Retinol in general is the animal form of vitamin A and a fat-soluble vitamin important in vision and bone growth. Retinol, both natural and synthetic derivatives, is among the most useable form of vitamin A, which also includes Retinal (aldehyde form), Retinoic acid (acid form) and retinyl ester (ester form). These chemical compounds are collectively known as Retinoids, and all possess the biological activity of all-trans Retinol as a common feature in their structure. R Retinoids (all-trans Retinoic Acid or Tretinoin) are the prescription ingredient in Retin-A® or Renova® and Retinol is the less irritating ingredient available in a wide variety of products.
Retinol derivatives are also used as anti-aging chemicals where vitamin A is absorbed through the skin, increasing the rate of skin cell turnover, giving an increase in collagen and a more youthful appearance to the skin. Retinoids also have many important biologic effects: they regulate growth and of cells, diminish malignant cell growth, decrease inflammation, and enhance the immune system. The discovery that Vitamin A derivatives or molecules that interact with Retinoids’ receptors have beneficial effects in many skin diseases, particularly acne, and has been one of the major therapeutic advances in dermatological therapy. Retinoid products are better used at night, when degradation by light is minimal. It is important for patients on Retinoids of any kind to apply sunscreen daily, as retinoid use is associated with increased photosensitivity.
Researchers from the University of Michigan (U-M) Medical School tested lotions containing Retinol – vitamin A that is found in many skin-care products – on the skin of elderly patients. Lotion containing retinol was used on one arm of each participant, while a lotion without retinol was applied to the other arm.
Wrinkles, roughness and overall aging severity were all significantly reduced in the retinol-treated arm compared with the control arm. The production of collagen, due to the retinol treatment, also makes it more likely that the skin can withstand injury and ulcer formation.
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