Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Wrinkles and Pimples At The Same Time: Solutions May 5, 2014

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This post was inspired by something I saw on Facebook.  The reality for many women is just as they start to see wrinkles on their skin (perhaps around the eyes or on the forehead for example) they still get an occasional pimple.  This can be both frustrating and confusing.  Yet it isn’t so difficult to find one solution for both skincare issues.

I would like to point out that the skincare phenomena I am writing about here is not adult acne.  While adult acne is definitely on the rise, I am referring here to people who are probably in their late 30s, early 40s and are starting to see the emergence of fine lines while still occasionally experiencing breakouts (for women perhaps around the time they get their period).  This is also different from women who are undergoing menopause and find that they are all of a sudden breaking out.  I’ve blogged about both adult acne and menopause’s effects on the skin in the past.  Those posts are listed below if you would like to look at them.

In my opinion what is happening here is simple: you are starting to see fine lines because sun damage from years before is now becoming visible, and you are still experiencing an occasional breakout because of your hormones (especially those related to your period) and/or stress.  Just as I see the cause of this skincare issue as fairly straightforward so is, in my opinion, the solution: add a retinol cream to your skincare regime at night, make sure you use sunscreen daily, and use an antioxidant serum every day.  Be sure not to go overboard in order to improve the appearance of your skin.  Do not start using anti-acne products meant for teenagers such as Stridex or Clean & Clear.  These products will be much too harsh for pretty much anyone who isn’t a teenager anymore.

Retinol is the ideal skincare ingredient for people experiencing both fine lines and an occasional breakout because it can treat both issues simultaneously.  I’ve written about retinol and Retin-A before in my blog (you can find the posts below), but I’ll explain again why this is a great skincare ingredient.  As Lab Muffin explains in the post Fact-Check Friday: What Does Retinol Do? :

Retinol is a form of vitamin A. Other forms of vitamin A in skincare that you may be familiar with include isotretinoin (better known as Accutane) and retinyl palmitate (another topical ingredient found in many creams).

Things retinol can help:

– fine lines and wrinkles
– skin roughness and dullness
– skin firmness
– pigmentation from age spots
– acne

Retinoids are skin cell normalizers so that means that they speed up skin cell turn-over which will help clear up breakouts, and retinoids help rebuild collagen so they will minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time. As such adding a retinol product to your skincare regime is the perfect solution for both fine lines and breakouts.

Just keep a few things in mind when using retinoids (I’m quoting Lab Muffin again):

Retinols can be irritating to the skin, and cause dehydration. To reduce the chances of this happening, you should introduce it into your routine slowly (don’t use it every day to begin with), and use extra hydrating moisturisers.

Retinol breaks down with exposure to light and air. Pick a retinol product in an airtight, opaque container to improve its shelf life.

Using retinol with other excellent skin treatments like AHAs and vitamin C can speed up the skin renewal process, fading hyperpigmentation and wrinkles faster. However, the activation of retinol by skin enzymes is optimal at a higher pH (5.5-6) than the pH for AHAs (3.5). While there isn’t much research on how quickly the pH of skin readjusts itself, waiting an hour or so in between applying the two is a safe bet, or even using one in the morning and one in the evening.

Retinol, much like AHAs, can make the skin more susceptible to sunburn. Wear extra sunscreen when you use retinol so you don’t completely reverse its beneficial effects!

Lastly, keep in mind that you cannot use Retin-A or retinols when pregnant or nursing.

 

So how would this anti-aging, anti-acne skincare regime look?  I suggest cleansing twice daily with a mild cleanser, applying an antioxidant serum in the morning (such as a Vitamin C serum in order to boost the effectiveness of your sunscreen, further prevent the signs of aging, protect your skin from inflammation), and then using a sunscreen with a spf between 30 to 50 (you can also use a separate moisturizer before your sunscreen if you feel your skin needs it).  In the evening after cleansing apply a retinol cream followed by a moisturizer.  Pretty simple, right?

