Easing into Retinol

It’s theorized that Retinol helps to promote the growth rate of healthy cells, thus making desquamation (the shedding of dead skin cells) more effective. Remember, as new skin cells grow and push towards the surface of the skin, dead skin cells are shed from the top layer. With healthy cells growing at a faster rate and old skin cells shed in an equally timely manner, the incidence of clogged pores and outbreaks decreases. Though the end result is the same, this is a slightly different mechanism by which chemical exfoliants like Salicylic Acid work.

You don’t have to become a vampire when you use Retinol, but you should use caution.

The same mechanism of Retinol’s effectiveness is also a potential source of irritation. It’s not uncommon to experience redness, irritation, tightness, or other adverse side effects while your skin adjusts to Retinol.

Why? Retinol may make your skin more vulnerable to sun damage, especially in the first few weeks of use. Even though it is proposed that Retinol works as a topical antioxidant, absorbing free radicals to protect your healthy cells from oxidative stress, it itself is not a UVA/B protectant. For this reason, we recommend being diligent about using sunscreen. Well, you should already apply sunscreen daily; just be extra diligent when easing into Retinol.

Retinol vs. Tretinoin
Retinol is a precursor to Tretinoin, often used to the same effect as Retinol. The use of either can lead to a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and an increase in the growth rate of healthy cells. While the exact mechanisms still need to be detailed by skincare scientists, Tretinoin is often regarded as being more potent than Retinol. But more potent also means a higher potential of irritation. We intentionally aimed for the milder (but still effective!) Retinol to make the ease into anti-aging skincare a bit easier on your skin.

Ease into Retinol in the evenings
If you’ve never used a Retinol product before, we urge you to exercise caution. In the first few weeks of your regimen, swap out the Repairing Night Cream for the Vital Morning Face Cream 4 out of the 7 days a week. We know this means missing out on some of the restorative benefits of the evening face cream, but it’s worth it in the long run. Once accustomed to Retinol, your skin will be able to reap all the benefits of the evening cream.

We use Retinol in our evening-only products. Most personalized regimens come with a dash of effective Retinol in the Repairing Night Cream; a few also get some Retinol in your Nourishing Eye Cream. (This isn’t to indicate that Retinol shouldn’t be used in eye creams, as some skincare myths perpetuate, only that some men simply don’t need it, so we don’t include it). Quick note: Geologie Retinol works overnight, but don’t expect to see results overnight. The positive skin effects are more gradual and of a different nature than those achieved by other topical ingredients.

To summarize, wear sunscreen and have patience. The results are worth the wait.

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