Although the skin is subject to acne, other skin conditions and aging, as the body’s largest organ, it also has the potential to soak up a lot of healthy vitamins. One of the main vitamins our skin soaks up is vitamin D, which it absorbs from sunlight. The skin can also absorb vitamins from face creams and moisturizers, including retinoids, which contain lots of vitamin A. Retinoids may be the way to healthier, more youthful skin. Read on to learn more about retinoids, retinol cream and how you can make your own homemade retinol cream.
What Is Retinol Cream?
Retinoids and retinol cream products were originally developed in the 1970s as an acne treatment. They also are used as a way to help treat aging skin, psoriasis and warts. Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives. Vitamin A has been known to help with eyesight and it also helps keep the skin healthy. Retinoids are derived from animal sources and include retinol. Other sources come from carotenoids, originally from plants, and include beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. The major carotenoids are lycopene, lutein, and zeaxantuin, and are filled with antioxidant and photoprotective properties. (1)
Retinol face cream has many uses, such as minimizing the appearance of wrinkles, helping keep the skin thicker, maintaining the elasticity of the skin, slowing the breakdown of collagen, which helps keep the skin firm, and lightening those annoying brown spots caused by sun exposure and age. Retinoids can speed up the cell turnover of the skin. This process helps even out skin discoloration and smooths the skin.
Commercial Retinoid Products
You may have heard of Retin-A. Retin-A was the first prescription retinoid, Tretinoin, that the FDA approved nearly 40 years ago, but even today you cannot get it without a prescription. (2) However, a study shows that after several weeks of use, over 50 percent of participants had a reduction in wrinkles. (3)
Types of retinoids: alitretinoin, isotretinoin and tretinoin, etretinate, acitretin, tazarotene and adapalene, differin, seletinoid G
Common brand names: Panretin, Accutane, Roaccutane, Accure and IsotrexGel,, Tretinoin, Renova, Retin-A and Vesanoid, Tegison, Soriatane, Tazorac, Fabior, Avage, Differin, Targretin
The peeling that often occurs when beginning to use retinol actually helps to thicken the skin, giving it a more youthful appearance. And this sloughing off of dead skin cells is what helps get rid of the dark spots by diminishing the production of melanin.
Regardless, the process requires about three to six months of consistent daily use to make a difference. Some prescription versions are more potent and could be more effective in a shorter period of time. However, they may cause more peeling at first than the over-the- counter options.
Some common side effects include:
a burning sensation
warmth to the skin
stinging and tingling
dryness and peeling
discoloration of the skin
In some rare cases, side effects include hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing. This could be an allergic reaction. You may need to stop and consult your doctor. (4)
Now that you know a little about retinol, how about making your very own retinol cream? Because retinol is a form of vitamin A that can come from plant sources, it is easy to find the right ingredients to help you have amazing skin! Let’s get started.
How to Make Homemade Retinol Cream
First, you’ll want to pour some carrot seed oil and rosehip oil into a glass measuring cup (see the full recipe at the end of this article). Carrot seed oil is a great natural retinol that contains high levels of vitamin A. It comes from the seeds of Daucus carota, also known as Queen Anne’s Lace. Carrot seed oil is one of the key ingredients in this recipe because it is so high in naturally occurring vitamin A. (5) Rosehip oil is great because it is high in vitamin C and provides anti-aging benefits such as protection from age spots.
Next, place a shallow pan on the stove with about 2 inches of water in it and heat the water on low. Place the measuring cup in the pan, acting as a double-boiler. Now, add the almond oil and the apricot oil. Almond oil is great because it acts as a moisturizer and does not clog pores. Apricot oil is also a great moisturizer while offering vitamin A. Add these ingredients and stir, keeping the heat on low.
Add the shea butter and green tea extract. Shea butter will add creaminess to the mixture while providing amazing skin healing benefits. Green tea is known as the anti-aging tea. Green tea extract benefits the skin much in the same way due to its numerous polyphenols it contains. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits include helping reduce acne while fighting the signs of aging.
It’s no secret that shea butter is great for the skin. Shea butter is rich in both vitamin A and vitamin E, making it the perfect choice for this anti-aging recipe! Once added, stir until you reach a creamy texture.
Lastly, add the anti-aging essential oils, lavender and frankincense. Lavender essential oil does more than relax you; it gives the skin a boost because of its antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics. Additionally, lavender and frankincense both help reduce age spots. Frankincense also helps eliminate acne, wrinkles and scars.
Lemon essential oil contains a ton of vitamin C and while you don’t want to over do it because the skin can be very sensitive to the potency of pure vitamin C, one drop added to this mixture can offer some amazing skin-glowing benefits by reducing photoaging. (6)
Make sure to blend all ingredients well. Remove from heat and allow it to cool. Once cooled, place in a glass container. Using a dark glass container will help it to last longer or you can store it in the fridge.
How to Use Retinol Cream
Apply a small amount to the skin at night before bed. Make sure to apply it to clean skin. Use my Homemade Honey Face Wash, then pat dry.
When using retinoid or retinol-based products, it is best to start with applying them every third day. Given that retinoids can cause some initial irritation, it helps to allow the skin to get used to it before going to daily use. Using it at night helps because using it while in the sun can cause sensitivity to the skin. Regardless, you will need to wear an all-natural sunscreen anywhere that you may be applying the retinol cream.
If you are pregnant, check with your doctor before using retinol or high doses of vitamin A.
Make sure to clean your skin and pat dry before applying the retinol products. To minimize skin irritation, it is best to avoid using with other skin care products — especially if they contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol or salicylic acid. Using tretinoin with certain medications may cause your skin to be more sensitive to sun exposure. (7)
Because this blend includes citrus oils with phototoxicity traits, be sure to avoid exposure to sunlight for 12 hours after applying it to your skin.
DIY Rosehip Retinol Cream with Lavender
Total Time: About 10 minutes
Serves: 1; Makes about 2.5 ounces
1 tablespoon organic rosehip seed oil
10 drops organic carrot seed oil
1 tablespoon organic almond oil
1 tablespoon organic apricot oil
1 teaspoon organic shea butter
¼ teaspoon green tea extract
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops frankincense essential oil
1 drop lemon essential oil
small glass measuring cup
glass storage container
Pour the rosehip oil and carrot seed oil into a glass measuring cup.
Place a shallow pan on the stove with about 2 inches of water in it and heat the water on low.
Place the measuring cup in the pan, acting as a double-boiler.
Add the almond oil and the apricot oil to the oils in the measuring cup.
Next, add the shea butter and green tea extract to the mixture.
Add the lavender, frankincense and lemon oils and blend well.
Remove from heat and allow it to cool. Once cooled, place in a glass container.
Apply a small amount to the skin at night before bed. Make sure to apply it to clean, dry skin.