caroline-karasik
caroline-karasik

Caroline Shannon Karasik

Caroline Shannon Karasik is an instructor at Catapult and an MFA candidate in Antioch University's creative writing program. Her work has appeared in InStyle, The Cut, Narratively, Catapult, Vice, Women's Health, among others and she is currently at work on a memoir. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, daughter, and five adopted cats.
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Your complete guide to the treatment that can slough away dull, aged, or clogged skin.
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Take a trip down the beauty aisle at your local pharmacy and you'll find that every cream, serum, and cleanser claims to be the product that will radicalize your at-home skin care regimen. It's a tall order for most, but when it comes to retinol, experts say it's actually quite true. "[Retinols] are among the most effective therapeutic topical products that really work, as opposed to lotions and potions that almost work," says Gerald Imber, M.D., a plastic surgeon and the director of New York-based Youth Corridor Clinic. So what is retinol? Retinol is a vitamin A derivative which helps to promote cell turnover and exfoliation to "help with acne, brown spots, sun damage as well as fine lines, wrinkles, and textured skin," says esthetician and co-founder of Glo Spa, Aishe Balic. While retinol is primarily known for its anti-aging properties, it's also incredibly effective in treating other skin ailments, like uneven skin texture and acne, according to Balic. "As we age, our collagen begins to break down, and [retinol] encourages collagen production," says Balic. "But it can also help people suffering from acne and clogged pores because it reduces oil production. Sun damage can also be brightened with retinol as well because of sped up cell turnover." RELATED: This Ingredient Might Be the Natural Alternative to Retinol It's reason enough to give the ingredient the green light, but Dr. Imber says there's one thing you'll want to watch for when choosing a retinol product: it can be irritating to the skin at first. That's why Balic highly suggests taking it slow and building up your skin's tolerance. Scroll through for the best over-the-counter retinol creams and serums to achieve clearer, brighter, and refreshed skin.
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