Expert's Opinion

The Science Behind Retinol (Vitamin A)

By Dr. Howard Murad, Murad Inc. | March 16, 2012

Dr. Murad discusses the benefits of retinol in skin care.

In recent years, there has been increased confusion surrounding the use of retinol and whether or not it should be incorporated into topical skin care products. Much of this uncertainty is because people are unfamiliar with retinol and how it should be applied. Retinol is one of the main forms of vitamin A. It is an essential vitamin needed for new cell growth, and the health and maintenance of tissues and skin cells and plays an integral role in anti-aging skin care.

Retinol has value for skin on several fronts: it is a cell-communicating ingredient and antioxidant. Skin cells have a receptor site that is very accepting of retinoic acid, which is converted from retinol in the body. This relationship between retinoic acid and skin cells allows a type of communication in which the cell is told to function normally (that is, the way a young, healthy cell functions). Retinol helps the skin produce more robust, structural components, provides antioxidant support, and optimizes the differentiation of cells in the various layers of the epidermis

How Does Retinol Work?
As skin ages, cell production slows. Retinol has exfoliation properties that gets rid of dead skin cells and allows new ones to grow. Regular use of retinol can help restructure the skin and encourage cell regeneration. When retinol converts into retinoic acid, it induces exfoliation which allows skin cells to function normally and continue regular cell renewal. This is effective in treating wrinkles as well as acne.

Skin loses elasticity over time, which causes the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol will reverse this by encouraging the production of collagen, one of the essential building blocks of youthful skin. As collagen is replenished and old skin cells are shed, hyperpigmentation disappears, fine lines recede and skin begins to reveal a brighter, smoother texture. Collagen production may slow down as a person ages, but retinol helps to ensure that new collagen continues to form, and has been shown to reduce wrinkles and increase skin texture.

Retinol is an antioxidant, which means it helps to neutralize substances called free radicals that destroy healthy skin cells. By neutralizing free radicals, retinol calms the skin, decreasing stress factors that may damage the skin. With its numerous anti-aging and antioxidant benefits, vitamin A is a key ingredient in many skincare formulas. When looking for it in your favorite products, keep in mind that it may be used in several forms, including retinol, retinyl palmitate and beta–carotene.

New Product
Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles, out this month, is a triple-action wrinkle-fighting formula that features sustained release technology and precise application to concentrate power on targeted areas of concern. It a micro-encapsulated delivery system which forms an invisible film on the skin, allowing the particles to align with the skins surface while optimizing barrier function to prevent water loss through the skin.This environment allows the retinol to diffuse and integrate into the skin in a slow, controlled manner, which increases efficacy and stability, while helping to reduce the sensitivity and irritation often associated with retinol.

This new product combines encapsulated retinol, which helps to reduce the appearance of deep wrinkles by increasing cell turnover and improving skin’s resilience, with Matrixyl Synthe’6, a youth building peptide that helps rebuild damaged collagen to plump creases and crow’s feet, and hyaluronic acid and ceramide-3 to attract and maintain essential moisture for a smoother, more youthful appearance.

About the Author
Howard Murad, MD, FAAD, is a trained pharmacist, Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA's Geffen School of Medicine, founder of Murad Skincare Inc., President of The University for Inclusive Health and a physician who specializes in both inclusive health and dermatology. He has been acclaimed as a "Beauty Genius" by ELLE magazine and an "Industry Visionary" by the International SPA Association. His research in The Science of Cellular Water™ has revealed the ability of cell membranes to hold water as the fundamental marker of youthful good health and offers the world's most comprehensive insights into health and aging. His advocacy of the use of dietary supplements to promote skin health has earned him international recognition as the "Father of Internal Skincare." Dr. Murad is the accomplished author of four books advocating practical lifestyle choices as the path to looking and feeling as healthy and beautiful as possible.

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