Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Retinol! What Is It and Why You Need It!


For the last past few years, Retinol has been on the lips of just about every man and women who has great beautiful skin.  I have always known that retinol is necessary starting in your 30's but I just never really knew what it was....till now!  So, I went on a wild research chase looking up retinol. I ended up speaking to a male doctor friend of mine who is a complete product freak and he said "if you are not using retinol at our age, then you are not using anything at all!".  He send me great medical literature to back up the claims on retinol and here is what I found out.

1. All retinol should only be used at night. When retinol is exposed to sunlight, the sunlight breaks it down causing it to be ineffective. Even if you use SPF on top of it; according to the literature you are wasting your money. " Like tretinoin, retinol encourages skin cell turnover; this new skin is delicate and should not be exposed to the sun. That is why these ingredients should only be found in products intended for night use. Vitamin A derivatives, including retinol, rapidly break down when exposed to the sun and air. That’s why retinol containing products should always come in pumps or tubes with tight-fitting caps. Once opened, these products do not keep well and should be used within a couple of months." WebMd

2. Any product that says retinol and SPF mixed in from it.  It doesn't have enough retinol to help you and has been watered down by the SPF. Retinol should be bought in its purest form.

3. All retinol should have be at least 0.5 in the ingredients to make a difference. Anything lower then that is a joke. If the ingredients doesn't state a percentage then don't buy it, it might not have enough of anything to make a real difference. However for some anything higher then 0.5 can cause irritation so build up to it.  Start off by using it 2-3 times a week and in small amounts. 1-2 pumps should be more then enough to cover your whole face and neck. 

4. Using vitamin C serum with retinol helps to advance the retinol as both work hand in hand. "Research has demonstrated that a combination of vitamins in cosmetics is the way to achieve the best results, including the combination of vitamins A, C, and E. In a double-whammy myth-buster, retinol proved to be not only effective when paired with vitamin C, but the two also worked beautifully to defend skin against free radicals when applied under a sunscreen! That simply wouldn't be the case if retinol made vitamin C ineffective or vice-versa." Paula's Choice.  Retinol is considered a derived of Vitamin A.

5. Even if you use retinol at night, you still MUST WEAR sunscreen in the morning!! By skipping this step you run the high risk of getting a sunburn without trying because your skin is highly sensitive and exposed when Retinol is being applied to it.  So unless you want to sport that sunburn effect look, I would recommend you shop around for a UVA/UVB Broad-Spectrum SPF 30 and up. Don't go any lower then 30 SPF and make sure it says UVA/UVB Broad-Spectrum.  This is highly important.  Click here to read my blog about SPF sunblock and why its important to wear it.

6. If you decide to buy vitamin c serum, it must come in a black/dark bottle, it must be clear liquid and it should come with a droplet. If you buy it in a cream; for every time you open it, you expose it to much air and light and thus rendering it ineffective. "Topical vitamin C is sold in a wide range of products from serum to lotions. Look for products that contain between 3% and 10% of vitamin C and include the active ingredient ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid. Pay extra attention to the packaging – all antioxidants, including vitamin C, are vulnerable to deterioration in the presence of air and light. Unless the product is in an airtight and opaque package, don’t buy it!" Dr. Oz.  I recently did a blog post on Vitamin C. Click here to read about it!

7. Make sure you know how much percentage of vitamin C is actually in the product before you buy it. Anything less then 3% is ineffective and anything between 15%-20% might be to high for some people.  So double check the numbers to make sure you know what you are putting on your face.

8. Pregnant women should not use retinol but can use vitamin C with no problems. However if you decide to go ahead with these products please consult your doctor as Retinol may cause harm to the baby.

After much research I found three companies that I feel have all the ingredients that a retinol product should have.  However with that being said, by all means feel free to disagree and/or do your research on other products.  These are just suggestions. Nonetheless, while these are just suggestions, as a consumer you should always do your homework to make sure these products are right for you and always speak to your doctor before using any and all products.  

Cosmetic Skin Solutions Retinol 1.0 Creme Advanced Formula- $29.95

They have a retinol product of 1.0 percentage which contains vitamin A and E mixed together. However this does come in the highest form, so I would recommend you work up to this potency by using a another retinol product first with less potency or use this product every 2-3 days in order to grow tolerance. 

Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5 and Retinol 1.0- $60.00 US (each)

Skinceuticals is a comparable company.  This company has two Retinols in 0.5% and 1.0%.  You can start with the 0.5% and work up to the 1.0% in order to help your skin adjust to these numbers.

Interesting note here...a comparison was done by consumers between both Skinceuticals and Cosmetic Skin Solution, and it was found that both seem to have the same exact ingredients. However cosmetics skin solution cost $29.95  bucks and skinceuticals cost $60.  After a test trial by real people, no one saw any difference between the products and agreed they both worked the same.

Paula's Choice RESIST Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum- $29.60

Paula's Choice RESIST Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum blends retinol, potent antioxidants, and other skin-repairing ingredients. When I emailed them to ask about the percentage they use in their retinol, their company emailed me back saying that information is not released to the public.  However their formula is anywhere between 0.5 to 1.0.  As to why they wouldn't say how much is actually in the bottle beats me as everyone else seems to state it.  However I do trust Paula Begoun so on this one I will let it go....for now.

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol- $22.44

This is another great product by Paula's Choice.  It has Retinol plus antioxidant added in.  As to the amount of Retinol that is in the bottle, the website does not state. However many of those who have used it have talked about the wonders that it has done to their face.

So there you have it folks. Do your homework and go out and find the retinol and percentage that is right for your skin.  Please note, it important to always speak to your doctor first to make sure these type of facial treatments are right for you.

Happy Hunting!

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. It sounds like a really good product :)

  3. I never knew everything there is about retinol. I just started caring for my face with moisturizers and sun block. Thanks for the info.


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