Retinol : true vs false

Its anti-ageing properties have taken the world of cosmetics by storm. Smoothing out wrinkles and firming the skin, retinol - otherwise known as vitamin A - is THE ingredient of the moment. Here, we sort out the fact from the fiction regarding this wonder ingredient.

Retinol is used by dermatologists

True : Dermatologists first used the acid version of vitamin A (retinoic acid) to treat acne, but they immediately noticed that the treated skin appeared smoother and younger. Now, they prescribe retinol to fight against the signs of ageing. The ingredient has been the subject of numerous scientific studies.

Retinol is a vitamin

True : Retinol, or Vitamin A, is found in liver, tuna, butter, eggs and dairy products. Its precursor molecule, pro-vitamin A, is found in vegetables such as carrots, apricots, persimmons and spinach. This vitamin plays an important role in the quality of our bones, eyes and skin. What's more, pro-vitamin A helps to give the skin a slightly tanned hue, as well as boosting hydration. 

Retinol is stable

False : Retinol is a highly unstable molecule. It can be altered by oxygen, light and heat. Retinol-containing creams have to be carefully formulated and are presented in adapted packaging to protect it from exposure to light. It used to come packed in aluminium tubes and was recommended for overnight use only.

Retinol only acts at surface level

False : Retinol not only improves cell renewal in the epidermis, but also boosts the production of collagen fibres and glycosaminoglycans, including hyaluronic acid. It also has a positive impact on cutaneous immune cells and melanocytes, the cells that cause pigmentation. Plus it protects the skin from enzymes that gnaw away at its fibres. 
False : Nowadays, this is no longer an issue. Researchers have refined its form (pro-retinol being one), finely tuned dosages, and discovered which soothing ingredients it can be blended with. In other words, all skin types, including sensitive, can benefit from its powerful rejuvenating properties.