We all have a fair idea of what cleansers, toners and moisturisers do...but what about these new products that keep appearing? Retinol, Vitamin C , Vitamin E, Vitamin B....I'm not sure about you guys, but I was relatively clueless about these until lately. I had no idea what did what, or whereabouts they were meant to go on my face- but I've sussed it out now, so I can share! As usual, I've phrased it in the least confusing way imaginable, with minimal scientific jargon. Let's go!
What on earth is retinol?
Believe it or not, retinol is a form of Vitamin A! It's basically the most pure form of Vitamin A available, and one of the best things you can put on your face. given that it's a potent antioxidant.
What does retinol do?
I really just want to say that it does wondrous things, and leave it at that- but I'll go into more detail. Retinol generates cell growth, repairs damaged cells, protects your skin from free radicals, and reduces sebum activity. If you're not sure what all that means (I wasn't, initially), it means that it improves your skin's texture, lessens fine lines and wrinkles, minimises pores, soothes redness and dryness...and lessens acne. Impressive, right? I'm impressed, and I can vouch for my skin's texture being vastly improved- and it's not dry in the slightest. I've yet to see a difference in my despised fine lines, but given how wonderfully it's worked on the rest of my skin dramas, I have high hopes.
How do I use it?
Carefully- you should use it carefully. Don't let this scare you, because I'll explain- and I am loving the SkinMedica Retinol Complex 1.0 so far. As I've said, retinol is extremely potent (a good thing!), so you'll need to give your skin some time to get use to it. Experts recommend using it every third night for the first two weeks, after cleansing and toning and before moisturising. You may experience a little redness/dryness at first- this is normal. After two weeks, if your skin is coping, amp it up to every second night...and soon you'll be able to use it every night. I wait a good 15/20 minutes after cleansing and only use a tiny pea sized amount over my whole face, definitely don't be tempted to use more because it is STRONG. Be sure to only apply it at night, because the ingredient IS sun-sensitive; but don't fret- this will not make you burn the next day (a popular myth about retinol). It's not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or those with ultra sensitive skin. Everyone else- get it on your face, it's a goody!
What will Vitamin C do for my skin?
Vitamin C is a ridiculously powerful antioxidant that can slow down the aging process by preventing free radical damage. If you use it for a long period of time (I'm talking 6 months+), it has been clinically proven to regenerate collagen and improve the appearance of fine lines. It also lightens pigmentation, and brightens your skin tone- whooop! I love this ingredient a lot.
What will Vitamin E do for my skin?
Vitamin E does much of what Vitamin C does, but it's definitely a lot more common to find in cosmetic products these days. It's another antioxidant that fights free radical damage caused by UVA rays, and it's excellent at repairing damaged skin cells. It is used to restore collagen, fade pigment, and can heal scarring.
How should I use this product?
This product is bringing me much joy at the moment- and not only for it actually combining both Vitamin C and Vitamin E ((my love affair with multipurpose products continues). I use this product every morning after cleansing and toning, and before moisturising. It has quite a high level of Vitamin C (15%), so it's best to go slowly at first. When I first started using it (every second day), I experienced a TINY bit of stinginess on my forehead, but this only lasted a few seconds, and didn't worry me. I assume this was due to the high level of Vitamin C, but I'm one of those people who like to throw themselves in at the deep end- and it's great now!
I've still got a few months to go before I can properly report on how the Vitamin C+E Complex is affecting my skin in the long term. However, what I CAN say now is that my skin feels and looks amazing. I have had ONE pimple in the 3 months that I've been using the above products, and while I'm not prone to acne, I'd generally get far more. My makeup glides on, and lasts longer, and I have glowy skin whether I want to or not. I'm not complaining! These products are brilliant so far, and I'm so excited to see what improvements will come in the next few months. I'm basically sold already on how good my skin feels now- I'm a fan!
To find stockists of this ridiculously awesome brand, call 0800 238 754