Retinol, or its umbrella term retinoid, is one of the biggest buzzwords of the year. However, this ingredient is far from being the new kid on the block. Since the 1970s, dermatologists use retinoids to treat acne, some skin cancers, psoriasis, and more. But, how much is since known to side effects of retinol?
Retinoids are a chemical derivative of Vitamin A. They help replenish lost cells and regulate cell growth. They increase blood flow to the skin and contribute to an even skin tone. Retinoids also minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. As a result, retinoids are commonly found in anti-aging products.
Some skincare experts recommend that men start incorporating these in their skincare regimen as early as in their 20s. They reason that it is at this time that skin begins losing collagen.
But are retinoids safe for everyday use? No, they aren’t. Retinol is a two-edged sword, with its benefits as well as undesirable side effects.
Different Types of Retinoids
Retinoids come in many different forms. Each one has a different effect on a man’s skin. Knowing the properties of each type is helpful in understanding how the undesirable side effects of retinoids may occur.
For instance, tazarotene can irritate the skin. Higher concentrations of tretinoin can cause dryness. Adapalene, on the other hand, is less potent. Therefore, adapalene may be more suitable for those with sensitive skin.
A common misconception about retinol is that it exfoliates the skin. That is a myth. In reality, the redness is due to irritation.
What happens when you use retinol daily? Aside from irritation of the skin, some men also experience dryness. At worst, the side effects of retinoids can include a burning sensation and peeling.
An Irresponsible Marketing Strategy
In the past, retinoids could only be obtained with a prescription. Today, they are readily available over the counter. Many skincare companies today make unproven claims about ingredients, including retinoids. Celebrities and influencers on social media praise their short-term effects. As a result, there are more risks associated with the improper use of retinoids.
Health Risks of Retinoid Use
Just because an ingredient is healthy doesn’t mean that it’s good for the skin. Neither is having too much of a good ingredient beneficial to health. Let’s look at what this means when it comes to retinoids.
An overuse of retinoids causes skin cells to produce too quickly. As a result, the skin barrier is weakened. Cells are unable to protect the skin. One side effect of retinoid use is photosensitivity. In other words, your skin becomes more sensitive to UV light from the sun.
Another side effect of retinoids is the way they interfere with the division of cells. Cells normally divide themselves about 50 times in one’s lifetime. Using too much retinol causes the number of healthy cell divisions to arrive sooner rather than later.
Says Mervyn Patterson, a cosmetic doctor, “the skincare industry is taking us into a massive experimentation of the population… we don’t know what will happen with prolonged, excessive use.”
As for me, I wouldn’t want to be their monkey here.
More on retinol’s special role among skin care ingredients you can find here: Retinol – The Claim Game of a Beauty Ingredient