Photography by Alvaro Goveia for Weddingbells.
Ramping up your skincare routine is critical in the months leading up to your wedding (in fact you should get yourself on a corrective skin program from engagement day onwards). There is one tried and tested ingredient you should consider adding into your regime that will deliver everything you want in wedding day skin—a clear complexion, smooth appearance and radiance. Retinol will deliver all this and more.
Today there are many products that contain Retinol on the market, but it’s not as easy as just picking one up, you need to know how to use retinol properly; it’s a potent ingredient and can aggravate skin if overused or used incorrectly. We spoke to renowed Los Angeles-based dermatologist Dr. Howard Murad, M.D., F.A.A.D, who’s also a trained pharmacist, associate clinical professor of medicine at U.C.L.A. and founder of Murad Skincare Inc. to learn about the benefits of Retinol, how to use it and some other insider tips he has to achieve wedding-perfect skin.
What is Retinol? “Retinol is a form of vitamin A. As a commercial skincare ingredient, Retinol was initially used to help treat acne, blackheads and dead cell buildup in pores, but early on we discovered that it also had some useful properties in terms of helping reduce fine lines and wrinkles. These days, Retinol works in three ways: it exfoliates, aids in production of collagen and fights free radicals. Retinol is both preventative and corrective, helping you minimize the signs of aging you can see and the ones you cannot see yet. In short, Retinol works to dissolve dead skin layers and allow for new, smoother and softer layers to form.”
Though it has many benefits, Retinol must be used with caution. How should it be utilized to achieve best results? “Retinol tends to be a potent ingredient in most products and may cause irritation when the formula relies on a single form of retinol to deliver results. Murad’s retinol products contain a Tri-Active Technology consisting of a fast-acting retinoid, time-released Retinol—which controls the release of the retinol to minimize the potential for irritation—and a Retinol booster. This unique combination of three technologies allows for the formula to be effective and safe for sensitive skin.”
How do you recommend incorporating retinol products into your skincare routine and why are Retinol-boosted products especially beneficial for brides-to-be? “Retinol causes some photosensitivity in skin. That’s why it should be used at night, followed by sun protection the next day. Recommended frequency of use varies by skin type and the amount of retinol in the product being used. It’s a good idea to ask your dermatologist if retinol-based products are right for you and if so, how often to use them. Basic guidance for starting a product with prescription Retin-A or over-the-counter retinol is to begin using the product every other night and, if it is well tolerated, work up to a nightly routine. Retinol is beneficial for brides-to-be because the consistent application of a retinol serum will act as a preventive treatment to avoid signs of early aging and keep their skin glowing and youthful before, during and after their wedding day.”
Is there a best age to start using Retinol? “You can begin using Retinol as early as the age of 20 years old. However, if you have acne, you may be prescribed a retinoid as early as your teenage years, such as adapalene, an advanced retinoid specifically designed to treat acne.”
You share there is a way also to get your Retinol naturally, could you explain this? “What people often don’t know is you can extract natural sources of Retinol within your diet. Some dietary sources of vitamin A can provide you with an internal path to many of the benefits you can receive from topical retinoids. Each of the following contains at least 0.15 mg of retinoids per 1.75–7 oz (50–198 g): cod liver oil, butter, margarine, eggs, cheese and milk.”
When putting together a skincare countdown in advance of wedding day, what are things you recommend a bride must do, and avoid? “I recommend following our four main pillars of wellness to achieve total skin (and body) health prior to her wedding day. The first is eat your water.it’s important to stay hydrated—drinking fluids but also eating water-rich fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, apples, oranges, celery, etc. by eating your water it allows your body to retrain hydration for longer. Awaken your body with exercise and meditation. Be kind to your mind with positive affirmations that motivate you and make you appreciate how special and unique you are. Nourish your skin and keep it hydrated! Most importantly avoid stress! I coined a term known as Cultural Stress, which I refer to as the stress of modern living. We have so many constant stresses in our lives and it’s important to break away from those stresses—for me, I like to paint, it brings out my inner child. From a skincare perspective, do not try any new or harsh treatments in case your skin has a reaction. Always consult with your dermatologist on which treatments would be best for you and your skin. Always wear SPF when you’re out during the day!"
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