For all of its wonders, retinol sure can be irritating, especially when opting for prescription strength retinoids. While 'Retinol' has a reputation for being a 'fountain of youth', it's also known to be aggravating, especially for sensitive or sensitized skin. Even with all of the data, research and articles, Vitamin A products are still widely misunderstood. Let’s break it down.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant that helps protect the skin and is essential for improving cellular turnover which slows down as we age. It stimulates collagen production and in effect, exfoliates the outer layer of skin to help improve tone, texture, pigmentation and reduce breakouts. Retinol use is not just for older people, it's beneficial to use even in your twenties!
One of the confusing aspects of Vitamin A products is knowing the difference between prescription retinoids and an over the counter option. Prescription retinoids such as tretinoin are the most powerful Vitamin A options and require a trip to the dermatologist. They are more powerful and faster-acting than OTC retinol products but are not formulated with any buffering or nurturing ingredients. So while they are stronger, the downside is that there will be a period where the skin may burn and be red, dry, tight, flaky and usually broken out. Unfortunately, this period can be so challenging, it often leads to discontinuing its use, even after paying for an office visit and prescription.
With retinol products, our body converts the Vitamin A into retinoic acid, so it does work more slowly than prescription retinoids. We view this as a positive because even though it may take longer, you’ll be more apt to stick with it because the downsides are minimized.
It’s All In The Formulation
This is where the retinol formulation really comes into play. Since we know that prescription strength (and even strong OTC) options can be irritating, formulating with nurturing and soothing ingredients is a key to succeeding with retinol. When we set out to formulate our Triple Active Reclaiming Serum, the main goal was to ensure its effectiveness for all skin types–especially sensitive skin. It had to deliver all of the proven benefits of retinol (collagen and elastin building, wrinkle smoothing, spot fading, acne fighting) without all the irritation that prompts people to quit using it before they can see the benefits. We added a clinical level of Niacinamide (strengthens skin, reduces redness, inflammation and collagen breakdown) and Vitamin C (to maximize and stabilize the benefits of retinol) along with Gorgonian Extract (a natural and renewable marine organism that’s clinically proven in the care of sensitive and sensitized skin to help repair compromised skin, address signs of aging, reduce inflammation and protect skin from irritation) along with a touch of lactic acid for an instant glow and aloe, sodium PCA and other nurturing ingredients for barrier protection.
After over a year in development and trials, we opted for a very specific type of retinol called RetiSTAR®. It is a sophisticated stabilized retinol that is highly effective for the care of aging skin and prevention of photo-aging. Most signs of skin aging – wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, loss in elasticity – are avoidable. They are almost entirely the result of the way we live and the environment we live in. Retinol use improves barrier function and helps retain skin moisture and has a normalizing effect on skin pigmentation. Retinol not only improves the appearance of existing wrinkles, it also helps to prevent wrinkles.
When? Use in the evenings starting with two or three times a week and increasing frequency as your skin adjusts.
How? Apply one or two pumps on dry, cleansed skin. Follow with Moisture Renew Cream to lock in moisture. Be sure to use SPF during the day.
Most dermatologists agree that Vitamin A products should not be used while pregnant or nursing. There are some that believe that the concentrations in OTC products are not a problem, but we recommend consulting with your doctor.
Deluxe Retinol Regimen (+ watch January's How-To's!)