 

Recommended Products:

  • While I am not familiar with all the recommended products in this article I like the approach of this skincare regime since the recommended products are not too harsh.  Remember there is no need to buy just anti-acne products if you only experience an occasional breakout.
  • Cleanser:  I suggest using a mild cleanser such as CeraVe or even Cetaphil.  You don’t need to use an anti-acne cleanser.  That would be overkill for most people.
  • Antioxidant serum:  See my previous posts below for more information about why you want to use an antioxidant serum and in particular a Vitamin C serum.  There are quite a few good (and even great) Vitamin C serums out there, but at the moment my recommendation is to buy one from South Korea.  OST Original Pure Vitamin C20 Serum is excellent and super affordable (even when you factor in the shipping costs). I am using it now and love it.
  • Moisturizers and Sunscreens:  Choose your products according to your skincare needs and the weather in the area you live in.  Some people may need a richer moisturizer and others not so much especially if you live in a humid climate.  Now that Target is selling some of my favorite skincare lines making them accessible to all I would recommend Laneige Water Sleeping Mask as a moisturizer (don’t be put off by the name; it’s a moisturizer), particularly as a nighttime one, and any La Roche-Posay sunscreen, particularly Anthelios Ultra Light spf 60.
  • Retinol Creams or Serums:  There are also numerous retinol products on the market including ones from Roc and Neutrogena, but for my money I would try either La Roche-Posay Effaclar K Daily Renovating Acne Treatment (if you have blackheads and more than just the occasional breakout) or La Roche-Posay Redermic R (if you only have an occasional breakout).

Further Reading:

 

Can Anyone Use Retin-A? October 11, 2012

Recently a long-time reader of this blog (thank you Louise for all your support!) asked me to address the issue of Retin-A use in my blog from a different angle than I have before.  So far the posts I’ve written about Retin-A have been an overview post on the subject (All About Retinol) and another post explaining why Retin-A remains the anti-aging superstar ingredient that it is (Back in Vogue: Retin-A).  Though this post will have some overlap with my past posts about Retin-A and retinol I do hope that this latest post will help explain how anyone can use Retin-A or retinol effectively and just how to do that.

I think it is best to start this post with a summary – what does Retin-A do and what is the difference between the different Vitamin A derived ingredients we see in skincare products?  Dr. Leslie Baumann does a good job of breaking things down:

First and foremost, retinoids speed the rate at which skin cells turn over, which means they thin the layer of dead skin cells and help keep healthy, younger-looking cells on the surface. Retinoids also promote the skin to produce more collagen while preventing the breakdown of existing collagen.This thickens the dermal layer of skin and helps minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Here’s the lowdown on the different members of the retinoid family, which are all derivatives of vitamin A.

Beta carotene: If you eat too many carrots and your skin turns orangey yellow, it’s because you’ve ODed on beta carotene. (Don’t worry, it’s actually good for you.) This is a great antioxidant, so it’s important to get beta carotene from food. Don’t waste your money on topical creams with carrots or beta carotene because it does not absorb when applied to the skin.

2.Tretinoin (Retin-A): Perhaps the best known retinoid (and the gold standard for skin improvement), tretinoin got its start as an acne treatment before its inventor, Albert Kligman, MD, realized that patients on the medication had less wrinkles than those who were not. Dr. Kligman then developed Renova, a tretinoin cream that got FDA approval for the treatment of wrinkles. A little fact: Tretinoin does not cause sun sensitivity, however it is less effective when exposed to UV light, and this is why it’s best used at night. Other brand names of tretinoin now include Atralin (formulated with hydrating glycerin), Refissa, and Retin-A Micro.

3.Adapalene: This is considered a second-generation retinoid because its chemical structure is different than naturally occurring retinoids. The brand name is Differin, and it is more stable when exposed to the sun and less irritating. The prescription EpiDuo contains adapalene and benzoyl peroxide to help fight acne. In recent news, adapalene is now available as a generic.

4.Tazarotene: A third-generation retinoid, this is stronger than adapalene, less irritating and more sun-stable. I like it for patients who have been able to tolerate tretinoin and/or adapalene without any problems.

