinol is most famous for its skin benefits.
Retinol is extremely effective especially in the treatment of black spots or white spots. It stimulates the production of new skin cells, thus pushing oils and dead cells out, unblocking pores and preventing them from becoming blocked in the future.
Because it stimulates the process of cell regeneration, retinol has the ability to "erase" scars left by the acne.
Retinol, regardless of the form in which it is used, has anti-aging effects on the skin. It stimulates collagen production, thus softening fine wrinkles. Used regularly for a minimum of 3-6 months, retinol can visibly rejuvenate the skin.
Retinol regulates the regeneration process of skin cells, while reducing skin inflammation. In the case of autoimmune dermatological disorders such as psoriasis, the skin cells multiply uncontrolled, much too quickly. Retinoids are used both in the form of orally administered pills and in the form of ointments applied to the skin.
By stimulating cell regeneration, retinol has the ability to reduce pigmentation spots on the skin, arising either from exposure to UV radiation or from other causes.
With the passing of years and the slowing down of collagen production, the lips may have to do with fine wrinkles but also with volume loss. Lip care products that contain retinol blur fine wrinkles and also reduce lip volume by stimulating collagen production.
Retinoids can also be used to treat warts. Creams containing retinol derivatives can stop the process of cell multiplication that caused the onset of wart. In order for the wart to disappear completely, it is necessary that the treatment be followed for a longer period.
Retinol is found both in some foods and in the form of a drug containing retinol - retinoid derivatives. At the same time, retinol can also be administered as an ointment or cream.
Dietary sources of retinol (vitamin A1)
This form of vitamin A is found only in foods of animal origin. In foods of plant origin, beta-carotene is found, which turns into vitamin A after it reaches the body.
Retinol is found in high concentrations in the following foods:
• Beef liver
• Lamb liver
• Fish oil
• Goat cheese
• Cheddar cheese
• Camembert cheese
• Hard boiled eggs
• Moldy cheese
• Feta cheese
Recommended daily dose of retinol
The recommended daily dose of vitamin A (no retinol) is 900 mcg (micrograms) for men and 700 mcg for women. Children and adolescents do not need a dose greater than 300-600 mcg.
Manifestations of retinol deficiency
Vitamin A deficiency is primarily responsible for vision loss. But there are other milder symptoms of retinol deficiency, including: excessive skin drying, weakened immune system, gingivitis, ocular dryness, poor night vision, heavy wound healing, and acne.
Causes of retinol deficiency
Factors that can contribute to retinol deficiency include pregnancy, lactation, cystic fibrosis or chronic diarrhea. Deficiency is correctly diagnosed by blood tests and should not be solely accountable for symptoms.
The absorption, metabolization and elimination of retinol
The ingested retinol is absorbed after it reaches the intestines. Liver cells are those that store vitamin A and then allow its use when needed. Normally, excess retinol accumulated in the diet is eliminated by the body and is not endangered. But when given vitamin A supplements, excess retinol can be stored in the liver, causing hepatotoxicity.
Retinol in cosmetics
Retinol can be found in various cosmetics, from anti-aging creams to acne treatments. It can be found on the label of products under several names: vitamin A, retinol, retinol palmitate, retinol acetate or tretinoin.
In cosmetic products, both natural and synthetic forms of retinol are used to treat acne, but also to reduce wrinkles or maintain elasticity and firmness of the skin.
Adverse reactions to retinol administration
Because retinol is sensitive to ultraviolet radiation, it is recommended to use it only in the evening, when we know for sure that if we apply a retinol cream on the skin there is no chance that the skin will then be exposed to UV radiation.
Retinol is effective in treating many skin conditions and problems, but there is also the risk of side effects such as:
• Dry skin
• Skin irritations
• Increased sensitivity to natural light
• Inflammation, swelling, exfoliation or the appearance of some basics on the skin.
To reduce the risk of exposure to your skin when using retinol ointments and creams, follow the instructions of the doctor or on the product label regarding their use. Also, it is recommended to use retinol creams in the evening before bedtime. The next morning, the skin should be moisturized with a cream, and then protected with a lotion layer with sun protection factor.
Overdose of retinol
Vitamin A overdose occurs after oral administration for prolonged periods. Hepatotoxicity is the main risk of retinol overdose.
Retinol should not be used, in any form, by pregnant or breastfeeding women, as it may affect the health of the child.