Your skin naturally exfoliates by shedding the upper layers of skin cells, which in turn stimulates the production of new, healthy skin cells. At the same time, the process of exfoliation also stimulates new collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin. This results in a slight thickening and tightening of the skin on the face, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and some of the other effects of skin aging.
Retinol is a chemical exfoliating agent added to many face creams and other products available at Randall B. Weil MD, FACS. These retinol creams can be applied to the skin on your face, chest, neck, shoulders, and hands to stimulate the natural process of exfoliation. This is a common first step in the battle against the effects of skin aging.
There is a notable difference between retail level retinol, which is available to the average consumer, and the compound known as Retin-A, which is only available from a prescription from Dr. Randall B. Weil.
Retin-A fortified creams are often used as the second step in the battle against the effects of skin aging. It also can help with the reduction of dark spots and other types of skin discoloration. Since it could cause dryness and minor skin irritation its use needs to be prescribed and monitored and by a trained physician.