The Truth About Retinol The Facts Consumers Need To Know
Hands up if you’ve ever chosen a skincare product because it contains retinol.
In a room full of ageing or acne-prone consumers, it’s a safe bet that retinol-based products have featured in the skincare routines of most, if not all, at one time or another.
Despite warnings not to use the vitamin A derivative during pregnancy, there’s no denying that retinol is an on-trend ingredient, Yes, even despite the clear risks to health.
So, are the benefits of retinol worth the risk? Let’s find out!
The difference between retinoids and retinol
Retinoids are a family of compounds derived from vitamin A. Retinol is just one of those along with retinal, tretinoin, isotretinoin, and alitretinoin.
Used in the formulations of serums, moisturisers, eye creams, and acne treatments, retinol product are generally only available over the counter which is a clear indicator of its potency.
In most cases, the packaging will make it clear if a product contains retinol. Unlike ingredients that are known to pose a health risk such as parabens and phthalates, retinol is something the cosmetic industry is proud of.
Known for its anti-ageing properties, retinol is a hero ingredient used in products designed to increase collagen production and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol is also used to fight age spots, promote cellular turnover and stimulate the production of blood vessels in the skin to improve complexion.
Our biggest concern with applying retinol to the skin is that it can cause a sensation of warmth or stinging immediately after applying. It may also cause peeling, excessively dry skin, burning, redness, tingling, swelling, irritation, discoloured skin, itching, scaling, worsening of acne and photosensitivity.
With this information at hand, it seems a good time to ask ‘why do consumers flock towards products formulated with a synthetic ingredient that has so many detrimental properties?’
To be honest, we’re not really sure. We can only assume that consumers feel they have a lack of choice. We’ve been conditioned that anything that causes pain must be good for us, but unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. When the skin reacts in this way it only means one thing, cellular damage – the very thing we’re trying to avoid.
While studies show that retinol can improve skin tone, strengthen cells and reduce the visible signs of ageing, results from applying it topically are purely synthetic. Retinol is only available naturally by consuming animal products rich in vitamin A such as dairy products, fish, and meat. The vitamin A then converts into retinol stimulating collagen production naturally.
Plant sources of vitamin A such as alpha, beta and gamma carotene are absorbed into the body when eating seeds and orange coloured vegetables such as carrots.
The only true natural source of Vitamin A that can be applied to the skin is found in seed oils such as rosehip oil which contains carotene giving them their orange colour.
Retinol: What to do instead
The skin forms the body’s protective layer and safeguards against unwanted pathogens and bacteria, locks in moisture and helps retain healthy PH levels to naturally hydrate. With such an important function, it’s important to nurture and strengthen cells rather than erode healthy cells as retinol has been proven to do.
We also know that an impaired skin barrier can cause a host of unwanted skin complications. Many studies have shown that the use of retinol in a synthetic form causes barrier degradation and skin sensitisation.
There’s no denying it. Retinol absolutely can accelerate cellular turnover leading to short-term improvements in complexion, but this is to the detriment of those new cells which haven’t had time to fully develop and are still vulnerable to the environment. Over time, this leads to premature DNA damage and sunlight sensitivity.
Just because it may temporarily improve appearance, we can’t say that synthetic retinol is good for your skin and applying it in any form is likely to be at the detriment of healthy cells.
- Focus on nutrition
Collagen is the protein responsible for keeping skin youthful and supple. Rather than apply synthetic versions of retinol and damage healthy skin cells in the process, a diet rich in protein and vitamin A is the most superior way to boost collagen production and reduce the signs of ageing naturally.
Include zinc, vitamin C, protein and vitamin A in your diet by consuming eggs, leafy greens, broccoli, meat, fish, spinach and orange and yellow fruit and vegetables that all create amino acids essential for collagen synthesis.
- Use Br oil
We also recommend applying Br oil. Extracted from Rosa canina seed, rosehip oil contains carotene and is an essential source of vitamin A. Br oil is cold-pressed and unrefined meaning the skin gets all the natural benefits with none of the synthetics which can harm healthy cells.
Retinoids and acne
While many tout over-the-counter treatments as the only drug that has ever cleared up their acne, at Biologi we believe in a more holistic approach involving identifying the internal causes of acne and reducing the symptoms with active ingredients. This reduces the toxic overload on the liver system and makes results longer lasting. You can read more about acne here.
To find out more about the products in your bathroom cabinet, contact our customer service team today.