The OTC Skincare Ingredient That Helps With Sun Damage, Pores, Lines and More

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The OTC Skincare Ingredient That Helps With Sun Damage, Pores, Lines and More

By Nicole Catanese, Women's Health

Having a crazy-good complexion is #skingoals, but getting there isn’t always easy. Figuring out what works (and doesn’t) is super time consuming—and it can also be ridiculously expensive. Ready to finally find a daily skincare product that really works (at the drugstore, no less)? According to experts, all you need is a retinol, an over-the-counter version of a retinoid.

Here's why: Retinoids are literally the one skincare ingredient that dermatologists recommend on repeat, and years of research and IRL results have shown help with a variety of issues, such as breakouts, sun spots, fine lines, and more.

Read on to learn why retinol is the multi-tasking ingredient you definitely need in your healthy-looking skin arsenal, how to choose the best gentle formula, and exactly how to use it.

What are retinoids and retinol, exactly?

Retinoids are a group of vitamin A derivatives that come in two forms: prescription-strength and over-the-counter. The Rx-versions (like Renova or Retin-A) are stronger, and therefore can be irritating especially when you first start using them. While the OTC kinds (which you’d know as ‘retinol’) are often gentler and easier to tolerate. Bottom line: Both work by getting retinoic acid into your skin, which is what makes all the magic happen.How it can help your skin

“Retinoic acid helps regulate and normalize the rate at which your skin cells turn over,” explains Sajal Shah, MD, a dermatologist and founder of Smarter Dermatology in New York City. This, she says, “benefits acne, clogged pores, even brown spots, as well as improves collagen and elastin production, and as a result, minimizes and prevent lines.”


The OTC Skincare Ingredient That Helps With Sun Damage, Pores, Lines and More
As your skin matures, you likely need to reach for different ingredients to keep it clear. That’s because the breakouts you’re dealing with now aren’t the same as what you experienced as a teen—hormones, diet, lifestyle, and stress all play a role in what kind of blemishes you see, as well as when you see them.

Instead of the benzoyl-peroxide and salicylic acid-based spot treatments you used to apply, an OTC retinol should be your new go-to. Retinoic acid instigates skin cells to work their way up to the surface, at which point they slough off and brand new cells replace them. This cell turnover keeps your pores clear by preventing old skin cells—and the bacteria that follows—from building up. Translation: fewer pimples and blackheads.


The OTC Skincare Ingredient That Helps With Sun Damage, Pores, Lines and More

Have you noticed that brown spots—the type you see after getting a ton of sun exposure—no longer fade like they did when you were younger? You can thank the ultraviolet light your skin faces year-round, plus the fact that your adult skin can’t ward off damage like it used to.

“UV light and pollution causes free radical damage in the skin," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, head of dermatology at Mount Sinai Dermatology in New York City. “This stimulates activity of pigment producing skin cells and leads to permanent dark blotches.”

Because retinoic acid “enhances cell turnover, your skin can shed heavily pigmented cells that contribute to hyperpigmentation,” explains Dr. Zeichner. It also may help block excess pigment from forming, which prevents sunspots in the first place, explains Dr. Shah.

Fine lines

The OTC Skincare Ingredient That Helps With Sun Damage, Pores, Lines and More

Think lines aren’t an issue just yet? Think again. “After the age of 30, skin cell turnover and collagen production declines,” Dr. Zeichner notes. Because springy, healthy collagen fibers are what keeps your skin line-free and your pores tiny, it’s essential to help maintain collagen production.

“Retinoic acid helps improve collagen and elastin synthesis, the building blocks of your skin, which in turn help slow down the signs of aging, like the formation of permanent fine lines,” says Dr. Shah.

A retinoid eye cream can be helpful, too. “Because the skin in this area is so thin, it helps thicken it, which gives a more plump appearance with less lines with continuous use,” explains Dr. Shah.

Anything else I need to know?

Experts suggest incorporating a retinoid product into your nighttime skincare. “At night your skin goes into repair mode and that is what a retinoid is doing for your skin—reversing damage,” explains Dr. Shah. “During the day your skin is in protective mode, fighting off environmental assaults like pollution and UV light.”

A p.m. retinol routine also lets you layer more products than you would during the day. If you’re obsessed with your current night moisturizer, simply apply a thin layer of Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Face Serum Fragrance-Free on clean skin, and then your favorite moisturizer on top. Love the idea of having retinol plus mega-moisturizers in one product and don’t want an extra step? Opt for Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Face Moisturizer Fragrance-Free. And don't forget the skin around your eyes. Try Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Eye Cream Fragrance-Free.

Each of the Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 products are also formulated with a gentle version of OTC retinol as well as retinyl-propionate (versus the more commonly used retinyl-palmitate, a large molecule that doesn’t always penetrate skin as well), plus the moisturizer glycerin along with skin-calming vitamin B3 and skin-firming amino acid peptides. In turn, you’re more likely to get all the beauty benefits without the irritation you may have experienced with other OTC brands or an Rx in the past, plus more advanced penetration to be sure the active ingredients are actually getting into your skin.
The OTC Skincare Ingredient That Helps With Sun Damage, Pores, Lines and More



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The OTC Skincare Ingredient That Helps With Sun Damage, Pores, Lines and More
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