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What is Retinol? The Superhero Anti-Aging Ingredient

by Dr. Amy Yuan


If you’re not already on the bandwagon, chances are you’ve at least heard a thing or two about the much deliberated ingredient, retinol. On one hand, it has a reputation as a miracle worker, but on the other hand it’s said to wreak havoc on sensitive skin. So, which one is it? Is it safe? Does it really work? We’re here to answer all of your questions and show you how retinol just may be the transformative ingredient your routine’s been missing.

What Is Retinol?

Retinol is a compound that belongs to the retinoid family of vitamin A derivatives, commonly found in skincare products. You can easily get your hands on over-the-counter retinoids, such as retinyl palmitate, retinol, and retinaldehyde—or snag a stronger version by prescription, like tretinoin (Retin-A) or tazarotene (Tazorac). All retinoids work by supercharging cell turnover, which can result in a variety of skin improvements, from diminishing hyperpigmentation and acne to boosting collagen and softening fine lines and wrinkles. They are by far the most clinically studied and praised topical anti-aging ingredients out there.

If you’ve heard that retinoids don’t make for the best night cream for sensitive skin, think again; it’s all how you approach it. Retinol is one of the weaker retinoids available, which makes it a great first step for sensitive skin types or those who are just beginning their retinoid journey, as many retinoid products cause irritation when you first start using them. But according to studies, retinol works just as well as the stronger options, and although it may take a bit more time to show results, it does so without causing nearly as much peeling, dryness, redness, or breakouts during the acclimation period.

Benefits of Using Retinol

There are so many skincare ingredients out there that promise the world, but few of them come close to holding up their end of the deal like retinoids do. They are scientifically proven to increase collagen levels, iron out lines, smooth out texture, improve elasticity, brighten dark spots, even out tone, and even treat acne. Retinol, in particular, is both equally as effective and yet gentler than its prescription counterparts, so it’s a perfect starter retinoid.

Tips for Using a Retinol Night Cream

So, you’re ready to dabble in some retinol. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

Start Slow and Low

Retinol is a powerful antioxidant, so your skin may not be able to tolerate a high dose on the daily when you’re just starting out. The best solution is to begin with a lower concentration around 0.05 percent and build up from there. You may also find it best at first to only use it two or three times a week (you’ll still see rave results!), and then gradually climb to daily usage as your skin grows accustomed.

It Doesn’t Always Play Well With Others

Because retinol is apt to cause some sensitivity, you’ll want to be careful using other strong products alongside it. For example, harsh cleansers and alcohol-based toners can strip the natural oils that protect your skin from reacting too strongly to a potent newcomer like retinol. Face acids like glycolic or lactic acid can also amp up any irritation or dryness caused by retinol. And lastly, vitamin C serums don’t work well with retinol, mainly due to the fact that they can alter pH level, rendering both ingredients less effective. It doesn’t mean you can’t use all of these things; it just means you’ll want to strategically schedule some for one day and some for another (or some for AM and some for PM).

The Sun Is Not Your Friend

As if it wasn’t the case already, retinol exacerbates this truth, which is why you’ll more often find retinol in a night cream rather than a day cream. Not only does retinol make skin more sensitive in the presence of sunshine, but it’s also less effective when exposed to UV rays. So, always store your products in a cool, dark place, and make sure to wear sunscreen and sunglasses when you’re outside.

Moisturize, and Moisturize Some More

To mitigate the irritation associated with retinol usage, stay on top of that moisturizer. By speeding up cell turnover, retinol notoriously causes dry, flaky skin. You may find that your skin tolerates a cream retinol formula better than a gel formula—but either way, mixing it with a moisturizer (or sandwiching it between two layers of moisturizer) is an excellent way to ease into it without sacrificing efficacy.

Most Importantly, Listen to Your Skin

Rules are just rules. At the end of the day, knowing your skin is what matters, and the best retinol night cream is the right one for you. So, it’s a good idea to discuss options with a dermatologist if you’re not sure what’s ideal for your complexion. And remember, listening to your skin also means checking back in every now and then, too. What worked for you in the summer may not work for you in the winter. Or if you’ve moved to a new climate altogether, that can affect your skin’s relationship to the products you’re using, too, retinol included. Just know that many over-the-counter formulas take twelve weeks or so to show results, so plan to wait at least that long before committing to (or ditching!) a new product.

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Nature: A New Health Management Tool

Being surrounded by nature can be very peaceful. Many people assume it’s due to the quiet environment and beautiful scenery. Research has proven that nature can improve health in many ways. As we constantly search for the next big tool in health management, what if it was under our nose the whole time? With urbanization rapidly increasing, researchers rush to build their case in favor of keeping green space accessible. A physical connection to green space and nature is an important part of health and its importance should not be underestimated. If you are interested in learning more about nature’s role in health management, I invite you to read the full article.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: e360.yale.edu

Health is very important, but hard to master for some. The journey to a healthy lifestyle can be overwhelming due to the different sources of information, different regimens or approaches, and products available. Diet, medical care, and exercise are the first things that come to mind when discussing health management. Although those are key factors, there are more ways people can stay healthy. The good news is there is a new way to stay healthy that is free and simple. This method involves spending time surrounded by green space and nature.