5.Retinol: This is the over-the-counter version of tretinoin, but the big drawback is that it’s very unstable, and the product packaging is crucial for its effectiveness. Johnson & Johnson has had the patent on retinol packaging, which is why my favorite OTC retinols are from RoC and Neutrogena. It’s much weaker than tretinoin, but studies do show it works to improve wrinkles. I like to start my patients on retinol and then work them up to tretinoin, and then tazarotene.

6.Retinyl esters (retinyl palmitate and retinyl linoleate): These ingredients are broken down into retinol once they’re applied to the skin. However, it takes time for them to absorb which is why there’s some controversy surrounding retinyl palmitate—based on a report by the Environmental Working Group. They aren’t irritating (because they don’t really absorb), but they don’t really work, so I say skip them.

7.Retinaldehyde: This penetrates better than retinyl esters, but not as well as retinol (which is why it’s less irritating). If you’re looking for results and bang for your buck, stick with retinol or a prescription.

(From Retinoids: An Essential Ingredient for “Wrinkled” SkinSkin Type Solutions LibraryTips)

As great as Retin-A is for the skin many people cannot use it because it causes them too much irritation.  The Vogue article The Return to Retinol explains:

The thing is, Retin-A and its various prescription descendants (Renova, Tazorac, Differin)—may have launched a thousand lineless faces, but they also launched as many irritated ones: scaly, red, angry. In those early days (fifteen years ago), retinoids could be used only at night because of their sensitivity to light; they could make skin extra-sensitive and made time in the sun, even incidental exposure, a cardinal sin. “Everyone was really excited from the beginning, but the big issues were dryness and irritation—mostly because people would apply too much,” says dermatologist Fredric Brandt, M.D., the New York– and Miami-based skin-care Svengali who has thousands of seemingly ageless women in his thrall (retinoid enthusiasts Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow included). But even when skin wasn’t in outright crisis mode, a telltale sort of “retinoid face” could develop: spookily taut and shiny, like Barbie plastic. This is because the retinoic-acid molecule works a little too well: It’s so tiny it can penetrate all the layers of the skin, prompting extra-speedy cell turnover and exfoliation in the process. “You’re helping fix photo-aging, brown spots, acne, roughness, and collagen breakdown,” says Brandt. Miraculous, yes; gentle, no.

So what can you do in order to prevent irritation if you want to use Retin-A (and I personally strongly recommend Retin-A for those people who want to combat the signs of aging or who have acne and have tried numerous other anti-acne treatments to no avail), but cannot live with flaky, irritated, and red skin?  Start off slowly – use a retinol, an OTC product, before using a prescription product. You can try a product that is meant for sensitive skin like ROC Retinol Correction Sensitive Night Cream  (truthfully I don’t know how well this product works, but it worth a try if you have sensitive skin or are wary of trying a stronger product)  first before working your way up to a stronger product.  In a sense you will prepare your skin to tolerate stronger prescription products in the future.  According to Dr. Ellen Marmur in her book Simple Skin Beauty there are a few other ways to prevent skin irritation associated with using Retin-A (pages 278-279):

Prescription retinoids are the strongest and most effective form of retinoic acid.  Over-the-counter products contain milder vitamin A analogs; either retinol or retinyl palmitate (retinyl palmitate beign the weakest).  In order to have an effect on retinoid receptors, these must be converted to retinoic acid inside the body, and that conversion may not happen with the trace amount of low-strength vitamin A contained in a beauty product.  Although the results are therefore inconsistent, an OTC retinol might be worth at try if you’re skittish about using a prescription medication or if you have especially sensitive skin.  Stabilized, high-strength retinol may be somewhat effective, but look for one that states the percentage of retinol on the label.  Otherwise there’s probably just a tiny, ineffectual amount in the product.  (Personally, I would rather use a prescription retinoid with a percentage of medication that I know works.)

Side Effects:  Retinoic acid is a drug and there are risks associated with its use.  Since it decreases sebum (remember, this is still an acne medication), it makes the skin extremely dry.  (If that’s the case for you, applying moisturizer on top of retinoic acid is the answer, and it won’t dilute its potency.)  It makes the skin photosensitive, so daily sunscreen is a must – which is also why retinoic acid should be used at night.  It tends to irritate even moderately sensitive skin, so be careful not to overdo exfoliants such as glycolic acids (one a week is plenty).  For the same reason, be sure to stop using retinoids three to five days before having any skin procedures done, from simple waxing and facials to medical peels or lasers.  For those who have a hard time tolerating even a low-dose prescription retinoid, I recommend trying short-term applications: apply a pea-size amount over the whole face and neck, leave it on for fifteen minutes, then rinse it off.  You may get the same benefits as wearing it overnight.

