Here, I lend my thoughts on RETINOL, a topic that tends to come up often when clients are inquiring about the best "anti-aging" skin room facial tactics to at home treatment care. Most clients are first exposed to Retinol (and its many forms) in a medical spa or dermatologist office.
Some believe that it is an amazing age renewal staple, and some tread much more lightly. However, it’s an ingredient to be well-informed about prior to using. It’s often recommended as a “cure-all” power-ingredient, but should it be? Let's dig in.
Retinol 101 - What it is?
Retinol, of the retinoid family, is a derivative of Vitamin A. There are many forms, names (retinyl palmitate, retinol, retinal, tretinoin) and percentages available of retinoids and it comes in both natural forms (for example, in rose-hip) and most popularly - synthetically derived forms.
True to it's longevity.... it’s been around since the late 1940s and was a "breakout" in the 1980s when it hit the market as an anti-aging ingredient. Later it became a hot item prescribed as Accutane or every teens’ favorite, Retin-A have been highly used by dermatologists for years.
What It Does
Essentially Retinol plumps and sloughs off skin cells in which effectively “pushes wrinkles up from within the skin." It works by stimulating and increasing the production of healthy skin cells.” This cell turn over can lead to more even skin tone and a brighter complexion.
Who It's Best For
If you’ve spent a substantial amount of time in the sun, retinol can help you reverse first signs of aging that have resulted from that prolonged sun exposure. The formulations that are widely available today without a prescription are lower in retinol concentration that can be enjoyed by virtually anyone who wants to refine skin texture, battle breakouts and fine lines.
Retinol "action" can boost your collagen production, leading to a reduction in fewer wrinkles, and firmer skin.” It can even help unclog pores, which is why so many dermatologists recommend retinoids for teens fighting acne.
Retinol VS. Retin-A - What's the difference?
In short, retinol is the stuff you can by at your local sephora and retin-A requires a prescription from your derm (as does Accutane).
So why isn't everyone using it?
This is where my experienced, well researched and thoughtful opinion comes in. There's a few points to debate on the topic of retinoid use.
1. Retinols are put in so many products. Sunlight makes products less effective, but most importantly — and we want to make this clear because it’s so, so important — retinol can make you very photosensitive. If you don’t wear sunscreen, you can get burned.
2. Many (including myself) Skin Therapists also believe that retinol is overused. “Retinol is useful for people who have genetically challenging acne. However, in my opinion, if you have not had consistent breakout since the onset of puberty, or tend to have pimples here and there, retinols are usually not the answer to your breakout problems.
3. Worst yet, Retionols used over time or in intense treatments, can thin out your skin or change how the oil glands within your skin work.
Caution When Using: Heavy-duty retinoid medications, like Accutane, are so strong that they can cause birth defects and liver issues. Retinoids can can over due your skin, especially if you’re young enough - that you just don't need that heavy of a hitter.
My bottom line....
There are multiple products and specific ingredients that can catalyze a response just like retinoids produce. Retinoids are pretty harsh on the skin and as a formulator, I've included this same byproduct and action through botanical extracts. I personally do not want to subject myself to treatments I walk away from completely red and peeling. At Beauty Ecology, accurate exfoliating practices at home and services such as professional-strength none invasive peels and our newest tech skin needling collagen rejuvenation pen - are incredible alternatives that work.
When to consider stronger exfoliating and cell renewal treatments.
I suggest strong cellular turnover type products for those well into their aging process and in need of a boost. Typically, this would be someone over the age of 35, because its known our skin cell turnover rate starts slowing around 30 years old.
Natural alternative ingredients to look for that can help with cell turnover:
-Vitamin C (we use Vitamin C Esters) which possesses a superior ability to stimulate growth of the cells (fibroblasts) that help produce collagen, elastin and fosters tissue growth and repair. Fat-soluble Vitamin C Ester-unlike ascorbic acid, drives deeper and does not go rancid when exposed to air giving it's full potential as an anti-aging agent.
From the Deep Sea: Marine actives provide concentrates of vital elements in our age-defying skin care products, and are the safest and most effective alternatives available.
-Our active seaweed ingredients (Laminaria + HCL algae complex) testing demonstrated a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles by 35% over a 90-day period. This demonstrates our ability to deliver results comparable to Retin-A and Alpha Hydroxyl Acids without the skin irritation usually associated with those ingredients. WOW, right?!
-Red Algae is beloved due to its high water and vitamin content, red algae is a perfect ingredient to help with the exfoliating process. I use red algae in our skincare products to clarify and balance the skin, bring cellular renewal and for its firming effects.
-Alpha hydroxy acids (our sea flora glycolic peel)
-Marine Criste Extract or “Sea Retinol” is a patented Sea Retinol visibly smoothes wrinkles and creates a radiant complexion.
-Flower Acids are an incredible breakthrough! Flower acids are obtained from the hibiscus flower in South Africa to provide skin exfoliation without the burn. This anti-inflammatory approach is made possible by the fact that it contains pyruvic acid (an AHA) that converts to lactic acid only when it has penetrated into the skin. This allows for a gradual peel “without the burn.”
-Rosehip seed oil is also an excellent source of trans-retinoic acid that may not have the risk of potential irritation that prescription retinoid acid might cause. Rosehip is plentiful in our CBD Skin Healing Booster.
How to properly choose and use retinol.
Before purchasing OTC retinol or getting a prescription through your dermatologist, here are some basic guidelines:
- All forms of Vitamin A break down and become unstable in the presence of exposed light and air, so it’s crucial to purchase retinol that is packaged in opaque containers or tubes, which is why they often come in metal tubes in prescription form.
- Do not apply retinol daily, but rather every other day. Gradual usage is key here so that your skin can acclimate to this active ingredient. If your skin is resilient and shows no signs of sensitivity, thereafter you may apply it once a day. Stop using retinol if irritation occurs with persistent use.
- The best time to apply retinol is at night because exposure to the sun can decrease its effectiveness.
- Use nourishing ingredients to help protect your skin while using this potent vitamin. Our Evoq products are wonderful to use in conjunction (and sometimes in place of) with retinol.
- Always wear sunscreen on a daily basis when using retinol.
The drawbacks of topical prescription retinoids.
- Skin irritation and side effects including: dryness, flakiness, thinning of the skin (if overused), sun sensitivity and redness.
- Filler ingredients such as: stearic acid, isopropyl myristate, polyoxyl 40 stearate, stearyl alcohol, and butylated hydroxytoluene are commonly used in retinoid creams and gels. Though not all ingredients prove toxic, do these align with your skin care philosophy?
- Cannot be used during pregnancy.
- Not suitable for sensitive skin, rosacea or eczema.
If GOING THE NATURAL ROUTE
As noted, EVOQ BEAUTY brings the most effective and biomimetic ingredients the forces of nature can provide. While I do understand that the medical approach to skin care, it's good to know there are more options for everyday care in the world of vitamin A! Let's not be so hard on ourselves, and our skin!
XO Kassandra ** Book online or ping me if you have questions about our incredible skin resurfacing (GLOW) treatments!