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The Power of Retinol: Unveiling Its Skincare Benefits and Potential Side Effects

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In the realm of skincare, few ingredients command as much attention and acclaim as retinol. Revered for its remarkable effectiveness in tackling a multitude of skin concerns, retinol has become a staple in many skincare routines.

Retinol, also known as vitamin A1, is a fat-soluble vitamin belonging to the vitamin A family. It occurs naturally in various foods such as cheese, eggs, oily fish, milk, yogurt, liver and liver products, and is commonly utilized as a dietary supplement. Retinol, along with other forms of vitamin A, plays essential roles in diverse bodily functions, including vision (its name derives from Retina), cellular development, maintenance of skin and mucous membranes’ health, immune function, and reproductive development.

When it comes to skincare, retinol stands out due to its ability to promote cellular turnover, stimulate collagen production, and improve skin texture. By encouraging the shedding of dead skin cells and revealing fresher layers underneath, retinol helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, giving the skin a more youthful and radiant appearance.


Retinoids and Retinoic Acid:

Retinol belongs to a broader group of compounds known as retinoids. Retinoids were first introduced in the market in the early 1970s as a treatment for acne, psoriasis, wrinkles and some forms of cancer, but it was later discovered that they were also promoting skin cell turnover rate and fading skin dark spots, and that’s when their popularity started to grow exponentially.

Retinoids encompass various forms of Vitamin A, including retinol, retinoic acid, and retinaldehyde. These substances differ in their potency and activity levels. Retinoic acid, the most potent form, is available by prescription and is often used in dermatological treatments for severe skin conditions. Retinol, on the other hand, is the over-the-counter version of retinoids and is gentler yet still effective in improving the skin’s overall appearance. It is converted into retinoic acid by the skin cells, allowing it to deliver similar benefits with milder effects. For this reason it is often mixed in moisturizers and anti-age creams, although due to its lower potency, the person that decides to use it to improve their skin should commit to a 12 week period of use minimum to begin to see results.


Comparing Retinol with Other Similar Substances:

While retinol shines in terms of effectiveness, it is worth exploring the differences between retinol and other similar substances. Retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, and retinaldehyde are other compounds belonging to the retinoid family. However, their conversion into retinoic acid, the active form of Vitamin A, is less efficient compared to retinol. This makes retinol the preferred choice in skincare products for visible improvements such as reducing wrinkles, evening out skin tone, and enhancing overall skin radiance. Retinyl palmitate, or vitamin A palmitate, is the ester of retinol (vitamin A) and palmitic acid. It is the most abundant form of vitamin A storage in animals.


Carotenoids and Natural Sources of Retinol:

Carotenoids are pigments in plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. These pigments produce the bright yellow, red, and orange colors in plants, vegetables, and fruits.
There are more than 600 different types of carotenoids. Some are precursors of Vitamin A and can be converted into retinol by the body. A few of the most common carotenoids include: alpha carotene, beta carotene, beta cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene.

These compounds are commonly found in various plants and foods, making them natural sources of retinol. They are absorbed through diet and act as a type of antioxidant for humans. Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, and tomatoes are rich in alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, two of the best Carotenoids to satisfy humans’ need for Vitamin A .
Including these foods in your diet can contribute to maintaining healthy levels of Vitamin A and indirectly support skin health. However, it is important to note that the conversion of carotenes to retinol is limited, and for targeted skincare benefits, topical application of retinol is still necessary.

At NEREA we made sure to include algae and plants rich in carotenoids to offer our customers the best natural sources of retinol. NEREA Florida, NEREA Nuvola and NEREA Sempreverde, with their algae, plants and fruits extracts provide your skin with all the benefits of retinol without the potential side effects.


Retinol in Skincare Products and Potential Side Effects:

Due to its popularity and proven efficacy, retinol has become a key ingredient in many skincare formulations. It can be found in various products, including serums, creams, and oils. When incorporating retinol into a skincare routine, it is essential to start with a lower concentration to allow the skin to acclimate gradually.

However, it is important to note that there can be potential side effects associated with retinoic acid. These side effects typically manifest as redness, burning, and scaling, as stated in a 2015 study. The intensity of these negative effects tends to increase with higher concentrations of the product. Since prescription retinoids are more potent, they can cause skin irritation sooner and for a longer duration.

Nevertheless, as the skin adapts and builds tolerance over time, the initial redness and irritation usually subside after a few weeks. Eventually, the skin becomes more resilient to the irritation while still benefiting from the retinoids.

To minimize the risk of a negative reaction, dermatologists typically recommend a gradual approach when incorporating retinol into your skincare routine. Many suggest starting with application every third night and gradually increasing the frequency over a week or two until using it every night. Starting with an over-the-counter retinol and gradually progressing to a prescription strength is also advisable as the skin’s tolerance improves.

It is recommended to choose an over-the-counter retinol product with a minimum concentration of 0.25 percent. If your skin is not particularly sensitive, you may opt for a higher concentration, but 0.25 percent is the minimum effective amount. Determining the ideal strength and frequency for your skin may require some trial and error, but it is a worthwhile endeavor. Almost everyone can use some formulation of it — it’s just a matter of getting your skin accustomed to it.

To minimize potential irritation, Dermatologists suggest applying moisturizer before and after the retinol application. This technique does not hinder the absorption of retinol into the skin. Another way to reduce potential side effects is to take Vitamin A in the form of Retinyl Palmitate instead of Retinol, being it less aggressive on the skin.

It is also advisable to apply retinols and retinoids at night, immediately after cleansing the face. Sun exposure can deactivate retinoic acid, making nighttime usage more effective. Additionally, retinoic acid can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight due to the thin and delicate nature of the newly surfaced skin. The Skin Cancer Foundation warns about the increased sun sensitivity caused by retinoic acid.

Lastly, it is crucial to suspend the use of retinol or retinoids if you are pregnant. Many women do not know this but a 2011 study linked retinol usage to birth defects, emphasizing the importance of avoiding these substances during pregnancy. Pregnant women who are still looking to continue to benefit from retinol, might consider the photochemical Bakuchiol. It has very similar effects to retinol in terms of increasing cell turnover, stimulating collagen production, and fighting signs of aging, but it does not present all the side effects of retinol and it is safe to use during pregnancy.


Retinol in Snail Secretion:

NEREA has already gained recognition for its premium organic snail slime skincare products, however something most people do not know is that snail mucin other than containing skin-boosting elements such as hyaluronic acid, allantoin, antioxidants, zin, manganese, glycosaminoglycans, copper peptides and Vitamin E, which acts as an anti-inflammatory ingredient, it also features plenty of Vitamin A, in the form of retinol, delivering all its abovementioned benefits in a natural way without the risk of side effects. NEREA Spirale and NEREA Gorgolaio are the best NEREA snail slime products to offer this natural source of Retinol.



Retinol, a form of Vitamin A, stands as a powerhouse ingredient in skincare due to its remarkable benefits. From promoting cellular turnover to stimulating collagen production and improving skin texture, retinol offers a myriad of improvements for the skin’s overall health and appearance. While retinol outshines other similar substances in terms of effectiveness, it is important to select the appropriate concentration to avoid dangerous side effects. NEREA organic skincare products contain retinol in most of their plants extracts, algae extracts and snail secretion filtrate extract, that way retinol is delivered in a natural way following the brand vision and idea of beauty, and can enhance your skincare routines and help you achieve a healthy, youthful, and radiant skin.