Another thing to keep in mind is that even though having flaky and red skin is a side effect from using Retin-A it is a temporary one.  Your skin will get used to the product and those skin irritations will gradually disappear.  But if you live in a cold or dry climate your skin might constantly feel dry with Retin-A use.  Simply use a moisturizer twice daily at least or more if necessary to combat this dryness.  Be sure to wait about 10 or 15 minutes after applying your Retin-A before applying your moisturizer on top so that you allow the Retin-A to absorb properly into your skin.  Lastly, keep in mind that Retin-A comes in a wide variety of formulations.  Refissa, for instance, is a 0.05% tretinoin cream that is buffered so that it causes much less irritation for the user.  Many people do not peel at all when they use this product.

Summary of Different Ways to Prevent Irritation When Using Retin-A:

  • Only use a pea size amount for your entire face.  There is no need to use more.
  • Start off slow – use your Retin-A only twice a week or every other night for at least two weeks before determining if you want to use it more often.  For some people using Retin-A twice a week is enough.
  • If you are wary of using a prescription product start off with an OTC product.  Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.  After using a product like this for a few months you can move on to prescription one.
  • Ask for a prescription buffered product like Refissa if you know your skin is reactive and/or dry.
  • Work through the initial phase of irritation. That means be patient – you’ll see results in about three months.  Don’t give up on the product before then.  If you start and then stop and then start again using Retin-A your skin will get stuck in phase one of use.  Simply put your skin will constantly be irritated and red.
  • Use a moisturizer on top of your Retin-A.  Some of my favorite moisturizers to combine with Retin-A use are the renewal products from Epionce.  Be sure to wait at least 10 minutes after applying your Retin-A before applying a moisturizer on top.
  • Avoid irritating your skin further by overusing other facial exfoliating products like glycolic acid.  Products with Vitamin C can even be too irritating for some people if they are using Retin-A.
  • Use sun protection daily.

OTC Products 

I don’t want to call this recommended products since I haven’t tried any of them, but all the products below come from reputable companies:

Sources and Further Reading:

Image from anti-aging-skin-care-guide.com

 

Back in Vogue – Retin-A April 16, 2012

While we are in pursuit of the latest and greatest skincare ingredients and the newest products that promise to miraculously give us perfect skin overnight we can lose sight of the tried and true skincare ingredients and products that really work as promised.  Case in point – Retin-A.

Vogue magazine recently published an article about Retin-A extolling its virtues and explaining its history:

All retinoids—the umbrella name for a class of compounds that encompasses retinol, retinoic acid, retinyl palmitate, retinol aldehyde, and a host of others—are derivatives of vitamin A, one of the body’s key nutrients. Vitamin A’s mighty chemical makeup was identified in 1931, and the man who isolated and described it, Swiss chemist Paul Karrer, was rewarded with a Nobel Prize for his efforts. Retinol was a slightly rickety compound, prone to quick degeneration when exposed to oxygen and light. But by the 1960s, researchers were metabolizing retinol into its more stable (and more active) cousin retinoic acid and were beginning to understand its tremendous power in skin-care applications. Retin-A—a brand name for retinoic acid (also known as tretinoin)—was FDA-approved in 1971 as a prescription-strength treatment for acne, but dermatologists noticed almost immediately that a lot more than just breakouts were vanishing. Scores of patients began reporting a reduction in fine lines and hyperpigmentation, and the stampede began.

“Vitamin A is the go-to skin-care ingredient,” says Jennifer Linder, M.D., a Scottsdale, Arizona, dermatologist and chief scientific officer for the clinical line PCA Skin. “The best anti-ager is sunscreen; the next is vitamin A. Nothing else approaches it,” she says. Virtually all skin-care experts agree on this point—and in today’s world of peptides, growth factors, glacial water, and extracts from rare Corsican flowers, that’s saying a lot. “You can imagine that the question dermatologists get asked every single day is ‘What really works?’ ” says Linder. “Retinoids trigger change in the skin to make it look clearer and more youthful; they actually help skin get back to a healthier place. And there’s strong, strong clinical data behind that.”

