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Straight from the desk of Dr. Tina West.

Retinol Does NOT Thin the Skin

Tina West April 19, 2018 0 comments 7

I hear this all of the time. I recently walked into a Blue Mercury and a salesperson asked me what skin care I used. Without getting into what I did for a living and being in a hurry I responded with, “I use a retinoid and all medical skincare by a dermatologist.”

Her response was, “Oh no you should not be using a retinoid, they thin your skin”. This false statement I hear all too often.

When I meet new patients, most of the time if they are not using a retinoid product it’s because someone has said this to them along the way.

Let’s start by talking about what a retinoid actually is and what it does. Retinol is a form of vitamin A. We often hear “Retin A” which is the primary pharmaceutical prescribed to treat acne and anti-aging. Retin A is retinoic acid. This has been proven to stimulate cell turnover which causes our skin cells to exfoliate and reproduce faster like they did when we were children.

They also stimulate collagen and elastin production. Over time, fine lines and wrinkles become less visible, sun damage starts to lighten, acne improves, and the skin appears brighter and the texture and elasticity improves.

The only negative to the often prescribed Retin A is that a lot of people get irritated, peeling skin and aren’t compliant with the directions. The “peeling” or sloughing off of skin is NOT your skin thinning it is the increased cell turnover taking action and dead skin exfoliating to expose the new healthy and glowing skin.

All retinoids are not created equal. If you are buying a retinoid over the counter ie. a department store or drug store (unless prescription) than it is not enough of the active ingredient to do much or they would not be able to sell it.

Because “Retin A” can be irritating to many people, there are numerous companies that have come out with new technology that are very effective without being as irritating. The West Institute carries several effective brands, but Skin Better Science has come out with a revolutionary retinol product called, AlphaRet that is great for all skin types- especially the most sensitive. This is also a great retinoid to start with if you have never used one before.

There are a few things to remember when starting a retinoid. If you are breast feeding or pregnant you cannot use a retinoid. Retinoids should always be applied at night to dry skin. Retinoids can be used all year long but will make you more sensitive to sun so make sure you are using an anti-oxidant serum and a good sunblock with zinc!

For any questions call us for a complimentary product consult to find the retinoid that is best for you!


About Chelsea Grimes, Aesthetician

Chelsea is a licensed aesthetician and a graduate of the Aveda Institute in Washington DC.  In conjunction with her aesthetic experience, Chelsea completed her Nursing education and received her LPN in 2010.

Chelsea has over six years of aesthetic experience in both the plastic surgery and dermatology field.

Chelsea’s intention is to share her passion and knowledge for aesthetics to help people achieve optimal skin health goals and feel better about themselves. She believes there is nothing more rewarding than helping people feel more confident in their own skin.

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