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The jig is up, everyone is acutely aware at this point that dermatologists highly recommend a healthy dosage of Vitamin A (retinol) whether you get it over the counter or via prescription. The ingredient still feels fairly mythological though, we approach it with the same questions we ask before starting a diet: What are the portion sizes? Does it matter when I use it? Should I take it only for a couple weeks or is this a forever treatment? Will my skin get hangry for other products? Is it too late to start using it?
We at BeautyBio are super bias when it comes to retinol, we love it. Fun fact, our founder Jamie O’Banion almost named the brand after a retinol compound she developed with her dad in their family cosmetic lab (BeautyBio won out in the end though). So yeah, we’re pretty into it. But, we get that starting a retinol-based system is a little intimidating for first-timers, so here’s our beginner’s guide to the ingredient plus a Q&A on our unique retinol booster system to ease you into the convo.
When should I start using retinol?
If you’re over 18, the answer is always “now.” Once we hit 18, our skin starts producing 1% less collagen each year, meaning it’ll start to lose firmness, elasticity and begin sagging. The aging process doesn’t happen overnight though, here’s how skin ages with each decade:
Around our mid-20s, skin starts becoming drier as antioxidant production slows down leading to beginning signs of wrinkle formation.
Metabolism slows down in our 30s, which has a domino effect. Collagen and elastin production drop meaning skin starts looking thinner, eyes look puffier in the morning, sun damage starts to show via dark spots and enlarged pores and untreated wrinkles get deeper especially around the eyes and mouth.
Lines and wrinkles deepen, skin gets drier, elastin levels continue to drop, and skin cells’ regenerative process severely slows down meaning it takes much longer to produce collagen. Plus, hormonal shifts result in sagging facial skin.
Cracked, dry skin and age spots due to the loss of estrogen, which is responsible for collagen and oil production (these keep skin plump and hydrated).
How can retinol help?
Retinol directly targets each side effect of skin aging: fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation (age spots), enlarged pores and uneven texture (dryness). It stimulates skin cell growth, enhancing cellular regeneration to help skin cells reproduce at optimal rates preventing the breakdown of collagen and elastin. With healthy collagen and elastin production levels, skin is more firm, plump and less likely to be dry (because environment and stress can always be factors).
Is it ever too late to start using it?
One of the reasons we have a huge crush on this ingredient is for its preventative and corrective abilities, cellular repair equals the ability to rewind signs of aging. So no, it’s never too late to incorporate retinol into your routine.
"My friend's mom's sister's aunt used retinol once and it made her skin freak out."
Depending on the severity of your skin concerns and what type of retinol you’re using, some can experience dryness, irritation and increased skin sensitivity. FYI, retinol is just one of the four types of Vitamin A, so if you’re not sure what kind of Vitamin A you’re using, check the label. The industry uses the word “retinol” as an umbrella term that is not inclusive of every type of Vitamin A, and each type has its own degree of potency. So, if you or someone you know has had a less-than-pleasant encounter with retinol, chances are there’s a different variety of Vitamin A that would work better with their specific skin concern. It can be confusing to say the least.
Which is why we created our own retinol molecule...
…and it’s pretty straightforward. It’s a 3-phase system and with each phase, the retinol concentration increases. And when I say “retinol”, I mean TriGLO™. She’s a retinol molecule we created that’s universally skin-friendly. And because skin has a chance to adjust to the levels of retinol in each phase, there are zero side effects. It’s just pure results.
How does it work?
Each phase comes in a separate bottle and you use each one until the product runs out (about 15 days). This way, skin has 2 weeks to experience each phase and ease into results. It’s the difference between training for a marathon and running it on your first day. Skin has to build endurance.
Does it matter when I use it?
Anything created to yield highly targeted results and cellular repair is best used at night. Our bodies go through a natural circadian rhythm while we sleep, it’s already in repair mode, so if you apply retinol and other targeted treatment products at night, you’ll get a higher return on your product investment as it’ll work in conjunction with the body’s natural repair cycle.
So, what are the portion sizes?
All retinols are not created equal. Retinoids, retinol and retin-A are three different forms of Vitamin A. Dosages are relative and should not be compared apples to apples. For example, 0.05% retinoic acid = 1% retinol. So, don’t ask what percentage, ask what KIND. Higher percentages do not equal higher efficacy. When in doubt, check the color – if it’s not yellow, it’s not working.
Do I use it on repeat forever?
R45 is designed as a booster system to integrate into your existing skincare routine 2-3x a year. We already have full routines, we didn’t want another product we had to do every single night, which is why we made sure TriGLO™ packed a punch (without feeling like it). Use it for 45 days whenever you feel like skin needs a pick me up, we like to boost about every 6 months. Don’t worry, the results don’t fade.