What does Retin-A do exactly for the skin that is so effective?  Allure sums it up well:

HOW IT WORKS: Retinol speeds up cell turnover, sweeps away the dead cells that cause dullness, and boosts collagen and elastin by stimulating cellular repair at the deepest level of the skin. It also pumps up circulation by increasing blood-vessel formation, so skin looks healthier.

While Retin-A is the most effective anti-aging product on the market and can help erase both fine lines and acne for some people it can be irritating.  Known side effects of Retin-A include redness, irritation, dryness, and flakiness.  Keep in mind, though, that these side effects do not last forever.  After a few weeks, once your skin adjusts to the product, you will no longer experience those side effects.

Also remember that there are numerous prescription strengths and non-prescription versions of Retin-A available so there really is a formulation out there for everyone.  Once again I’ll turn to the Vogue article to explain:

In an attempt to tame the wildness of retinoic acid, researchers revisited its milder parent molecule, retinol. For decades it had been neglected as a skin-care ingredient because it was even trickier to stabilize than retinoic acid. The genius of retinol, researchers realized, is that it isn’t active when applied to skin. Retinol goes on in an inert form and is then switched to on-mode by your own skin. Your cells receive the retinol, hang on to it until they’re ready, and then convert only what they need into retinoic acid. This has tremendous benefits, says dermatologist Dennis Gross, M.D.: “It dramatically reduces the negative effects of retinoic acid—the peeling, sun sensitivity, redness—but has all the same fundamental results. It just takes a little longer to get there.”

The latest breakthrough has been in making retinol stable enough to live in a bottle with other active ingredients. (Until recently, says Linder, some over-the-counter products touting retinol as an active ingredient were largely ineffectual, as the retinol frequently degenerated well before application.) In the past few years, cosmeceutical companies have made big advances in the microencapsulation of retinol: The retinol molecules are each surrounded by a tiny polymer film, like a slim-fitting suit of armor that protects it from light, oxygen, and other aggressors. When you apply the cream to your face, you create chinks in the armor, which frees the retinol to do its work.

There are so many different ways to adjust Retin-A or retinol use.  You do not have to use it every night to get great results.  If you live in an area that is cold during the winter you can use your Retin-A twice a week during that season and then bump up your use during the summer when the weather is warmer and there is more humidity in the air.  You might need to experiment a bit, but in the end you’ll figure out the right strength and how many times you need to use it a week in order to see great results with your skin.

I love Retin-A so much (I use a prescription version that is 0.05% strength and apply it three times a week at night) that I always wonder why everyone isn’t using some version of Retin-A or retinol.  If you haven’t tried Retin-A yet consider it, and if you have used Retin-A or retinol in the past but stopped figure out a version that will work for you.

Sources and Further Reading:

My Related Post:
  • All About Retinol  – a relative older post of mine, but a goody (if I do say so myself)

Image from prescriptionmedications.biz

 

Marketing Versus Truth in Wrinkle Creams August 30, 2010

I always wait for Thursdays to see what the Skin Deep article in the The New York Times Fashion and Style section will be about.  The Skin Deep article recently was called Debating the Claims Behind Wrinkle Creams; the article is essentially about StriVectin’s new line of products and its new marketing strategy.  StriVectin is famous for its slogan, now banned by the FDA, “better than Botox?” which, not surprisingly, is incorrect

StriVectin not only has a new product line, it has a new slogan as well:  “More science.  Less Wrinkles” .  The new product line has a star ingredient – NIA-114 which is a patented form for niacin or vitamin B3.  This time around the company does not compare the results of using its products to Botox but to the prescription anti-aging (and anti-acne) powerhouse, the gold standard of anti-aging topical products – tretinoin.  Tretinoin is also commonly known as retinol.  (For more about retinol see my previous post on the subject)

According to Dr. Myron Jacobson, a biochemist, who along with his wife lead the team that researched the ingredient:

NIA-114 provides many of the benefits of retinoic acid without those tolerability issues,” Myron Jacobson said. “You get the gain without the pain.”NIA-114, he said, “will be the dominant skin-care molecule for the next 20 years.”

