More on Retinoic Acid (my fav!)

22 May

I LOVE RETINOL.  Every Woman Should Own A Retinol Product.  (Although the strength shouldn’t be the same for every woman!)

It is not just for acne; this cream has revolutionized nonsurgical treatments for sun-damaged skin (wrinkles!). Research shows it improves signs of both photoaging and photodamage.

Physical Change Results
Thins and compacts the top layer of the epidermis Smoother, softer skin texture
Thickens the lower layers of the epidermis Tightens the skin
Reverses keratinocyte atypia (some big acne word) Improves acne
Disperses melanin throughout epidermis (color of skin) Improves discoloration
Increases glycosaminoglycan deposition (sugars used for skin health) Increases dermal volume and tightens the skin
Increases neovasularization in dermis (blood flow) Gives a pinker, rosy hue to the skin

(Funny Story: My BFF Alexis recently read an article “Has facebook made you a narcissist?” … I told her “No, I’ve always been this way”… but really, your face is ALWAYS available to the public now.  Even if you’re not famous, you ARE!  Make sure you always looks picture perfect!  Nice skin makes life SO much easier AND more low maintenance.)

I’ve always recommended patients start on using a retinol product once a week and working their way up, but I’ve been reading that it should actually be done daily, starting at a low dose and working your way up. Retinol comes in several different formulations, the lowest being .01%. It can take two weeks for the skin to become acclimated to this product, and a little bit of redness or peeling can be expected.

If you are younger, and have less photodamage, or if you are older with sensitive skin a conservative approach to retinol therapy will give a good result (which will have little to no peeling or redness). Aggressive therapy is the only approach for thick, tough skin with severe sun damage. Peel baby peel (but don’t worry, the peeling will only be for two weeks or so, until your skin gets used to it… or physiologically… until your skin gets rid of all that dead stuff on top that’s making it look dull and yucky.)

If you are seeing an aesthetician and doing aggressive treatments like Microdermabrasion. or in-office chemical peels (‘Tis the Season for Chemical Peels! –but the summer is NOT) you should not use retinols until you are done with your treatments. AND hopefully after your treatments are finished you can use a more conservative retinol product to keep your skin looking good after treatments.

Retinol comes in 3 forms:

  1. Cream (.025%, 0.05%, 0.1%)
  2. Gel (0.01%, 0.025%)
  3. Liquid (0.05%)

But guess what. The carrier of the product can intensify the results. Creams are more moisturizing. Gels contain alcohol, and this makes it penetrate deeper. Alcohol also has a drying affect, which can irritate the skin even further. The liquid also is drying due to the effects of alcohol content.

(Yes. I really own this much retinol)

How to Use:

More is not better! Start with a pea size amount for your entire face.

(Retinol products are always yellow-ish in color).

My Skin:

I personally use a night cream that has Retinol and Glycolic. Once a week or so I add a Retinol booster (liquid retinol) to my moisturizer which sometimes makes my skin peel a little because it boosts the effect of the retinol by allowing it to penetrate. I recommend retinal products for everyone. Remember, this product makes you photosensitive; i.e. you should not be in the sun when you use it! …But you shouldn’t be in the sun anyways. SUNBLOCK cough.  It’s Sunny Out! (A Post in Honor of Sun Block).  Also, because of this photosensitivity don’t put these products on during the day.

A Client of Mine…

Came in for Botox and I couldn’t get over her skin. I asked her what she was using. She said to me, I’ve been using that cream I got from you once in the morning and once and night. The cream she was talking about was the Reconstructive Repair Crème with the retinol in it. Well…. she looked amazing, and thank god it was during the winter time and she wasn’t out in the sun! She also told me she always used the sunblock/moisturizer on top of the crème. I’m not recommending anyone do this! I’m just saying, it made SUCH a difference in her skin! I could feel the difference when I injected her. Of course, I told her not to do this in summer time. J Mistakes are how we learn!

Product
Spotlight!

Image Reconstruct Repair Crème:

A highly concentrated blend of retinol, glycolic acid and oil soluble Vitamin C to resurface, rejuvenate and repair aging skin. Leaves skin youthful, firm and radiant after just a few applications.

Reconstructive Retinol Booster:

Mix two drops with the Vital C anti-aging serum or the MAX serum as directed. Must not be applied directly onto skin without prior mixing! Use only at night.

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8 Responses to “More on Retinoic Acid (my fav!)”

