Every now and again in skincare, a new “must have” ingredient or product is shouted about, and it seems that everywhere you look, lotions and potions will be containing it. As an ex-owner of a skincare salon, it was nothing new to me to see the marketing agents of skincare/beauty companies re invent the wheel and tell us we all cant live without xyz. Not to say that some of these ingredients havent been amazing, but certainly not all!
Well Retinols have been around for a long time, especially in the professional/facialist world, but were always a bit scary to people. I know lots of my old clinic clients were concerned if I mentioned introducing retinols, picturing themselves shedding their skin like a snake, (if you were a Sex and the City fan, think Samantha after her salon peel), but this little miracle ingredient really kicks ass in the skincare stakes.
So what is Retinol? Basically, its vitamin A. It speeds up cell turnover, and interrupts the damage from free radicals, helping prevent further lines and wrinkles. An increase in collagen improves the look of the skin, and the skins elasticity. Exactly what we want!
I have used a cosmeceutical skincare range, especially for my moisturisers, since my late 20’s, as I like to get as much bang for my buck as possible. Cosmeceutical simply means that the skincare is medically graded, and its “active ingredients” have been clinically proven to correct the skin. At my age, trust me, correction is good!
I have been incorporating Retinol into my night time skin care routine for about 10 weeks now. (I haven’t up until now as my skin went through quite a reactive/sensitive stage for a couple of years). Many brands offer serums and moisturisers containing retinol in various strengths, so you can look around for what suits your skin requirements and budget. The Retinol I currently use is from a cosmeceutical brand called Environ. (click here if you’d like to know more about them). Its a professional brand that Iv worked with in the past when I had my skin clinic, (but this post IS NOT sponsored by them) and it can not be bought over the counter in say, Boots, as its incredibly active, and could cause reactions if used incorrectly. It can only be bought in clinics and salons, and you have to have an initial skin consultation, (takes about 15 mins) Environ is also a “step-up” range, which means that you start on an entry level moisturiser, and progress up as your skin becomes used to the levels of vitamin A. This particular Retinol can only be used when you reach the higher levels of the Environ moisturiser, as your skin could react, however, as I say, there are many brands offering retinol now.
The way Iv been using this product, is to mix a little in with my usual moisturiser (basically one pump), of a night time. So just once a day.
So, what have I found Retinol has done for me? My skin on the whole is pretty good usually. Yep, its showing signs of my 43 years, but texture and clarity is not too bad. My main concerns with my skin, like most of us, its keeping it looking as fresh and youthful as possible. The lines around my eyes could be a little less visible, my frown line less like a crater, my skin overall could be a little more hydrated, and ideally, I would like to reverse it 20 years! After about 4/5 weeks, I began to feel like my skin was softer and less dry when I woke. (often my skin can feel a bit tight first thing.) After about 7 weeks I also noticed that the lines around my eyes appeared less crinkly. My foundation went on better, and just seemed smoother somehow. I haven’t noticed a difference to my frown line, but to be fair, that is big enough to park a bike in, so will need a bit more than 10 weeks! I will definitely continue to use it as part of my night time routine as I feel like I am seeing some improvements.
***Look away if scared easily, close up photo of me below*** (its hard to take a photo of skin eh? Any tips on this anyone)