Skincare must be one of the most written-about subjects, and the info out there is daunting, especially if you don’t know your retinols from your salicylic acids. How do you know what to put on your skin when every ad, magazine and website is telling you something different? Though we love trying out new and innovative skincare products, we believe that the basics are most important – a good cleanser to remove dirt and impurities and a great moisturiser to hydrate the skin. Once you’ve got that down, determine which ingredient will solve your woes (and give your skin exactly what it needs!).
We’re on a mission to simplify skincare – one ingredient at a time. Today we take a look at vitamin A (retinol).
What is it?
Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is considered a miracle skincare ingredient due to its long list of benefits. Mostly included in serums and moisturisers, it’s a favourite ingredient among editors, doctors and skin aestheticians alike. The retinol products you find in pharmacies and beauty stores contain low concentrations of vitamin A, whilst cosmeceutical vitamin A products available from clinics and salons contain higher concentrations. In essence, vitamin A stimulates the production of new skin cells, thus increasing your skin’s cell turnover rate.
How it benefits the skin
More like what doesn’t it do! All the benefits hail from retinol’s ability to increase skin cell turnover – it keeps our pores clear and free from the trappings of dead skin cells, making is a great acne, pimple and blackhead fighter. Skin that turns over more frequently looks firmer and more even. Plus, in the process of turning over skin cells, vitamin A also promotes collagen production, making the skin look young and plump. It reduces the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and age spots (pigmentation). Basically, it’s the world’s best anti-ager (we’re not even kidding) and all-round wonder ingredient.
Important things to note
Retinol makes the skin more sensitive to the sun, so it’s important to wear a broadspectrum SPF every day – even when it’s cloudy and grey outside. You may experience some irritation the first time you use vitamin A, which is why it’s important to start with a low concentration so that your skin can acclimatize, before working your way up to a higher concentration.
Products to try:
Optiphi Intense Retinol Infinity Serum, R1444.00
Optiphi’s award-winning anti-ageing serum is designed to promote cellular rejuvenation. Radiant, younger looking skin is promoted by Peptide-4, which boosts the synthesis of collagen and hyaluronic acid, thus resulting in the softening of moderate and deep wrinkles. Dark spots are reduced and fine lines and wrinkles improved by Rosehip Oil. Cellular turnover is improved and the skin appears younger for longer. Oil production is normalized. This really is an all-problem-solver!
Mincer Pharma Vitamins Philosophy Nourishing Day / Night Cream, R260.00
Suitable for mature skin, this new-to-SA cream enhances the skin’s resilience. It leaves the skin feeling deeply regenerated, nourished and supple. Contains a low concentrate of vitamin A that won’t irritate the skin.
SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3, R1338.00
This potent nighttime treatment features 0.3% pure retinol enhanced with the latest stabilization and delivery technologies to ensure a steady, even release. Formulated with soothing bisabolol to minimise irritation and specially packaged to preserve its potency, this retinol cream helps improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, blemishes, and pores by accelerating cellular turnover. Ideal for skin new to retinol use.
SKNLogic Night, R183.00
A night cream that combats prematurely-ageing skin conditions while it repairs and protects. Infused with the anti-ageing benefits of apple extract to revitalize the skin. Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while improving the texture, tone and colour of the skin thanks to Retinyl Palmitate (vitamin A), which also supports the development of collagen in the skin.
Coverderm CC Cream For Eyes, R399.00
This natural-looking colour correcting cream not only treats but also covers. Complete Care colour correctors with 26 super-powered active ingredients evens and brightens skin tone, nourishes, moisturises and soothes the skin. It protects against UVA & UVB rays and treats wrinkles, blemishes and irritation. The eye cream is specially formulated for the sensitive eye area and treats dark circles, puffiness and wrinkles.
TheraVine Ultravine Advanced Contouring Retinol Eye Pads, R227.00
Containing the highest concentrations of ingredients captured in a plant-sourced collagen film, this advanced eye mask combined with a super serum will help to smooth away lines and wrinkles, creating a fresh and radiant looking eye contour, while visibly reducing the signs of ageing.