  1. Catherine (@NewEnglandNoir) May 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    How long should you stop using one of these products before going somewhere sunny for a vacation? Or, alternately, with appropriate sun care (sunblock, a hat, etc) can you still use them if you’re somewhere tropical? I’ve been considering using a retinol product for texture and pore size reasons- can you still use a Clarisonic facial brush or will that be too harsh?

    Also loving Dr Jart’s BB Creme (primer/foundation) and Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant these days. Do you get Birchbox yet? You should. So much fun.

    Happy to see your success, Laura! You deserve it.

    • bostonbeautyblog May 25, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      it really depends on the strength of the product and your skin. I wear a low strength retinol/glycolic blend every day under an spf 30. I would say stop using it a few days before. You can still use a clarisonic, as long as it doesn’t irritate your face.

    • bostonbeautyblog June 10, 2012 at 7:45 am #

      Hi Catherine,
      It depends on several factors such as what strength retinol you are using, and how sensitive your skin is, and whether or not you wear sunblock. Typically, I recommend two days, but I would talk to whomever prescribed the product for you. I do tons of things I’m not supposed to do (I feel like I should have a “don’t try this at home” disclaimer here). I have used my retinol/glycolic Image Reconstructive Creme and gone in the sun and had it been fine (but I don’t recommend this!). I am unfamiliar with Dr. Jart’s, but you can buy it online… which means it’s a cosmetic which Dermalogica is as well. I call them “fluff” products. I wrote a post called “Step 2: Spend Wisely” that you should check out!
      -LK

    • bostonbeautyblog June 10, 2012 at 7:46 am #

      Hi Catherine,
      It depends on several factors such as what strength retinol you are using, and how sensitive your skin is, and whether or not you wear sunblock. Typically, I recommend two days, but I would talk to whomever prescribed the product for you. I do tons of things I’m not supposed to do (I feel like I should have a “don’t try this at home” disclaimer here). I have used my retinol/glycolic Image Reconstructive Creme and gone in the sun and had it been fine (but I don’t recommend this!). I am unfamiliar with Dr. Jart’s, but you can buy it online… which means it’s a cosmetic which Dermalogica is as well. I call them “fluff” products. I wrote a post called “Step 2: Spend Wisely” that you should check out!
      -LK
      Also, Clarisonic’s are AWESOME, especially if you’re using pharmaceutical grade products!

  2. Milly June 27, 2012 at 5:34 am #

    Hi there, I’ve been researching retin -a for pimples I have become a bit prone to. Firstly I researched why on earth my skin may have changed and I’m told it’s probably hormonal and related to the fact I’ve just given up breast feeding after 10 months..and my thought was to contact you as I wondered if you may know where online I can purchase this product and any recommendations as to the strength I may need. Thanks so much !

    • bostonbeautyblog June 28, 2012 at 1:17 am #

      I don’t recommend ever buying skin care products online, because you really can’t safely buy anything that is going to actually work (My first two blog posts are about why you shouldn’t buy OTC and why you should see an aesthetician). Retin-A is a prescription only medication that has a lot of possible side effects and safety concerns when not used properly. It is a product that is light sensitive and has an expiration date. You really don’t know what you’re getting. The products I use and recommend have retinol as an ingredient (usually in the form of retinoic acid), and are safer and non-pharmaceutical, but still require a professional to be dispensed. Too high of a dose can cause peeling (this product is used a lot for chemical peels) and can exacerbate acne by over-drying the skin. It also makes a person very sensitive to sunlight, so you need to use an spf any time you are outside. I can’t recommend a safe strength without looking at your skin, and knowing how well you can follow home care instructions. I recommend you find a place that sells cosme-ceutical (a cosmetic/pharmaceutical product) and speak to someone there about your skin. A consult should be free, and don’t be surprised if they recommend a few other products (spf-definitely and a strong moisturizer depending on your skin). I am partial to the “Image Skin Care” line (because it personally fixed my skin), which has a very safe retinol/glycolic blend that retails for $60. It’s worth the investment. You know what you’re getting, and you know it’s exactly what you need.

      • Milly July 7, 2012 at 11:23 am #

        Thanks so much for your advice. Hugely appreciated 🙂

  3. Mary September 24, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    Can you tell me the serum that is in the white Image bottle there I can’t see it clearly on the bottle I know it is in the ageless line just not sure which one it is…

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