Obviously this is an interesting development, but please allow me to remain skeptical.  I don’t have much faith in a company that first compared its product to Botox since that comparison was so blatantly bogus.  The author of the article interviewed two doctors about StriVectin’s new ingredient and each expressed their ambivalence about the StriVectin’s claims over NIA-114.  Not to say that the ingredient doesn’t help wrinkles, it just probably doesn’t do all that StriVectin claims that it does.

I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes open for reviews of the new StriVectin line and for more information about their star ingredient, but in the meantime what I really found fascinating about the article was how well StriVectin has succeeded in marketing their old product with the slogan:  Better than Botox?:

 

BEFORE StriVectin’s stretch-mark cream became an anti-wrinkle blockbuster sold in Sephora and Bloomingdale’s, it made its debut in 2002 at GNC, a retailer better known for its muscle-building supplements

Then in 2003, StriVectin started running print ads with the alluring claim that women who used the cream ($135 a tube) as a facial moisturizer found it reduced their wrinkles. The ads asked: Could StriVectin actually be “Better than Botox?”

That slogan did it. Hordes of women (and some men) were sold on the idea that this over-the-counter cream could deliver on its claims, even though its makers had scant science to back them. As a cosmetic, StriVectin-SD didn’t have to prove its efficacy as a wrinkle-fighter in a clinical trial the way that drugs like Botox did, but that fact got lost amid the marketing hype.

The ad was “fabulous” because it “immediately established the possibility that you could get benefits without the inconvenience” of a doctor’s visit, said Suzanne Grayson, a marketing consultant to the beauty industry.

In 2009, in a testament to its enduring appeal, StriVectin was still one of the fastest growing anti-aging brands, according to NPD Group, a market research firm. This despite the fact its kingpin cream hadn’t been updated in seven years.

Furthermore:

Scientific proof doesn’t necessarily matter to consumers. In the last year, StriVectin has worked with SheSpeaks, which helps brands glean consumer insight. Aliza Freud, chief executive of SheSpeaks, said 5,000 women were asked what StriVectin signified to them before this reintroduction; they said the brand had a “scientific edge.” “These consumers — most of them — have no idea what the science behind it means,” Ms. Freud said.

 

Frankly, this just saddens me.  Believe me I’ve fallen more than once for a persuasive marketing campaign only to realize that I’ve been had, yet I keep hoping that women won’t believe the marketing hype when it comes to skincare products since there is more than enough real scientific research out there that explains what ingredients will and will not work on the skin.  In the end I just hope that Abraham Lincoln’s famous statement is really true in the end:

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

 

All About Retinol April 6, 2010

As far as anti-aging ingredients go retinol is a superstar.  And the great thing about retinol is that it not only fights the effects of aging it also helps clear acne and hyperpigmentation as well.

Retinol refers to the entire Vitamin A molecule and were originally introduced in skincare products 1971 when Retin-A came on the market.  When applied topically retinol functions as both an antioxidant and as a cell-communicating ingredient.  Being a cell-communicating ingredient means that retinol helps speed up skin cell turnover and helps the skin create healthier skin cells.  Retinol also helps the body get rid of dead skin cells.  Additionally, retinol has been shown to increase the body’s collagen production which means that when you retinol you will find that your skin is firmer and has an improved texture.

