IS IT REALLY A MIRACLE CREAM Get daily updates directly to your inbox+ SubscribeThank you for subscribing!Could not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailYOU might have heard of a Boots No7 product called Protect Perfect, which stormed the headlines recently.
Its magic anti ageing ingredient is retinol but is it right for everyone? We find out.What is retinol?'Retinol, retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate are all forms of vitamin A the term used to cover its various forms and strengths,' says Steve Barton, scientific advisor at Boots. 'Retinyl palmitate (the kind found in Boots Protect Perfect, 16.95) is the safest form, as it has the best tolerance and fewest side effects. Retinol is stronger so is more likely to cause reactions and is not suited to all skin types.'Retinoic acid is the active form of retinol, and actual retinoic acid creams are only available from a doctor or dermatologist. It's prescribed for serious skin conditions like acne but is also used as a potent treatment for skin ageing. 'Retinoic acid isn't allowed in over the counter beauty creams because, basically, it works too well,' explains Dr Mervyn Patterson, cosmetic dermatologist at Woodfood Medical. 'Once a product has been clinically tested and proven to be that effective, it's classed as a pharmaceutical, not a beauty product.' All the different forms of retinol convert into the active form (retinoic acid) when you put them on your skin,' explains Dr Patterson. 'However, products you buy over the counter only convert to a small amount of retinoic acid. They're not the same as putting prescription retinoic acid cream on your face.'What does retinol do?'Retinol has several effects,' says Dr Patterson. 'Firstly, it increases cell production in the top layer of skin, so it helps to pep up the skin. Cells look smoother and skin looks younger. It also has a positive effect on collagen production, because skin uses retinoic acid when it produces collagen. As a result, skin looks plumper. Also, it helps to reduce pigmentation that comes with sun damage.' However, the concentration of retinol in over the counter products is small, so you won't get miracles. The most visible results come from prescription strength retinoic acid.Is there a downside?Unfortunately, yes. 'A certain percentage of the population are very sensitive to retinol. It can cause cells to peel off and skin to appear dry, louis vuitton shoes usa red and flaky,' says Dr Patterson. 'However you're more likely to get a reaction from using prescription retinoic acid than an over the louis vuitton neverfull brown counter product. The latter don't have much retinol in them because if they did, more customers would get reactions and stop buying them. Some people are sensitive even to low levels of retinol but in reality, people can be allergic to anything, and it probably gets blamed more for louis vuitton bags review reactions to beauty creams more than it deserves.'What else do you need to do when using retinol?You need to remember that retinol even in over the counter creams leaves your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so you have to protect it more. Because the turnover of skin cells is higher, the cells at the surface are younger and more vulnerable to sun damage even if you haven't actually suffered an adverse reaction to the retinol. 'If you are using retinol products you should always wear a daily sunscreen,' says Dr Patterson. 'There would be no point getting the anti ageing benefits of a retinol cream, only to have them undone by sun damage. I don't think it matters whether you use a physical or chemical sun formula as long as it doesn't irritate your skin. You have to get into the habit of applying it regularly. Go for minimum SPF 25 as a daily protector in the UK, even if it's not sunny. My advice would be to use a retinol product at night as you then don't need to apply a sunscreen over the top of it, and it can work optimally on the skin. By day, wear an antioxidant moisturising cream (with vitamin C, for instance) plus a separate SPF25 on top.'What if you have sensitive skin?If you have sensitive skin but still want the benefits of retinol, Steve Barton suggests building up retinol use slowly to help skin to adapt. 'Use a retinol cream every third night for a week, then alternate nights for a week before going for nightly use,' he says. 'Look out for burning, stinging and skin peeling and don't carry on if these persist more than a day or two.'THE RETINOL LINE UPRetinol creams fall into two categories: those who will tell you how much they contain, and those who won't.Happy to chatMatis Caviar Retinol, 158One of the few companies happy to tell us how much retinol is in their product 10%, which they say is very high. It's the highest we found.MD Formulations VitAPlus Anti Aging Serum, 49.50Contains Alpha Retinyl Complex a combination of anti oxidants and retinol. The retinol makes up 2% of the formula.Avene Retrinal, from 20Contains retinaldehyde a derivative of retinol with smaller particles, absorbed more easily, so you need less. It comes in Low (0.025), Medium (0.05) and High (0.
1). Jane Lewis of SK:N says, 'It's on a par with the levels of efficacy of retinoic acid, but without the irritation.'Contains a fairly hefty louis vuitton purses for cheap 4% retinol, plus 5% each of vitamins C, E, F, H, and K, and it does say it's suitable for sensitive skins.
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