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Uses for Retinol

Uses for Retinol

Retinol is a vitamin A derivative which is available in foods and required by the body to perform tasks like cellular growth and vision protection. In addition to being a component of foods, retinol has also been synthesized in laboratories so that it can be taken in pill form or used on the skin in cream form. There are many different uses for topical and oral retinol.


Topical retinol creams such as Renova and Retin-A are most notably used to treat and help prevent acne. The Mayo Clinic explains that retinol creams most often are prescribed by dermatologists for people with severe acne rather than mild or moderate skin problems. These creams help to reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin and inhibit acne from forming. Unfortunately, they can also make the skin very dry, according to the Mayo Clinic.


Another use of retinol in cream form is wrinkle treatment. The Oprah website explains that many adults who have wrinkles want to reduce the appearance of fine lines but are worried that retinol will cause their skin to become too try and flaky. Yet using retinol cream at night will reduce the side effects and over time, fill in fine lines and diminish wrinkles. The Mayo Clinic also states that retinol cream can help make skin look more youthful overall.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Retinol in capsule form is effective in treating people with vitamin A deficiency, according to the Mayo Clinic. While vitamin A deficiency is not common in the United States, the symptoms can be severe and include dry eyes, poor growth and vision problems. People, especially children in third world countries, who have low vitamin A levels in their body can benefit from supplementing with retinol.

Skin Cancer Prevention

Retinol may be effective in reducing the risk of skin cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic, though more scientific research is necessary to confirm these results. The Mayo Clinic explains that both the oral pill and cream form of retinol have been tested, and that they can help to prevent skin cancer. This beneficial use is especially true when combined with the regular use of sunscreen. Therefore, some skincare companies have been combining retinol with sunscreens to create a 2-in-1 facial cream which can reduce acne, fight wrinkles and reduce skin cancer risk.

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