If you like to go for walks and spend time in the great outdoors, you may have experienced some boosts in your health. Nature can be pretty to look at, but there are more noteworthy advantages related to health management. According to Jim Robbins of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, having a connection to nature is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Research has shown that exposure to green space can help control hypertension and be good for the immune system . Nature can also produce positive mental effects. Robbins states, “Attention Deficit Disorder and aggression lessen in natural environments, which also help speed the rate of healing. In a recent study, psychiatric unit researchers found that being in nature reduced feelings of isolation, promoted calm, and lifted mood among patients.”


If we can connect these positive effects to nature, why has the immersion of nature not been promoted for health management? Since researcher experienced great difficulty proving the exact reason nature is beneficial to health, the findings have not been widely accepted. Many believe the actual factor that produces the positive effects on health goes deeper than visual exposure; Japanese researchers believed that the inhalation of select aerosols are responsible for the relaxing effects. There has been a sizeable amount of research conducted on the topic that show health benefits across different demographics such as race/ ethnicity, income, and general health status. The latest breakthrough on the topic is knowledge that a person must spend at least two hours a week exposed to green space or nature in order to reap the associated health benefits.


To promote the use of nature as a health management tool, government officials, employers, experts, and researchers work together to make green spaces easily accessible. Everyone has access to outside, so how could accessibility be a problem? With urban living becoming more favorable, we can expect to see the amount of green space decrease over time. This is also a socioeconomical issue since lower income urban environments typically have few quality playgrounds if any. To address this need, city and government officials are working to create and enhance parks and playgrounds. In addition, some states have adopted a Scandinavian health management approach where students have a bulk of their lessons in an open, natural setting to increase exposure. Lastly, employers are making green spaces more accessible for employees since they spend a large amount of time at the workplace.


There is still more research to be done to better understand why the exposure to nature produces such benefits. The conversation surrounding implementation needs to be further discussed as well. It has been proven that a connection to the natural world is an essential part of health management, so plan to spend more time outdoors.


To learn more about the great effects of nature and why it is important for health, read the full article at the Yale 360 website.


One Million Solutions in Health takes pride in staying up to date on the latest health news and working with people to find innovative solutions to health-related issues. For more information, please contact us at info(at)onemillionsolutionsinhealth.org.

How the Pressures of Professionalism Birthed the Depersonalized Doctor

Doctors have the difficult, yet necessary, job of saving lives. Doctors are often admired and respected. It’s understood that a doctor is responsible for the wellness of others, but who focuses on the wellness of a doctor? There are a lot of pressures surrounding being a doctor. It can affect the doctor, his or her peers, and the doctor’s patients. The general need to uphold professionalism has isolated doctors and even damaged the doctor-patient bond. To hear more information regarding this dilemma and potential solution, we invite you to read this article.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu

A visit to the doctor’s office can be nerve-racking for the doctor and the patient. We know why patients are nervous about a doctor’s visit, but what could cause a doctor to have such an experience? The answer is the pressure to be a perfect, emotionless, depersonalized doctor. How well a doctor can follow those guidelines contribute to the image of a successful doctor. This very phenomenon that causes doctors to feel stressed and nervous is also a reason some patients feel negatively about a doctor’s visit. Is there a method that would benefit both the doctor and patient?


Roel van der Heijde and Dirk Deichmann of the University of Pennsylvania’s Knowledge@Wharton journal explore how a depersonalized doctor damages the doctor-patient relationship by focusing on professionalism. Doctors are taught to keep a neutral demeanor when dealing with their patients. This practice is supposed to keep patients calm and prevent doctors from being overwhelmed. This approach proved to do more harm than good. According to van der Heijde and Deichmann, “A number of studies have found that being a strong, silent doctor isn’t good for you. It contributes to depression, burnout, and the added strain of working with colleagues who are suffering in the same way.” There is no research that shows this approach is beneficial to patients either. The depersonalized doctor and their obsession with perfection should be phased out.


Doctors should adopt a new approach where showing more emotion to their peers and patients is normalized. Doctors can implement this by being open, understanding, and empathetic. This approach is beneficial for many reasons. If medical professionals worked in this manner, they would be less stressed and more productive. This new approach would change the stigma behind asking for help or collaborating with peers in a medical setting which could lead to better quality of care. Lastly, this approach will give the patient more control of their health. Instead of telling patients how to treat an issue, doctors should discuss the pros and cons of a treatment and allow the patient to be involved in the decision. The depersonalized doctor is one that does not know much about their patient personally. This is a major issue because a doctor needs to know what the patient needs are to better serve them. For an example, if a patient is looking for holistic approach to the non-life threatening condition they have and the doctor does not acknowledge their preferred approach, then the patient is going to feel negatively about going to see a doctor and may not follow the doctor’s recommendations. 


As so many things change in medicine, our approaches should as well. Showing compassion will not only cause people to lose respect for doctors, it might even make the doctor-patient bond stronger. For more information about the depersonalized doctor, please read the full article on the Knowledge@Wharton website.


