The Beauty Dept / The Truth About Retinols
WORDS BY BEAUTY PIE Staff
The Truth About Retinols.
Why the SUPER RETINOL FORMULAS we source directly from the leading Swiss skincare lab are best in class - for pretty much everybody*.
It’s the one thing almost every dermatologist, cosmetic chemist, and expert facialist can agree on: retinols really work. And then the debates begin. And everybody has an opinion. So we’ve rounded up some facts for you, and answered your FAQs here:
What are retinoids and what do they do?
Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A, the very first famous one being TRETINOIN- or Retin-A. It was introduced as an anti-acne treatment, but dermatologists noticed that it not only made acne-prone skin clearer, patients showed up with complexions that were softer, brighter, smoother, and younger-looking.
So what is retinol? And what’s the difference between a retinol and a retinoid?
Retinol is the name given to an over-the-counter (so non-prescription) retinoid. Retinol is absorbed by your skin and is gradually converted into retinoic acid (the same ingredient that’s in prescription creams).
Why use retinol?
Regular use of skincare formulations containing this magical rejuvenating skincare molecule can unclog your pores, boost collagen production (to help reduce fine lines), reduce collagen breakdown, speed up sluggish cell turnover, even out skin discolouration, normalize your skin’s barrier function and smooth your complexion – sometimes visibly in as little as four weeks.
It’s also shown that retinol can actively prevent long-term damage from the sun's rays (SPF on top please).
More is more? Less is more?
If you’re already using a prescription retinoid, it is overkill to add retinol products into your routine. Don’t do it. Nor should you combine retinols with strong regular alpha hydroxy acid application (which may deactivate OR hyperactivate them), or any prescription keratolytics (unless your doctor says you can) or benzoyl peroxides. If in doubt - it’s always best to check with your dermatologist.
With retinol will your skin look worse before it looks better?
Normal retinols generally cause dryness, redness and flaking. At BEAUTY PIE, we tested several retinol formulas from leading skincare labs and ingredient manufacturers in America, the UK, and Switzerland. Most of them left us red, dehydrated and a little bit raw. (Do not ask Marcia about the photoshoot she had on day three of using the sample from that otherwise reputable lab in New Jersey. Ouch.)
With slow-release retinols (like the encapsulated kind in our SUPER RETINOL range), your skin will have a lower but more constant dose, and you’ll get all of the eventual upside, but without the telltale irritation. More on that below:
You may have seen a television presenter and a dermatologist make a blanket statement that retinol only works if you use it at .3%. Well, the genius chemist at the leading Swiss skincare lab disagrees with that. Because he HAS something better.
The SUPER RETINOL system he formulated (and the product that beat everything else we tried) is all about layering, slow-release, encapsulation, and constant delivery. He suggests a gentle, constant dose of retinol, encapsulated for consistent and more efficient delivery, more often, and combining it with synergistic ingredients like vitamin C, shea butter and barrier repairing ceramides, so you can slowly build up the system’s strength, add layers over days (or weeks) depending on the sensitivity of your skin, use a little less on days when you want to give your face a scrub, or combine with your favourite gentle peeling drops, or go for a facial, or detox your T-zone with a deep cleansing mask. This, according to our chemist, is the best way to use retinol. (It’s like when you’re going on holiday and you pack layers. It keeps your options open.)
Why is encapsulated retinol so much more effective?
Encapsulation protects the retinol from degradation, increases its stability, and improves delivery to the skin. The SUPER RETINOL system also allows for a steady release, to ensure a prolonged action over time, and increasing the biocompatibility and efficacy while helping to avoid irritation. So you can simultaneously look great, and overhaul your skin.
DON’T FORGET: SUPER RETINOL is formulated with retinol that’s encapsulated within a complex, which allows it to be absorbed by the skin BEFORE releasing. So you get maximum efficacy, without the irritation, at a lower level.
SUPER RETINOL CERAMIDE-BOOST ANTI-AGING FACE SERUM – has a 3% encapsulated retinol complex, which works on the skin like 0.09% pure retinol, use it twice daily (AM and PM) under the SUPER RETINOL night cream.
SUPER RETINOL (+ VITAMIN C) NIGHT RENEWAL MOISTURIZER – includes a 1% encapsulated retinol complex, with 0.03% pure retinol. Use it every night, alone, or overtop of the SUPER RETINOL SERUM.
SUPER RETINOL ANTI-WRINKLE EYE CREAM – includes 1% encapsulated retinol complex, 0.03% pure retinol. Use it twice daily.
SUPER RETINOL ANTI-AGING HAND TREATMENT – includes 1% encapsulated retinol, 0.03% pure retinol, use as needed, but not more than two or three times a day.
What’s the best way to use it?
The SUPER RETINOLS are designed to be layered. So EYE CREAM and SERUM in the morning and evening (moisturizer and SPF on top please), and NIGHT CREAM over SERUM in the EVENING. Might we also suggest, that you use the SERUM on your NECK and chest, if needed? Because nothing works better at renewing, while keeping up appearances!
Will retinol make my skin sensitive?
Normal retinols will. But SUPER RETINOL shouldn’t. As above, the beautiful thing is that you can LAYER your retinol, and build up slowly, and if you notice sensitivity, layer less, or apply it less often, then after a couple of weeks, start building up the frequency again. Ideally, you use the whole system, in the layers, as designed, to get the best effect.
What about SUPER SUPER RETINOL? You know, something even stronger?
We’ll ask the chemist, but it’s really not necessary. Try the SUPER RETINOL system for 3-6 months. We invite you to see how fabulous, moisturized, balanced, glowing and dewy your skin looks on this.
*Retinols are a NO-GO ZONE IF...
You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
You want to regularly wax an area of skin (discontinue use for at least a week before waxing).
You’re already using a prescription keratolytic from your dermatologist. (In which case, get her advice first, before you start.)
Have we missed anything? Email any specific questions here and we’ll answer them in our bi-weekly RETINOL FAQ roundup!Shop SUPER RETINOL
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