What's the hype on Retinol?

Updated: May 10



There is always a new buzz word floating around in the beauty scene. Ingredient names keeping making their appearances like mini celebrities of the ingredient must have list.

It isn't just hype and marketing tactics. The vigorous testing behind ingredients have to be scientifically backed to ensure a products claims are not misleading and this is regulated.

One thing you do need to be aware of though is to make sure you research into your purchases before you buy them on a 'buzz' ingredient. Having a specific ingredient on a products contents list can mean the company statements of its inclusion can be made. As ingredients all work differently its good to know whether you need to look out for a specific percentage of ingredient, quality or formulation in order for it to truly be effective. This is where the consumer can become mislead.

That is where I aim to make sure I provide you with the facts about buzz words and trends.

Retinol has recently been made known as one of the only ingredients within skin care products that has been scientifically proven to alter the appearance of the skin. Its research was focused on photoaged skin. Uv exposure is the most advanced form of ageing for the skin. Retinol is being advised by medical and skincare professionals because it can structurally change the skin improving the appearance of fine lines, texture and pigmentation. Targeting collagen which is our skins main structural component.

So for you to understand retinol let me share with you some information on this popular ingredient.

Retinol comes from the family known as retinoids. These are derived

from Vitamin A. In the family and also found within products is retinyl palmitate ( the weakest) and retinoic acid ( the strongest). Retinol sits in the middle of these for its activity and irritation to the skin. Retinyl palmitate and retinol both convert into retinoic acid in the skin by reacting with the skins enzymes. These are available forms without requiring a prescription. Retinoic acid is prescriptive only as it is highly active and irritating, it needs to be monitored.

The issue with retinol is it is a fragile chemical that can induce inflammation in the skin. It can easily be un stabilised if it is not formulated effectively. It can weaken with exposure to air, water and uv light. So to maximise effectiveness and stability Overnight retinol repair from Dermalogica was designed and vigorously tested to achieve this.

Studies have been made on the percentages of retinols and their effectiveness. The studies shows that a small percentage of 0.1% retinol over several months do change the structure of the skin. However higher concentrations of 0.3% and 0.5% show significantly more results in a shorter time. With the higher concentrations come a higher chance of the inflammatory response. Therefore the introduction needs to be monitored and slowly increased over a period of time. Rushing straight into a high strength will induce inflammation and an uncomfortable skin feeling. Correct introduction will maximise the usage and results.

When Overnight retinol repair 0.5% was created by the Dermalogica laboratory team they formulated it with a separate buffer cream to be used with it. This allows you to customise the amount of retinol to buffer cream in stages and to your comfortable sustainable level.

Whilst using the retinol it is also important to know what else you can or cannot do alongside it. Using any other exfoliating products or products containing any vitamin A derivatives and exfoliating acids or enzymes is not permitted. Hydration levels is a vital part of maintaining its effectiveness, so no harsh stripping cleansers, toners or mattifying moisturisers. Sun protection factor a minimum of a 30 is required daily. You can see that although this is a non prescriptive form and available to readily purchase it needs to have the professional advice alongside it. Customising the product to your skins requirements sometimes need the guidance of the professional to ensure you achieve your skins maximum potential with the product.

Once this was introduced to the Dermalogica retail product line. A salon advised only version was introduced. This is not a readily available online product as it has been formulated at 1%. Meaning that the professional skin therapist will need to know that the 0.5 % version has been used successfully and the stronger level can be introduced if needed to enhance and push the skins ability further.

So no have explained about retinol and its percentages let me extend on the importance of ingredient stability.

The chemical structure that makes up retinol is an unstable molecule. It can be broken down very easily with uv exposure, air and other molecules. The majority of product company formulations, even at a the higher 0.3% and 0.5%, do not formulate their retinol to sustain its effectiveness once it is on the skin. As mentioned above retinol converts to retinoic acid when on the skin. This process takes time. Therefore if the formula is unstable and its retinol is degrading once on the skin, by the time it converts and penetrates the skin the percentage and its effectiveness is significantly altered.

Protecting unstable ingredients started at Dermalogica a long time ago. One of the first products in the line was the multivitamin range. Dermalogica patented a technology to literally isolate and encapsulate the delicate ingredients so once in contact with the skin the product remained stable until it was delivered to its targeted requirement.

With the retinol products Dermalogica's oil soluble retinol has been encapsulated in a lipid microstructure surrounded by a multiple layer liquid crystalline. This allows the retinol to be placed in a water soluble formula giving them an advantage over competitors.

Our skins have a layer of lipid that prefer oil based products. Water based products can easily evaporate from the skins surface. The encapsulated molecule size is just right to act like a uniform film on the skin allowing the water part to open the epidermal pathways to absorb the oil based retinol deep into the skin where it is required. This will also protects the skin from losing its water and therefore less irritation from dehydration and the full percentage of retinol reaches the layer of skin that requires it.

In the formulation other supportive ingredients have been included. These are a stabilised form of Vitamin C to stimulate collagen synthesis. Palmitoyl tripeptide-5 and TAUT peptide, to revitalised the skin and counter act the UV ageing damage. These stimulate collagen and hylaronic acid, a natural acid that binds water to the skin. Results show increase collagen and hydration and tone.

The lower level of skin known as the dermis is structurally enhanced by using a copper amino acid formulation to maintain the dermis integrity. So not only is the retinol working on the visual appearance you see on the skins surface at the top epidermal layer the base structure of the skin is being strengthened for a sustained effect.

If you would like to look at introducing retinol to your skin care regime. Or you would like to know when or if it can be introduced to you, please get in touch for a thorough consultation. If you cannot visit my salon. I offer an online consultancy service for purchasing your products through myself, or if you simply need any extra information and advice on all skin or beauty topics. I have an ongoing after care service available to all clients to ensure skin health for life. You may even find you save a lot of time and money by seeking the correct advice for you and your needs.

Check out my website for more details and to get in touch.

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