One Million Solutions in Health’s priority is sharing health news and finding solutions to issues surrounding health care. To learn more please contact info(at)onemillionsolutionsinhealth.org.

How Diversity in Health Care and Community Engagement Create a Positive Patient Experience

A doctor must know a patient to adequately treat them. Typically, when a subject is being studied in other sectors of science, researchers analyze the corresponding environment as well. This approach can be beneficial in health care. For that reason, medical professionals are encouraged to pay attention to social determinants. To improve the quality of health care, it is essential to understand all the problems patients face and what factors may be the cause. Bias is a major issue within the medical industry, but diversity is a great solution to this problem. If you are interested in the importance of diversity in a medical setting and innovative methods to bridge the doctor-patient gap, we invite you to read this article.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.news-medical.net

Although doctors use various diagnostic tests to determine a patient’s health, the start of the diagnosis process is the patient’s description of their symptoms. Since the patient narrative provides most of the information medical professionals use for a diagnosis, it is important to understand patients.


Diversity in health care improves the efficacy of communication. Culturally, some phrases are used differently than the dictionary definition, and patients can speak different languages. This can make communication in a health care setting a bit difficult. If there is a language barrier that causes misinterpretation, the patient can receive improper treatment or a misdiagnosis.


The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai believes in the importance of diversity; they developed technology to implement and promote diversity in health care. The Diversity and Inclusion Hub (DIH) aims to promote employment of women as well as people of color, identify health care related issues, and decrease bias. With this technology, The Icahn School of Medicine hopes to strengthen the relationships between medical professionals and their patients. In return, this will provide a better patient experience and potentially improve treatment.


Katie Anderton of News Medical states that “This endeavor – known as the DIH – will serve as an incubator for cutting-edge ideas, utilize the latest technology and data, and represents a first-of-its-kind effort among medical institutions to diversify the pipeline as a career path while using innovation and technology to address social determinants of health in our surrounding communities.” This technology will help pinpoint problems that would otherwise go unnoticed, and it will extensively brainstorm solutions. The Mount Sinai team also went a step further, working with local community leaders to better understand gaps in health care and building bonds with the community they serve. They acknowledge problems surrounding lack of diversity in health care, the issue of equity, and how that issue relates to underserved patients’ treatment.


Not only is the actual technology used in the DIH innovative, but to acknowledge the role social factors have in health care is a noteworthy advancement. To learn more about the DIH and the Icahn School of Medicine’s work, please visit the News Medical website for the full article.


One Million Solutions in Health takes pride in connecting with different communities to discuss major issues in health care. It understands the power that basic communication can have on innovation and the importance of diversity in health care. To learn more, please contact info(at)onemillionsolutionsinhealth.org.

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An App a Day Keeps the Patients Away: The Dangers of Medical Management Software

Where wellness is concerned, the doctor-patient relationship can be just as valuable as the treatment. The bond, built on trust, is essential for proper treatment. Recently, there has been an increased number of medical apps created to simplify a doctor’s duties. Can our obsession with saving time harm us more than help? If you are interested in how medical apps effect the doctor-patient relationship, we encourage you to read this article.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.theregister.co.uk

The relationship between a doctor and a patient is very important. Trust is a major part of the relationship; we trust doctors to make decisions about our health that we otherwise couldn’t. Even with a higher level of education and excessive professional experience, medical professionals make errors. Doctors, often having a high workload, could benefit from tools that simplify their typical processes to decrease the probability of error.


Recently, medical management software has been produced to make the process of identifying treatment simpler. Although it’s convenient, how comfortable would you be if an app had the final say in your treatment? With new medications and medical devices pushed in and out of the market, the software is aimed to make doctors aware of medical trends and proper treatments for patients and their specific medical history.


A dangerous issue was revealed about one San Francisco medical management software company. In a recent article, Kaytanna Quach of the register states “Practice Fusion developed a cloud-based medical record management service that generated alerts if patients’ symptoms or circumstances matched certain criteria. These alerts would suggest courses of action that doctors could add to people’s care plans.” It was later discovered that the developers made side deals with certain drug companies to promote the sale of Opioids. The software was set to suggest select medications even if it was not the most effective treatment. The company is being sued and is facing criminal charges.


The use of technology, in this case, can damage the doctor-patient relationship. The knowledge that a doctor follows a specific code of conduct builds the doctor-patient relationship. Medical management software companies may not have the same set of ethics. When a doctor passes the manipulated data from the rigged software, their credibility is at stake and patients may become less trusting. Since these medical software companies aren’t required to have a medical background, they may not understand the seriousness of their actions and the direct strain this can put on the doctor-patient relationship. Without trust, the relationship and the quality of patient care will be weakened. There is also concern that increased use of medical apps can encourage patients to self-diagnose.


With intense regulations and the assistance of medical professionals, medical management software can be very useful for patient care management in the future. Currently, more research needs to be done on the apps to prevent misuse. For more information on this article, please visit the Register website.


One Million Solutions in Health is a company that strives to tackle current health care issues. The company’s goal is to add to the conversation about health innovations and find solutions. To learn more, please contact info(at)onemillionsoultionsinhealth.org.