What is retinol?

Retinol is one of the most widely used products in cosmetics for its anti-aging effects, and also one of the oldest, as it has been used for more than 40 years.

It is a vitamin A based cell regenerator. Stimulates the natural production of collagen and hyaluronic acid, renewing the skin, reducing blemishes and wrinkles. With continued use, it evens skin tone and texture.


Retinol belongs to the retinoid family, the use of which can be harmful in high concentrations.

Therefore, we can distinguish between publicly available retinoids, indicated for use in cosmetics, and specifically available retinoids or preparations, such as retinoic acid, tretinoin and isotretinoin, which are prescribed by dermatologists for, for example, the treatment of acne.

Some variations of retinol for cosmetics, with even superior results, are retinaldehyde and retinyl retinoic acid.

Why is it so good?

When retinol is applied to the skin, it is converted to retinaldehyde and then to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid is much more effective than retinol. It is the active form of vitamin A.

Retinol has a low molecular weight, so it is able to penetrate the skin and reach deeper layers. By stimulating the production of collagen and elastin, it helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

It also promotes cell renewal, leading to improved skin texture, elasticity and radiance.

Retinol works as:

  • Anti-wrinkle
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-stain
  • Moisturizer
  • Luminosity
  • Texture

How to use retinol

The first few applications of retinol may cause irritation or redness. It is recommended to start with a low frequency and increase it as the skin accepts it.

It is recommended for use, above all, on mature skin, but is also formulated in creams for teenagers with acne, due to its excellent exfoliating effect. The Age Solution 360 product from the Mesoactives line includes retinol to combat wrinkles in mature skin.

The European Union recommends retinol concentrations not exceeding 0.3% due to its toxicity. There are other derivatives, used in cosmetics, which do not irritate the skin and allow higher concentrations, but their effects are lower.

Exposure of retinol to the sun may cause irritation, so it is recommended to use it at night and to apply a sunscreen during the day.

On the other hand, retinol causes dryness, so a moisturizing product should be used after its application.

It is contraindicated for use during pregnancy and lactation.

As retinol has so many indications, it would be advisable to consult professionals who can evaluate the facial needs of each person and program an effective action.

Commitment to quality

This text on retinol has been written by professional editors and reviewed by Sisneo’s medical-aesthetic team. In addition, we have relied on experts in medicine, engineering and aesthetics as a source of information, as well as specific studies to maintain the quality of what we publish.

At Sisneo Bioscience we are committed to publish truthful and contrasted information. And to update or correct it as soon as new knowledge becomes available.

Among others, we have used the following references:

  • Mukherjee S, Date A, Patravale V, Korting HC, Roeder A, Weindl G. «Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety» en Clin Interv Aging. 2006;1(4):327-348. doi: 10.2147/ciia.2006.1.4.327.