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Prescription or Over-the-Counter Retinols

anti-ageing treatmentsOur Skin’s appearance is easily affected by many different environmental aggressors. This can cause increased signs of ageing, uneven skin tone and fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol is an incredible anti-ageing product with the ability to reduce the signs of ageing and minimize these concerns. It plumps and smoothes the skin’s elasticity and promotes new collagen. It can even prevent and erase existing sun damage. Retinol can be obtained from either over the counter products or stronger forms are prescribed by a Medical Practitioner. It is one of the most exciting skincare ingredients available today.

Retinol is the purest form of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an extremely effective ingredient that can transform the skin and help decrease visible signs of ageing. When applied to the skin, Vitamin A turns into retinoic acids. This acid is easily absorbed into the skin and helps to prevent the onset of wrinkles by regulating cell production.

The main difference between over-the-counter and prescription retinol is the strength of ingredients. The difference of strength affects how well the retinol’s ability can convert the retinoic acid into our skin.  When choosing between the two, it is important to consider your skin’s sensitivity, your timeline for desired results and also how much you want to spend.

Prescription retinol is stronger and intense and has a direct effect as a skin treatment. However, it can cause the skin to become more inflamed and the possibility of dry, flaking skin. However, it does provide faster and visible results. Prescription retinol provides a light chemical peel and helps speed up the natural exfoliation process and enhances collagen production.

On the other hand, over-the-counter retinol products provide a gentler and softer approach. It is not as effective as Prescription retinol, as it generally takes a lot longer to see results. However, OTC products dramatically reduces the negative side effects that prescription retinol provides. For example, less peeling, less redness and less sun-sensitivity.  Also, unlike most prescription retinols, an over-the-counter retinol is gentle enough to use daily.

It is important to start off using retinols very slowly, using the product only twice a week and gradually start using more regularly. You only need a pea sized amount to cover the whole face. In addition, as retinols do increase sun sensitivity, we advise to incorporate an SPF into your daily skin routine as a must! If you fail to do so, you risk causing severe redness and possible damage to your skin. You should start to see results within the first two weeks, with more dramatic results within eight to twelve weeks.

In summary, prescription retinol is stronger, has more dramatic and relatively quick results, and however has more side effects such as redness and peeling.  Over the counter retinol offers the same results, just a little slower and provides fewer side effects. Either choice, the proven benefits of retinol as a whole can provide amazing results for your skin!