 

Treating Acne with Prescription Retinols

Since these topical retinoid medications improve the shape and functioning of the pores they very effective in treating acne when used with antibacterial agents because they allow the anti-bacterial agents to reach their target.  It is a common misconception that retinoids act like exfoliants – stripping off the top layers of the skin.  Instead retinoids are skin cell normalizers.  This means that they send-off chemical messengers whose molecules bind to receptors in the nucleus of skin cells in order to change that cell’s behavior.  So instead of keratinocytes accumulating and sticking together in the pores the keratinocytes exit the pores in a normal fashion.  Unfortunately, while they are extremely effective in treating acne retinoids can be very irritating to the skin.  Different retinoid options exist.  Retin-A, Renova, Retin-A Micro, Tazorac, and Avita are some of the most popular retinoids available through prescription.  These different topical treatments are available in cream and gel form and in different strengths.  Exposure to sunlight can degrade the effectiveness of the product so most doctors suggest applying it at night.  Another thing to be aware of is that retinoids can be inactivated by benzoyl peroxide so it is important to remember to use these two products at different times of the day.  After cleansing the face apply your tretinoin product.  Follow with a moisturizer to help prevent irritation and be sure to use a broad spectrum sunscreen during the day.

If you find the above mentioned retinoid products to be too irritating than Differin, the trade name of the synthetic retinoid adapalene, might be a better fit for you since it is considered the least irritating of all the topical retinoids. Women in particular like this product since it can be easily worn under make-up.  Differin works in the same way as the other retinoid products already highlighted above but it is neither affected by sunlight or benzoyl peroxide.  It is available in cream, gel, and solution form.

 

Retinols in Anti-Aging Products

 

There are a few different forms of retinol that you will find in skincare products targeted at anti-aging.  The different forms of retinol include:

  • Retinoic Acid or Trentinoin.  This is a synthetic derivative of Vitamin A, and it is the active ingredient in prescription strength retinoids.  Prescription strength retinoids work the fastest since they are already formulated as retinoic acid and they body doesn’t need to convert retinol into retinoic acid.  These formulations are strong and can cause irritation, flakiness, and redness.  Some doctors suggest using OTC retinols first before using prescription strength retinols so that your skin becomes used to the ingredient.  Use it at night, and at first only use it a few times a week so that your skin learns to tolerate the ingredient.  You’ll see results in 8 to 12 weeks.   Consider trying:  Renova, Refissa, or Retin-A.
  • Over the counter (OTC) retinol products will contain retinol, retinyl palmitate, reinylaldehyde, or retinyl acetate.  To really get your money’s worth you want to buy a product with retinol in it.  OTC retinol products work slower than prescription ones because the body needs to convert the retinol into retinoic acid.  The upside to using a OTC product as opposed to a prescription one is that you should experience much less or none of the irritation, flakiness, or dryness that you would with a prescription product. 

             Consider Trying:

  

Please note:  If you are pregnant or nursing doctors recommend that you do not use any retinol products – prescription or OTC.

 

 

Packaging is Important

 

Retinol is unstable so it is important to make sure that your retinol skincare product is properly packaged.  Your product needs to be protected from light so it should come in an aluminum tube or dark glass/plastic package.  Don’t buy a retinol product is a clear container.  Additionally, in order to maintain its effectiveness the product should be in a tube or pump form.

Sources and Further Reading

 

 

No Mixing Allowed: Skincare Ingredient Combinations to Avoid February 13, 2010

So you’ve researched what skincare products to buy and finally made your purchase.   But did you know that if you use different skincare products at the same time you could actually cancel out the benefits of the very ingredients you purchased the product for?

Don’t mix copper peptides and vitamin C –  using the two together, even if they are in separate products, just cancels out the effects of both.

Don’t mix retinol and benzoyl peroxide – both ingredients are great for fighting acne but if they are used at the same time they simply counteract one another.

Don’t mix retinoids or hydroquinone with glycolic acid – once again if you mix these ingredients they become inactive. 

Hydroquinone and retinoids can only be combined together in specially formulated products like Tri-Luma (which is used to fight hyperpigmentation).

And sometimes too much of certain ingredients is just bad for your skin:

Be alert to signs of redness, irritation, or excessive and prolonged peeling if you use products with AHA (alpha hydroxy acids like lactic, glycolic, malic, etc.), vitamin C, and retinol all at once.  For instance all in one day you may use a cleanser with glycolic acid, a moisturizer with vitamin C, and a retinol cream or serum at night.  You may find that your skin becomes sensitive to the use of so many potent ingredients.  If that is the case cut out one or more of the products with the strong ingredients or stagger the use of the products (skip a day or use a product just once a week).

Source and Further Reading:

 

 

 
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