Retinol (Vitamin A) works on so many skin types in so many ways, but what I wanted to do today was talk about it in relation to acne.
How Retinol works
Retinol is the only ingredient proven without a doubt to improve the cellular function of the skin.
Retinol stimulates and regulates certain functions in the skin. It works at a cellular level-meaning it penetrates deep to work on all layers of the skin. It works on the sebocyte (oil) cells as mentioned below, it also works by stimulating the mitochondria- which is the energy powerhouse in your skin cell increasing overall cell health and function. Your skin cells have Vitamin A antennas on them allowing them to feed on the vitamin A and then repair any deficiencies with it.
- Regulates acne by controlling your sebocyte (oil) cells.
As mentioned above you skin cells have little antennas on them to allow them to feed on Vitamin A in your skin. Your sebocyte (oil) cells have them as well. Your sebocyte cells go through mitosis (which is cell death to allow new cells to be produced.) When these cells are healthy they breakdown as they are meant to and leave very little behind, but if they are unhealthy they leave a lot of debris behind, this adds to built up debris in your pores leading to congestion and acne. This is why it is important to use Vitamin A (and B) serum as it feeds the cell making it healthier and break down in a healthy way.
By making the sebocyte cell healthier we reduce the size of the sebaceous gland reducing oil production.
- Increases collagen production, speeding up the wound healing process.
Vitamin A prevents the rise of an enzyme called collagenase it’s an enzyme that breaks down collagen and helps to stimulate the production of new collagen.
The quicker your skin heals the less scaring you are left with. The main component of the wound healing process is collagen. With the right amount of collagen production in your skin, your wound will heal faster allowing the skin cells to continue with the healing process underneath.
- Speeds up cell turnover.
The skin naturally sheds dead skin cells every 28-40 days on average, this slows down as we age and why your skin never seems as bright and glowing as it did when you were younger.
When skin is healthy as new skin cells are born the older skin cells are pushed up through the layers of the skin until it reaches the top layer the known as the stratum corneum. By the time the cell reaches this layer, it can be rough, dry and flaky. This is what we consider as a dead skin cell. New skin cells continue to arrive at the skin’s surface, pushing older cells off from beneath.
Cell turnover though isn’t as efficient in people with acne. In those with acne, the natural process is interrupted. Acne-prone skin produces more dead skin cells than other skins and these cells don’t properly shed. This condition is called retention hyperkeratosis
In normal functioning skin, excess dead skin cells are constantly being sloughed away naturally. In acne-prone skin, dead cells remain stuck on the skin’s surface and within the follicle, creating clogged pores. This is why speeding up the cell process by increasing cell turnover is important. You can do this by exfoliating on the surface which is important, but you can over exfoliate, which is why using Vitamin A by increasing the new cell production from within reduces irritation and dryness on the top layer.