Retinol- Is there a natural alternative?
From peptides to alpha hydroxy acids, to some luxurious oil that’s been imported from the deep amazon with the “highest omega content of all time”, there is always an ingredient trending in this current $115 billion dollar industry. Retinol.
The consistent emergence of new ingredients is not such a bad thing, but what I’m seeing a lack of in the industry is education around ingredients that have existed for decades and that do work effectively when used properly, but are often not prescribed appropriately. In fact, some people “self-prescribe” their own facial treatment products and that, my skincare friends, can be a recipe for disaster.
So, retinol, how you’ve gained somewhat of a “bad” reputation in the world of skin care. Maybe it’s because of your misuse or overuse? Perhaps you are not suitable for certain skin types? Or maybe, just maybe, you aren’t being paired with the right skin care products? in conjunction with your use. These are all possible and likely culprits.
What is Retinol?
Retinol is simply pure Vitamin A, which is also commonly referred to as a retinoid. There are many natural and synthetic (prescription) forms of retinoids.
retinol has been around for decades and has been clinically tested with an abundance of successful results.
retinol improves fine wrinkles associated with natural aging while also significantly increasing collagen production. more “building blocks” in the area where retinol was applied. These building blocks refer to increased skin resilience and smoothness.
Using it shows improvement in wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, pore reduction and photodamage.
Overall, retinol has shown to:
- increase cellular turnover, improving skin texture and wrinkles
- help restore an even skin tone
- stimulate the production of collagen
- manage skin conditions like acne and psoriasis with its exfoliating effects
- be an excellent cell-communicating ingredient
This powerful antioxidant is all across the board with amazing benefits, but at what cost?
It’s important to know the cons of topical retinoids before you consider using such a potent vitamin in your daily skincare routine.
Retinol vs. Retinoids
Retinol and retinoids are one in the same, but also different. To simplify the difference between the two, retinol can be purchased over the counter, while retinoids are prescription-only.
Retinol is commonly labeled on over the counter products as retinol, but also under retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde, and retinyl acetate, which are all derivatives of Vitamin A. OTC retinols are much weaker and work slower than prescription retinoids because the body first has to convert it into retinoic acid. This acid is the only active form that has a direct, biological effect on the skin (or “where the magic happens”).
Retinoids, on the other hand, are prescription strength under the namesretinoic acid or tretinoin. These are much more potent and work faster than OTC retinols These differences inform us that retinoids have a much higher concentration of vitamin A, thus may be more effective for treating the skin.
Your next question might be: “Then why is retinol still used in OTC products if they are not as effective as prescription retinoids?”
Prescription strength anything is far more active than over the counter products. In skin care, too active of an ingredient may sometimes not be to everyone’s advantage. OTC retinol and its derivatives still deliver amazing benefits to the skin (even though it may take longer to achieve them), without the potential side effects that prescription retinoids may cause. Often times a dermatologist might recommend these OTC forms of vitamin A for people with sensitive skin.
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.Pure Skin Careproducts are wonderful to use in conjunction 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, andbutylated 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.
Alternatives to Retinol
At Pure Skin Care, it’s our philosophy to use the cleanest, most effective ingredients mother nature can provide. We love providing as much information as we can around a particular ingredient, especially one that is known to deliver beautiful results (when used correctly). Fortunately, there are many options in the world of vitamin A!
If you’re a skin purist like us, we prefer to choose natural forms of vitamin A in our skin care.
Rosehip seed oil
is an excellent source of trans-retinoic acid without the potential irritation that prescription retinoic acid might cause.
In 1983, a study on the benefits of rosehip seed oil at the School of Chemistry and Pharmacology of the University of Concepción in Chile was conducted on 180 patients with various types of scarring (traumatic, burn or surgical). With rosehip seed oil applied every 12 hours on the affected areas, the results were exceptional and all without any adverse reactions to the skin. Rosehip seed oil lessened the appearance of the scars, fine lines and existing hyperpigmentation tremendously.