Retinol is a form of vitamin A which comes from both animal and plant sources. Retinol in our diet and used topically is essential for maintaining healthy skin. Whatever its form, topical vitamin A plays a major role in maintaining the youth of your skin by boosting the process of cell regeneration. Vitamin A and it’s retinoid analogs stimulate skin cell renewal by increasing the rate of cell division. Through its powerful action as a signaling agent, vitamin A stimulates the binding of epidermal growth factor to your skin cells, thereby encouraging new cell growth. This helps keep your skin soft and smooth. In addition, vitamin A actually thickens your epidermis, which becomes thinner with age, and also improves the elasticity of your skin.

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Because vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, it penetrates your skin easily to enhance texture, improve mottled appearance, and minimize wrinkling. Vitamin A helps to reduce the number of destructive metalloproteinase enzymes that tear down your dermal matrix and it also stimulates vital collagen production. Finally, vitamin A’s impressive antioxidant properties allow it to neutralize the free radicals in your skin that can cause cellular damage and accelerate premature aging. With its ability to reduce wrinkles, increase collagen, protect your DNA, enhance skin thickness, and improve elasticity, vitamin A has rightfully earned its preeminent place as one of the most valuable ingredients known for healing aged or sun-damaged skin.

Vitamin A (aka, the makeup of Retinol) 

Liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and spinach are among the best places to find natural vitamin A. One place you’ll never find it, however, is on the label of a skin care product. International labeling law prohibits the use of the word “vitamin” in the list of ingredients of any skin care formula. It’s therefore virtually impossible to identify what vitamins are contained in any cosmetic product unless you specifically know what to look for. In the case of vitamin A, the answer will most likely be retinyl palmitate (although other forms such as retinol, retinyl acetate, and retinyl linoleate are sometimes used). Retinyl palmitate is an ester of retinol and palmitic acid that accounts for about 80% of the vitamin A found naturally in your skin. Due to its superb anti-aging, antioxidant and moisturizing abilities, retinyl palmitate is the form generally used in skin care products. Retinyl palmitate is also highly preferred because its chemical stability makes it easier to formulate and its greater skin-penetrating power gives it an obvious advantage over other vitamins  analogs like retinol.

Retinol is the weak version of retin-A. Retin-A, on the other hand, is a chemically modified form of retinol that is used topically on the skin to improve the complexion by stimulating cell turnover and collagen production — it is also known as Tretinoin.  There is also another chemically altered form of retinol called Accutane or ISO-tretinoin, which is thousands of times more potent than retin A. Accutane only comes in pill form to treat severe acne.

In short, retinol is found in most anti-aging products and can be bought over-the-counter and retin-A requires a prescription from your dermatologist (as does Accutane) along with a more detailed treatment (e.g. only use nightly due to it’s sun sensitivity and apply 3-4 times per week vs. daily due to the potent treatment that it offers).


When it comes to retinol, anyone can use it, since it is very weak and can be found in practically every anti-aging product. Dr. Goldfaden recommends to start using retinol in your early to mid-thirties. Think about retina treatment, which is a more potent version of Retinol a later in life or if you have visible sun damage. It will help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, reduce pigmentation and build more



If you suffer from sensitive skin including eczema and rosacea, Retin-A is not recommended while a very low dose of retinol can be used if found within the formula of a product, but this would need to be recommended by your dermatologist.

If you overuse retin-A and you don’t follow instructions (e.g. use X amount of times per week, at night, etc.), moisturize or use sunblock, you absolutely can get red, flaky, dry and cracked skin. Retin-A turns the cells over at a very high speed so initial reactions of experiencing redness, flaking of the skin, dryness, inflammation is certainly not uncommon. With limited use and the integration of the correct soothing products – oils, moisturizers, etc. can reverse and heal the damage quickly.


  • Finer pores
  • Reduced fine lines and wrinkles
  • Softer, dewier and increased glowing skin
  • Reduced brown spots and healthier younger-looking skin

With so many anti-aging options on the market, how do you decide what is best for you?

“One of the older yet most effective ingredients, Retinol, is still at the top of my list for anti-aging, says Dr. Gary Goldfaden.” A little bit of Retinol each day goes a long way. There seems to be concern about over using this anti aging wonder ingredient, due to some of the red, thin faces you may see out there. Have no fear, as long as you do not overdo, you will reap the benefits of retinol without the side effects.

Breaking Down Retinol:

Retinoids are a derivative of Vitamin A. Retinol is the non-prescription, more gentle version of a retinoid. Retinoids are prescription-only and you need to obtain a prescription from your dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Retinol and retinoids are the favorite anti aging ingredients because so much research has been conducted. Retinoids work by preventing the rise of an enzyme called collagenase and boosting collagen already present in the skin. Retiniods and Retinol speed up

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cell turnover, which causes skin to look younger, tighter and smoother. They also reverse signs of sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles and even out discoloration from the sun, giving the skin tone an all over even look.

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You can expect to see the benefits of Retinoids within 4 weeks of starting. Retinol, due to its more gentle makeup takes around 12 weeks to start noticing a difference, but continual long term usage is extremely beneficial for the skin as it works to . If you are just starting out with retinol, try an over the counter product that won’t be too harsh. Many people have side effects when first starting, so ease your skin in. If you are not seeing the desires results, try a prescription retinol product. If you have sensitive type skin or reactive skin stick with a OTC product that contains hydrating and soothing ingredients.

