Retinoids, what is the fuss about?



In order to try to explain what Retinoid does for our skin, I just want to give you a quick overview of what normal skin function is and how this changes as we go through life.


Our skin is simply amazing and is your first line of defence. It protects against infections and UV radiation, regulates our body temperature and helps us touch and feel the outside world.


The skin consists of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous tissue.


The epidermis is the top layer of the skin, which undergoes constant renewal; Skin cells are formed in the basal layer of the epidermis (the deepest layer) and move upwards through the epidermis to the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer); where they are then shed through a process called desquamation.

Essentially out with the old and in with the new fresh cells!


This process takes on average 28 days but will get sluggish and slow down over the course of our lifetime. When the cell renewal process is sluggish, “dead” skin cells will build up and clog up your pores. Resulting in duller, uneven, breakouts, increased hyperpigmentation and thickened dry patches on the skin. It is therefore vital to look after your skin and make sure that you are doing what you can to keep the cellular turnover as efficient as possible and this is where Retinoids comes in!


Retinoids are a group of vitamin A derivatives, all of which work in the skin to boost cell turnover and improve tone and texture, while also stimulating collagen production to ward off fine lines and wrinkles.


Benefits for your skin includes:

· Speeds cell turnover

· Decreased hyperpigmentation

· Creates a more even skin tone

· Stimulates collagen production and increases elasticity

· Keeps pores clear and reduces inflammation.

· Maintains healthy skin functions, resulting in glowing dewy skin.

The first important point guys are that not all retinoids are created EQUAL. And while the term "retinol" is often used as an all-encompassing, blanket term, it's actually one very specific ingredient within the retinoid family.

Retinoids includes, retinyl palmitate, retinol, and retinaldehyde and retinoic acid.


In order for the skin to utilise these ingredients the retinyl palmitate, retinol and retinaldehyde need to be converted into retinoic acid to reach its bioavailable form. This is the most potent and purest form. The more steps in the conversion process, the weaker the retinoid will be.


So, if you look at this ladder:


· Retinyal palmitate which need to be converted 3 times

· Retinol needs to undergo two conversion.

· Retinaldehyde goes through one conversion.

· Retinoic acid is ready to go and needs no conversion.








So, what does this mean when you are trying to pick a product you may wonder. In my mind, no one needs retinyal palmitate-it’s going to be too weak to actually have much of an effect on your skin.


I think Retinol is a great starting point and typically it comes in 3 different strengths, once you are happy that this is not causing any excessive skin irritation, we can move up to Retinaldehyde or retinoic acid strength.

Bear in mind the stronger the products the higher the potential for skin irritation so slowly wins the race when it comes to adding these into your skin regimen.


During your skin consultation, all this will be discussed, and we will find an appropriate level for you to start your retinoid journey.

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