The One Thing ALL Skin Experts Agree On (Other Than Sunscreen)

It doesn’t happen very often, but occasionally I’ll read something that is SO true and SO on point that I wish I had written the piece first.
This article from Corrire Pikul on the Huffington Post inspired one of those moments. A Frankestein piece of my thoughts mixed with Corrire’s, the following information provides great insight and advice into an universally beloved skin care product.

When it comes to antiaging, everyone’s got their favorite?tricks for younger, better skin. However, no matter who you ask – there is one ingredient that tops the must-try lists of all the experts and has reams of scientific support…

Ask any skin expert for their No. 1 skin-care recommendation and you know you’ll hear something along the lines of: “Wear SPF! Seriously! What’s it going to take to get you people to put it on?!”

So when the experts were asked about their second most important piece of skin advice, every one of them said the same thing: “Use retinoids.”

Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that have been proven to boost collagen production (reducing wrinkles and preventing fine lines), speed cell turnover (evening out discoloration?and brightening skin tone) and unclog pores (making them look smaller and reducing acne).

“I can always tell when a woman uses these. She’ll have that dewy, fresh-faced look?like she just had a facial,” says Emmy Graber, MD, a dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at the Boston University School of Medicine.


Interested in trying it out for yourself? You’ll want to know these 4 things before giving retinoids a whirl:

1. You don’t need an Rx, but here’s why you might want one.

Tretinoin, the most common prescription retinoid, is stronger, more potent and faster-acting than retinol, the OTC version, says Graber. In fact, the lowest Rx concentration can be 20 times stronger than the highest amount allowed by the FDA in drugstore products, one study showed. But because retinoids have been known to cause redness and dryness among the newly initiated, the OTC products can be an excellent starting point for sensitive skin. Graber says that the lower-concentration retinoid products may be especially beneficial for the eye area, where the skin is thinner and more delicate than the rest of the face. (SkinMedica makes an excellent version that is time-released in order to give your skin all of the benefits of the a retinol, without the irritation.)

2. They have something (very important!) in common with Gremlins.

Stay away from the sun when using any kind of retinol. Not only is retinol-treated skin super-sensitive to UV rays and likely to burn, but the sunlight also makes the product less effective. That’s why the experts strongly recommend putting these products on your face before bed and using a sunscreen every morning. (“If I have a patient going on a beach vacation, I’ll even tell her to stop using Retin-A for a week prior to departure,” Graber says.)

3. Once you start, you won’t want to go back.

“I don’t know anyone over age 25 who could not benefit from a nightly retinol product,” says Brooke Jackson, MD, a dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology at UNC at Chapel Hill. You may notice results in as little as four weeks if you’re using a stronger prescription product; opt for an OTC cream, and it will take closer to 12 weeks for you to notice a difference. The benefits last for as long as you keep up the routine and as long as your skin keeps responding. Retinols haven’t been proven unsafe in prolonged use, and once your skin acclimates to your current strength you can always upgrade to the next potency level. (Just be aware that even long-term users may need to take breaks, as retinols are not considered safe for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding!)

4. This is the most costly mistake people make with retinoids.

They put on too much (because they think more is better) but you only need a pea-size amount for your entire face, Graber says. Slathering on retinoid creams won’t only cause you to quickly use up your supply, but it can also cause redness, dryness and irritation. Even when used judiciously, retinoids can be quite drying. (We recommend applying a moisturizer on top of the retinol, just before bed, to help stave off any discomfort!)?