Few skin care ingredients have been as extensively studied—and proven—as retinoids, and these vitamin A derivatives have skin benefits that range from improvement in visible signs of aging to reduction in acne.
The primary effect of retinoids is increased skin cell turnover. Our skin cells are constantly multiplying and sloughing off, but when retinoids are introduced to the skin, damaged cells are eliminated and replaced with healthy cells more quickly. (In acne patients, this helps prevent pores from getting clogged, which is the first step of the acne cycle.) Secondarily, retinoids prompt the formation of new collagen in the upper levels of the skin that result in increased firmness and smoothness, and also reduce the activity of melanocytes, the cells that produce unwanted pigment in our skin.
Retinoids also play a role in preparing the skin for more aggressive treatments and procedures, including laser resurfacing, deeper chemical peels, and even plastic surgery. Not only do they help get the skin in its healthiest state, they also increase the rate at which skin heals and reduce the risk of pigment changes after such procedures.
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