Frequent Contributor
Posts: 148
Registered: ‎03-17-2010

Retinol- One Derms Opinion (Myths explained)

She also has a show on Sirius.  


Opinion of Dr. Doris Day


NB: The one anti-aging myth you wish everyone would stop believing? 

Dr. Day: That retinols thin your skin—they don’t. Conversely, they make the deeper layers of your skin thicker which leads to firmness, resilience and gives it that youthful quality. Where the misconception comes in is that retinol helps to normalize cell turnover, which means that skin cells mature—and slough off—more appropriately. So yes, there’s flaking at first and people think their skin is thinning, but it’s not. It’s just the outermost layer--which was too thick to begin with, causing their dull complexion—that’s coming off at a more appropriate pace. 


NB: So what’s the foundation of youth? 
Dr. Day: Managing your stress. It manifests itself on your skin, whether it’s lines caused by furrowing your brows or pursing your lips or a dull complexion and acne caused by binge eating junk food. Don't stress about growing older—it’s inevitable. There’s a difference between aging gracefully and aging helplessly. Eat a 
healthy diet, exercise, think happy thoughts, enjoy your life, and have sex. There’s skin care and fillers and peels and lasers that’ll take care of the rest of it.


3. You think a retinoid will make your skin sun-sensitive. "This is one of the biggest retinoid myths," says Doris Day, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center (and a Tazorac user herself). "The ingredient itself is sensitive to sunlight, which is why you should apply it before bed at night." A retinoid shouldn't make your skin any more vulnerable to UV rays than it would be after buffing away dead skin with a face scrub. Summer is actually a good time to start a retinoid: Humidity makes your skin less likely to dry out as it adjusts. Of course, apply sunscreen (SPF 30, at least) as diligently as you always do.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,550
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Retinol- One Derms Opinion (Myths explained)

Thank you, @acatgirl.  Your second paragraph states my thoughts exactly.  Great information overall.



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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,024
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Retinol- One Derms Opinion (Myths explained)

@acatgirl, I take it you use retinol (as do I.) A little over 10 years ago I was a good candidate to add this to my skincare.


I suppose if it really thinned the skin, I would have sunken in cheeks and my cheekbones would be protruding through by now! 


The lowest % of retinol is all I ever need. (I had no reason to go up in strength or to advance to Retin A.)


Whoever was talking about it on this Board those years ago, I feel, did me a great favor. I then researched it for myself and, I feel, it continues to help my skin stay smooth, plump & supple.


May not be for everyone, as there are always more ways to skin the cat!

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,730
Registered: ‎04-19-2010

Re: Retinol- One Derms Opinion (Myths explained)

Thank you for the reassurance about thinning the skin. I have been using Retin A since about age 45 and I am now 68. Good grief if that were true my face would be transparent. 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 26,255
Registered: ‎05-22-2016

Re: Retinol- One Derms Opinion (Myths explained)

[ Edited ]

Yes, it's absolutely true that retinoids do not thin the skin because retinoids inhibit the enzyme collagenase, which degrades collagen. When this inhibition happens the skin is allowed to build more collagen. Unfortunately aging skin cells produce more collagenase which in turn degrades the already decreasing amounts of existing collagen in aging skin leading to thinning and wrinkled other words, getting old.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,968
Registered: ‎02-19-2014

Re: Retinol- One Derms Opinion (Myths explained)

Dr. Day is right. People should not say that retinol or retin A thins the skin. That is way too general and alarming a statement. I would never say it.


The skin has several layers to it. Retin A thickens the dermis, which is the deepest layer, and which produces collagen. Everyone wants a thicker dermis. A thicker dermis means fewer and shallower wrinkles.


The outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, lays over the dermis. That layer has layers. The outermost layer of the outermost layer is the stratum corneum. That's the dead cells that form the protective layer to your skin and hold in your moisture. It's what you moisturize and what active ingredients need to penetrate to get down to the lower epidermis and even deeper into the dermis.


Retinol and Retin A cause the stratum corneum to turn over faster and to thin it. So that one layer of skin does get thinned to a small extent. Many like this aspect because they do not want that dead skin on their faces. Those people are usually very into exfoliation and removing as much of the outer layer of the stratum corneum as they can without damage. I personally have a different philosophy, but I respect those who think this way as well.

When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.
"Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
Valued Contributor
Posts: 513
Registered: ‎03-19-2011

Re: Retinol- One Derms Opinion (Myths explained)

Thank you for this. My dermatologist has said those very things. I started taking it to control acne I started getting in my late twenties (never had acne before that). The only things that ever worked to keep me blemish free were Pro activ's SENSITIVE skin formula and retain a. I eventually exclusively used retain a as I got tired of trying to order the pro activ sensitive skin and now that I am bit older, I don't break out anymore. But I keep using retain a for anti aging benefits.