The Benefits of Retinol and Vitamin C for the Collagen in our Skin

In class we learned about collagen, an important fibrous protein found in our skin. As we age, our body produces less collagen, causing our skin to become less elastic and form wrinkles. Recently, I have been more conscious about my skin care routine and I have learned to incorporate retinol serum. Retinol is a synthetic derivative of vitamin A that isn’t produced by the body. Retinol serum stimulates the fibroblasts found in the dermis layer through binding and activating two groups of receptors that are ligand-dependent transcription factors: the retinoic acid receptors (RARs) and the retinoid X receptors (RXRs). These fibroblasts increase in number and increase the production of collagen that they secrete which improves the elasticity of the skin. Another serum that promotes the increase of collagen in the skin is vitamin C. We learned in class that vitamin C is required for hydroxylation of Proline, which enables hydrogen bond interactions between chains in the collagen triple “super” helix. Not only is vitamin C important in our diet, applying it topically will promote collagen to be formed and stored in our skin. Retinol and vitamin C serums can help maintain and replenish the collagen in our skin to reduce the signs of aging and UV damage.

Chien, Anna L, and Sewon Kang. “Photoaging.” UpToDate, 24 Feb. 2022,

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