Every month, we’ll talk about individual skincare ingredients, the hardworking heroes of our most beloved formulations and rituals.
Introducing our first hero feature: retinol!
FIRST, A PRIMER
In 1971, a dermatologist discovered Tretinoin (or, Retinoic Acid) for the treatment of acne—it was branded as Retin-A, and touted as a miracle worker, not just for acne-prone skin, but for aging skin, too. Word traveled fast: slather that magic on at night and you could treat acne, prevent dullness, promote firmness, minimize fine lines and wrinkles, and emerge with glowier, smoother skin.
Now, retinol is often used as a catchall term for products containing a vitamin A derivative—with a wide spectrum of variations on the market. Clean beauty lines are offering some of the best formulas out there right now—sans fillers and toxins—and without many of the unwanted (but common) side effects like redness, tightness, dryness, and sensitivity.
The best formulations will increase collagen production and increase the rate of skin cell turnover for fresh, luminous skin; they’ll also keep acne, blackheads, and clogged pores at bay, improving overall texture, tone, and elasticity.
CONVENTIONAL VERSUS CLEAN
Conventional retinoids like prescription tretinoin can cause serious sun sensitivity if you don’t apply them only at night or you don’t wear SPF during the day. In addition, many conventional prescription and non-prescription retinoids are stabilized with icky toxic preservatives, including parabens and BHT. It’s rare to see transparency around BHT in retinoids in conventional beauty products, and often, even the raw-material suppliers don’t know whether their retinols contain BHT—this means it could be missing from ingredient labels even when it’s present, even if you’re an obsessive label reader!
Clean retinols insist on transparency and BHT-free formulations, often from botanical sources with a high retinol content. For example, rose hips, carrot oil, and sea buckthorn are rich in vitamin A; bakuchiol is a chemical (called meroterpene phenol) present in the leaves and seeds of the herbaceous plant babchi that improves dark spots and boosts firmness.
WHAT WE LOVE
Lauren from our social media team is using Marie Veronique’s Treatment Retinol Serum. “I think it helps keep my hormonal acne at bay, and even when I first started using it, it never caused any of the redness or irritation of non-clean retinols I have tried in the past.”
Amanda, Vert co-founder, plays with a few different products she loves. “I’ve been using the Josh Rosebrook Active Infusion Oil. It is a Vitamin C + A blend with plant based retinoids and mushroom extract—it’s a mellow, everyday product that really works. When my skin is more sensitive or reactive, I’ll use the Marie Veronique Treatment Retinol 2-3 times a week as my skin adjusts. BLUH ALCHEMY’S Botanic-Retinol Cell Renewal Concentrate is lovely, loaded with bakuchiol and ceramides with a pretty color and blue tansy scent. Maya Chia’s The Straight A is super powerful and effective. A lot of people—staff and customers alike—love Herbivore’s Bakuchiol Oil for it’s lighter, jelly-like texture. It’s great for younger skin as a preventative measure, or for sensitive skin, too.”
If you’re looking for a clean retinol, come into our store or shop virtually with us via the chat option on our homepage, and we’ll help you find your personalized, perfect match.