Infographic: How Does Retinol Work?

Skin Care

Ready for some scary facts about aging? Your skin starts aging even while it may look smooth and supple.

Aging starts with the skin’s building blocks. Collagen is the fibrous protein material found in your flesh and connective tissues (Molecular Cell Biology). It’s one of the proteins, in addition to elastin, that gives your skin its elasticity. After maturation — which happens surprisingly early (around age 21) — your collagen production decreases by about 10 percent (Cosmetic Dermatology).

But that’s not the only scary part. What’s more upsetting is that all that time spent in the sun getting UV-radiation speeds up this process, as does smoking, poor diet, and a host of other extrinsic factors.

Fear not, collagen can be rebuilt by increasing production. You’ve heard us talk about it before, but retinol, like FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5, works to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, increasing skin firmness, increasing skin smoothness, and actually preventing aging (Archives of Dermatology, Archives of Dermatology, Methods in Enzymology).

So how does it work? [Click the infographic to enlarge]


Bottom Line

Retinol works because it deactivates the matrix metalloproteinases that break down collaged, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. The best time to start anti-aging products is before you see the signs of aging. Retinol is a great way to stave off the damages of aging. We recommend starting slowly, two nights a week before increasing frequency to every night. And, of course, layering a good moisturizer overtop!

Infographic by Meredith Komarek

  • Chris

    Barbara, I read the same about water, but I think if you wash your face then wait 20 minutes, apply the Retinol, then wait another 20 minutes, it should have absorbed and you can then add a moisturiser. Just my understanding, if that’s wrong someone please correct me.

  • Barbara Baker

    I recently read that “water” ( first ingredient in most moisturizers), reduces the effect of Retinol products.
    Is this true?

  • Christina

    Thanks Meredith. Would you recommend dabbing retinol products underneath the delicate eye area?

  • Taylor

    That’s such a neat info-graphic, Meredith! 🙂
    It really makes the info so much clearer and digestable.

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