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Do You Need A Retinoid In Your Routine?

In this ever evolving, overwhelming and what sometimes could be referred to as the 'wild wild west' of skincare, the spotlight often falls on retinoids, heralded as the game-changers in anti-ageing. The same question looms though - do you need to incorporate a retinoid into your skincare routine?

As a skincare specialist with a keen eye for nuances, I always try to look at the world of vitamin A products with caution, being mindful of the retinoid reactions they can trigger. This has always been my main concern with any kind of vitamin A type product. Yes, the results can be absolutely epic, but the risks can also be quite high. Retinoid reactions are a real thing if you're not used to the products and so it can baffle me as to why anybody starts using them.

What's the concern with a retinoid reaction though?

Well, I guess it all really depends on your skin type. I would say, the more you overstimulate your skin, the more you're at risk of sensitivity and post inflammatory pigmentation. If you don't struggle with pigmentation and don't have sensitive skin then you might be ok, but this 'one size fits all' approach to vitamin A products winds me up a bit... they just doesn't suit everyone!

When retinoid reactions occur, they can cause redness, dryness, flaking and overall sensitivity. They can last for a few days and then by the time your skin has recovered it is time to reapply the retinol again. Then the cycle of the dryness, redness etc begins again, which of course can be frustrating for some.

Why is everyone raving about them?

The benefits are undeniable. They help to improve the skin's texture, overall complexion, boost collagen and improve the skin cell turnover - leading to a more 'rejuvenated' result and smoother texture.

They can also help with treating hyperpigmentation and create an even complexion - some products can also help reduce redness too.

Who shouldn't use them?

I would not recommend during or even if planning pregnancy. Studies are rather vague when it comes to pregnancy - mainly because it's not very ethical to test on pregnant women. I have heard though that products containing vitamin A may be safe to use as it cannot penetrate that deep into the skin, however, I personally wouldn't risk it for the sake of 9-10 months and besides, there are other options you could go with to provide a similar result. Nimue Skin Technology products for example.

Also, if your skin is very sensitive or you are prone to pigmentation, I would always proceed with caution. Retinoid reactions can be very stimulating on the skin and then put you at risk of post inflammatory pigmentation, so sometimes it's not always worth the risk.

The Do's & Don'ts

You MUST MUST MUST wear an SPF every single day when using retinols/retinoids/vitamin A etc as your skin will be more sensitive to the UV rays. Yes, this even means if you are indoors all day. If you've read my blogs before you will know that UVA rays can penetrate through glass. Always reapply if you're going outdoors as well every few hours if you can. I love the Nimue Sun-C SPF 40. It doesn't block pores, is super hydrating and must be one of my all time best selling products by far.

We must also remember that these products should only be used in the evening and not during the day. I would also say, if you're going on holiday then avoid taking them with you to sunnier destinations as they will make your skin more prone to UV damage. Ideally stop a few days to a week before you go away.

Where do I begin?

Personally, I am not a huge fan of the more 'hardcore' varieties such a tretinoin. Yes you might see a result, but I feel there's so much faff with them. Getting an appointment with a derm and getting it prescribed can be a pain in itself.

Then there are other versions that are available on the high-street. These are much gentler versions but will not give you the same results that most people expect from using a retinol and so, although might still show some benefits, you'd be better working with AHA's instead to see a better result.

However, amidst the plethora of options, two stand out - SkinBetter Science's AlphaRet Range and Skinade's Derma Defence.

SkinBetter Science's AlphaRet range contains five products that have be perfectly formulated with their own patented AlphaRet molecule. This molecule is a retinoid with added lactic acid to offer a slow release of retinoid and therefore not causing any kind of retinoid reaction (when applied correctly of course - remember, less is always more with these kind of products). The overnight cream is absolutely incredible and offers similar results that you would get from using tretinoin without all the faff and risk of retinoid reactions. To me, it's a win win!

Then we have Skinade's Derma Defense supplement. This is a drinkable form of vitamin A and D and can help improve the skin cell turnover and immunity. I love to take this as an added boost with my daily Skinade now and again to boost my skin's health.

So, do you need a retinoid?

The answer is nuanced to be honest. I recommend the ones I have here. The SkinBetter AlphaRet range and then Skinade's Derma Defense. I think the two combined can really product some fantastic results and work synergistically together.

However, I'm not a huge fan of the more traditional retinols as they can irritate the skin so much. By all means, if it's something you want to try then do so. I just personally don't recommend them to my clients as we can get the same kind of result with the two products above I have mentioned.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the SkinBetter products, please just click the link here and fill out the form. As with any SkinBetter (and Nimue and Meder skincare) products, I just need to check they are suitable for your skin before you purchase.

I hope you have found this little guide helpful,

Thank you so much for reading,

Emmaline x


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