Retinols and the Facts

Retinols and the Facts

Retinols is the ‘in’ word in skincare at the moment (although I have been using these in treatments and has been in clinical Dermaquest products for more than 15 years!) and it can be difficult to tell the facts from the hype.

Initially, pure retinoids were prescription only (and Retinoic acid is still only available from Dermatologists) and they were used for a variety of skin conditions and their use has been well documented and researched.

Vitamin A (from which most retinoids come from) was originally used in it’s pure state and needed to be carefully used as in it’s strongest forms it can have some downsides.  It can cause severe peeling and drying and a form of eczema can occur as a result.  It is untrue that it makes the skin thinner and therefore very sun sensitive (indeed if used correctly it will stimulate cell renewal and thicken and strengthen thinning ageing skin) but it is recommended as largely night-time only as it’s efficacy can be reduced in sunlight (hence stronger preparations are in dark glass or opaque containers for this reason).  But like most ‘exfoliating agents’, such as glycolic etc, it is always recommended a good sunscreen is used when this is part of your skincare regimen.

Many over the counter products use low doses of retinols to avoid skin reactions, but sometimes reading the ingredients can be confusing (and very misleading).  As a result, I have seen clients that have been using these and are either disappointed with the results and have given up or over react to the product and then think there are ‘allergic’ when it is just not the right product for them.

Product Ranges

Clinical ranges will often either be stronger or they will most commonly be a concoction that includes other ingredients to get the benefits without the problems ,and work to compliment and enhance the results.  This will give more even and more visible results.

Below is a summary and pertinent points on some (not all, we have an extensive range!) of the products we use, and some offers.  One important fact which is true of any retinol (unlike glycolic AHAs and BHAs where results are seen faster) is it will take a minimum of 8-16 weeks to see any visible difference (so patience is vital).  One exception to this being the r-Retinoate from Medik8 which can have a visible effect in less than a month, but comes with a hefty price tag!


Retinol Peptide Youth Serum £76

2% retinol, but also includes stem cells and BV-OSC ,a patented formula of a stable, potent vitamin C.

For deeper thicker lines and wrinkles and rough textured skin, helping with photo-aging. NOT an all year round product but maybe a course 1-2 times yearly.


Retinol Brightening Serum £78

2% retinol, including stem cells and Shiitake mushroom extract (which is a natural skin brightener).

Great for sundamage, dark spots and pigmentation marks caused by acne.  NOT an all year round product but a 8-10 week course initially.


Retinaldehyde (from the sensitive range)  £72

0.05% Retinol plus Bakuchiol (a natural form of Vitamin A) plus calming stem cells. Ideal for skins sensitive to stronger retinols, or glycolic, salicylic including younger skins, roscacea, etc as it contains SEPTICALM (a patented stem cell) that calms the skin.

It improves skin tone and texture, light early pigmentation, and pigmentation from spots etc.  Can be used ALL YEAR ROUND.


Retexture serum £70

3.5% Glycolic, 1% retinol, and stem cells.  Targets lines and wrinkles as well as sundamage.  Helps to strengthen the dermal layers.  Can feel quite strong so a once a year course is usually sufficient.



r -Retinoate   £135  
Eye Serum £90 (we retail all the time at £125 and £85 respectively)

These both seem eye wateringly expensive.  However this is a ground breaking patented formula unlike any other on the market.  Also, the face serum is 50ml (most other products are 30ml) and the eye serum is 30ml (most others eye serums are 15ml) so not quite as expensive as it first seems.  Many clients are using this not only as it shows much faster results (within days the skin feels s0fter and smoother) but can be used day and/or  night and even the most sensitive skins can use it.

The formulation has an 8 TIMES stronger effect than an average medik8 retinol making it one of the most effective, but no downtime.

The eye serum also removes the need to use the Retinol eye TR from Medik8 at night, along with a moisturiser.  This does BOTH.



We also have some other very useful retinol based products such as ;

MINI PUMPKIN MASK £29 (a natural source of Vitamin A)

This has 3% Lactic acid, 4% Mandelic Acid and 45% pumpkin pulp.  An amazing at home product, and a tube lasts for ages.  A must for any home regime and brilliant used before a Clinicare Glow or Tight mask.


Medik8 also do a huge range of pure retinols from 0.03% upwards, (no other ingredients in these so moisturiser needs to be thought out carefully with these.  Otherwise drying may be an issue.


I hope this goes some way to help get through the immense data on retinols, and as always I am very happy to discuss what is best for you.  And in many cases I have samples for you to try.  Also unlike many other distributors of products, if you experience any problems with a purchase we have a no quibble returns policy should that occur.  We just want happy clients, with great skins!!


There is already a discount on the r-retinoate but any other retinol serum purchased until the end of November will have a 15% discount applied but as some of the companies used (such as Dermaquest, Cebelia etc) require a specific consultation prior to using this will have to be ordered by phone so that I can check it is the right one for you and give clear instructions on it’s use, and for how long etc.