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Retinoids – The Superhero Ingredient You Have Been Waiting For

Retinoids are one of the most studied ingredients in the skincare industry and often considered to be the gold standard for many skin concerns such as premature aging, dark spots, and uneven texture. Whether you are a skincare minimalist, essentialist, or enthusiast, a balanced retinoid formulation will more than likely be in your arsenal.

What are the benefits of using a retinoid? Retinoids work by encouraging cellular turnover, which in turn promotes the production of collagen and elastin. Increased collagen and elastin reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Other benefits include reduced inflammation and unclogging blocked pores making it great for acne prone skin as well as the healthy aging journey.

It’s important to understand there are several forms of retinoids and each will penetrate the skin differently. For the skin to be able to utilize a topical retinoid it must first be converted to retinoic acid. The type of retinoid will dictate the conversion steps necessary to penetrate the skin. For example there is prescription strength Tretinoin that is retinoic acid, then there is retinal (retinaldehyde) that takes one conversion step to retinoic acid followed by retinol that takes two conversion steps to retinoic acid. Lastly, there are retinol esters that take three plus conversion steps. The latter work more as an antioxidant to the skin and do not penetrate as deeply.

Key points to remember when incorporating a retinoid:

- If you are new to retinoids it is best to ease into using them. Start with using them one to two times a week in the evening for two weeks. Then work up to every other night for two weeks, eventually working up to every night. You may notice some flaking and mild sensitivity while the skin adjusts. Consistent application is key, however, if you need to cut back to remain comfortable you will still benefit from the results.

- They are best applied at night when the skin is recovering and regenerating itself.

- You MUST wear SPF every day! Retinoids are pushing up fresh new skin and protection is key.

- Retinoids provide long term results. You will notice a difference in the skin after a few weeks of use, and even more so after a few months of use. As much as we wish collagen and elastin could be produced over night, good things take time.

- If you are pregnant or nursing retinoids are on the do not use list. Have no fear though, our Facial in a Bottle Serum (link) is pregnancy safe and has a retinoid alternative called Bakuchiol that has been known to yield similar results in a more gentle manner.

- If you receive facial waxing be sure to stop your retinoids a minimum of 72 hours before waxing and wait to use again until the delicate skin has healed.

At Sorella Apothecary we recently launched Resurfacing Elixir Serum that contains potent retinaldehyde paired with corrective ingredients to turn back time. Want to take it to the next level? Visit our spa locator to find an esthetician near you and call to book The Boost. The Boost is a professional only treatment that will jumpstart your skincare journey into the world of retinoids.