However, initially, the ingredients such as retinol, and retinyl palmitate, could not be used as an ingredient for the early cosmetic industry. The reason was that the industry didn’t know how to control them as cosmetic ingredients. Instead, retinoic acid, a vitamin A derivative, was widely used as a medicine for anti-wrinkle and acne treatment under a doctor’s prescription.
Retinoic acid is a powerful component but it also could cause irritation or sting if used for the first time. Therefore, during the early days, the industry agreed not to use this ingredient because it could eventually make everyone’s skin more sensitive and prone to irritation. Then a breakthrough happened. A Korean cosmetic brand IOPE developed the technology of stabilizing retinol for the first time in the world and added the ingredient to cosmetics in 1997. Ever since then, the fact that “Retinol is effective in wrinkle improvement without serious side effects” became quite official.
So, if you are interested in wrinkle reduction, it is good for you to explore the retinol world a little bit deeper. Firstly, the chemical structure of retinol is unstable. So it can be easily transformed to another substance by the enzymatic reaction. There are two common enzyme reactions. The first process transforms it into Retinyl palmitate through the enzyme reaction called esterification. The second process transforms it into retinal and then goes to retinoid acid, which is the final destination. Nowadays, Retinol, Retinyl Palmitate, and Retinal are commonly used for wrinkle improvement cosmetics.
Retinoic acid is the most effective but it is too strong. So normally doctor’s prescription is required for applying this directly to the skin. In the end, three cosmetic retinol ingredients turn into mild retinoic acid and work for wrinkle improvement once absorbed into the skin cell.
The transformation steps consecutively go from retinyl palmitate to retinol, retinol to retinal, and finally retinal to retinoic acid. Therefore products containing retinyl palmitate are the least irritating and the least effective as well. Then comes retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid. If a cosmetic product includes retinyl palmitate for wrinkle improvement, it has to take several steps for retinly palmitate to transform into retinoic acids. So again, the end result is less irritating and less effective. To solve this deficiency, cosmetic companies have been making efforts to put more retinol into a product through a stabilization process. Recently retinal which is just one step away from retinoic acid and thus more effective than retinol is being used through stabilization.
You may be familiar with the Stieva A cream containing retinoic acid itself. Because Retinoic acid is too strong and may cause side effects without proper control, it is not a cosmetic product but medicine for wrinkle improvement that you can get only with a doctor’s prescription. It is very effective but at the same time, it is highly likely irritating. So if you use this cream for the first time, you may experience several side effects such as sting, skin peeling or too much dead skin cells. If you can deal with early side effects and steadily use it for a while, your wrinkle will be obviously reduced. All of the ingredients under retinoic family discussed so far are the 1st generation retinoid.
To be continued.......