– Clears Acne
– Diminishes Wrinkles
– Lightens Discoloration + Evens Overall Skin Tone
– Shrinks Pore Size

“When choosing an anti-aging lotion that contains retinol consider other ingredients that help boost the effects. Our Wake Up Call contains alpha lipoic acid, DMAE, glucosamine, CoQ10 and avocado oil which all assist retinol in improving the appearance of photo-damaged, wrinkled, loose skin while the avocado oil helps to hydrate.” Dr. Gary Goldfaden reports

When to Start?:

I often get asked “at what age should I start using retinol?”. This is all dependent on how you have treated you skin thus far. If you’re in your late 20’s and have a lot of sun damage and fine line and wrinkles, then it’s time to start. A good rule of thumb is by 30 you should be using anti-aging products and something that contains retinol. The sooner you start restoring and protecting your skin the better.

Two important tips about seeing the benefits of retinol quicker is to use an exfoliator(chemical or physical) and wear an SPF everyday. Exfoliation helps to remove old dead skin cells which make skin brighter and softer. Protecting your skin by wearing an SPF, you will create less damage and be able to see results quicker. The key is everything helps in the fights against aging!


Anti-Aging, treatment skincare is all about the ingredients and these are five ingredients that you want to be using.


This vitamin-A (Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and spinach are among the best places to find natural vitamin A) powerhouse derivative treats everything from fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, dullness, crepiness, and sagging skin. When using products that contain Retinol you can expect your skin to be clearer, softer, brighter, and less-lined.


Retinol speeds up cell turnover, exfoliates away the dead cells that cause dullness, and boosts elastin and collagen by stimulating cellular repair deep into the dermis levels of the skin. Retinol also increases blood-vessel formation by increasing circulation, so skin looks plumper, healthier and more-radiant.


Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals caused from UVA/UVB rays, pollution, smoking, and environmental stresses. One of the most important existing antioxidants is Red Tea which contains some of the most potent natural antioxidants known for protecting your skin from the free radical damage that can cause aging. These include vitamins C, E and beta-carotene. Red tea is known to possess 50 times the antioxidant capacity of green tea due to a high concentration of a special enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD for short), a major scavenger of free radicals. The combination of these natural vitamins and enzymes found in red tea aids in promoting new skin health after the removal of dead and damaged cells, giving your skin a smoother, brighter, and healthier appearance. In addition, red tea also contains a number of powerful polyphenols and flavonoids that help heal and rejuvenate the skin.

Aspalathin (found only in red tea) and nothofagin, are two main flavonoids that can help strengthen your capillary walls by decreasing the permeability and fragility of veins and lymph vessels. Flavonoids also have strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, the alpha hydroxy acid found in African red tea gently stimulates healthy cell turnover, leaving your skin noticeably softer and smoother. Red tea also contains zinc that helps heal and cleanse impurities while it calms and soothes your skin. Regular and continued use of red tea with its antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties will visibly improve skin clarity, brightness, tone and texture. Red tea helps reduce the appearance of many types of skin imperfections, including fine lines, acne scars, and dark spots, resulting in younger, healthier-looking skin.

Alpha-hydroxy acids:

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acid (BHA). The alpha hydroxy family of acids is derived from natural sources such as fruit, milk or sugar. Two of the most widely used in skin care products today are glycolic acid (made from sugar) and lactic acid (made from milk). Alpha hydroxy acid-based facial exfoliators are an excellent choice for people with oily skin. In general, beta hydroxy acid is a more effective treatment for acne prone skin. Beta-hydroxy acid (also called salicylic acid), is a synthetic derivative that comes from the same source as aspirin. Both AHAs and BHA work by combining with the structural lipids in your stratum corneum and dissolving them so that the dead skin cells break away.

Vitamin C:

The ability of Vitamin C to revitalize

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aging skin is largely due to its beneficial effects on collagen. Collagen is a tough, fibrous protein that is relatively inelastic and very strong. It supplies the basic framework that gives your skin its form, firmness, and strength, while elastin provides flexibility. Overall, the amount of new collagen that your skin produces declines with age, while the rate of its destruction increases. Fortunately, topical vitamin C has been scientifically proven to help stimulate collagen synthesis.1-3 It also helps block the production of enzymes the break down collagen, 4 making it one of nature’s most effective anti-aging nutrients.

Hyaluronic Acid:

Hyaluronic acid is a large, sugar-like molecule that’s found in virtually every tissue of your body. Hyaluronic acid is an ideal moisturizer and skin plumping agent because it can attract and retain 1000 times its own weight in water (a feat unmatched by any other substance in nature). The volumizing effect it has on your skin adds vital fullness that can minimize facial wrinkles, plump up thin skin and maintain proper moisture levels by preventing dehydration in the skin.

Unfortunately, although hyaluronic acid is found in great abundance in youthful skin, the cumulative damage caused by free radicals drastically depletes these hyaluronic acid reserves. That’s why, particularly for mature skin, the use of hyaluronic acid as an ingredient to aid cell renewal and help restore healthy texture, color, and moisture.