female face with wrinkles on her forehead

When asked what my desert island product is I find it very difficult to get my list down to one thing.  In fact the furthest I can whittle my collection of potions down is three products, a sunscreen, anti-oxidant serum and a constant supply of retinol.  Having previously suffered from acne I work hard at keeping my complexion as clear as possible.  These products are absolute staples for me and form part of most of my recommended home-care routines for clients.  The thought of being without any of them makes me positively anxious!

Like everything in life it is usually a combination of factors that yield the best skin-care results but if I had to pick one ingredient I couldn’t live without it would have to be retinol. Retinol is considered an anti-age heavy weight.  Let me explain why…

Retinol is a topical version of vitamin A which carries numerous studies relating to its efficacy in treating ageing or acne prone skins. It works on a number of functions in the skin starting with cell turnover.  As we age our cell turnover cycle (skin’s natural exfoliation) starts to slow down leading to the excessive build up of dead skin.  These extra layers of dead skin block active ingredients from reaching deeper layers where we achieve results.  Retinol stimulates cell turnover and keeps skin cells at a healthy level aiding delivery of active ingredients, smoothing rough skin, refining pores and helping to lighten pigmentation.

I introduce retinol into my clients’ routines from as early as 25 to keep cell turnover active but also to fight against ageing.  From about 25 onward our fibroblast cells (cells that produce collagen and elastin) take a bit of an early retirement and production of these vital skin components starts to decrease.  Retinol is one of the only ingredients that has been proven to push these cells back into action.  Once stimulated the end result is more collagen, elastin, natural moisture and plump rejuvenated skin.  Retinol not only boosts collagen but it has been shown to reduce the enzyme collagenase that breaks down collagen more rapidly as we age.    Retinol also reduces excessive sebaceous secretions helping problem or acne skins and balances production of pigmentation aiding a bright even skin tone as we age.  There are so many advantages to this wonderful ingredient.  Here is how to add it into your routine:

  • Take advice from your skin specialist as to what percentage and type of retinol product is best suited for your skin.
  • It is an active ingredient so introduce gradually.
  • Expect some side effects as your skin becomes accustomed to the stimulation such as shedding, some sensitivity and feeling of tightness. These will subside as you become used to the activity and will be worth the effort.
  • Now is a good time to start – higher humidity during summer months makes skin less likely to suffer from obvious side effects
  • Keep skin hydrated.
  • As mentioned for best results use in conjunction with a sunscreen and anti-oxidant serum such as vitamin C.

Heres to putting off ageing for another year …