“What’s the best product to reduce wrinkles, Gio?”
I get this question ALL the time. As soon as I mention I’m a skincare junkie, everyone wants to know my anti-aging secrets.
My answer? Retinol (or any other form of vitamin A. It just happens that retinol is the most common). You can recognize a retinol face a mile off. It looks smoother, brighter and younger than its real age.
Retinol is SO good, once you’ve dipped your face in it for the first time, you’ll want to meet its siblings, too. Because, why stick to just one form of vitamin A when you can use two or three?
One word: irritation. Retinol is strong and strong in skincare often translates into dryness and flakiness. But, if your skin is already used to retinol and rarely throws a sensitive tantrum like mine, after a while you can indeed venture out into more advanced territory with a cream or serum that has more than one form of vitamin A.
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% is the most popular option. It features both microencapsulated retinol and hydroxypinacolone retinoate, the new vitamin A kid on the antiaging block.
Indeed Retinol Reface goes a step further: it features both retinol and hydroxypinacolone retinoate and palmitoyl oligopeptide, a retinol-like peptide. Should you make the switch?
The main difference between The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% and Indeed Retinol Reface? The way retinol is delivered.
The Ordinary uses a time-released technology that delivers retinol into your skin over a period of several hours. The retinol in the Indeed serum, on the other hand, hits your face all at once.
Both delivery systems are equally effective, but The Ordinary’s approach is more gentle on the skin. Time-released retinol is, sometimes, gentle enough for sensitive skin. Normal retinol, like Indeed uses, isn’t. If your skin’s sensitive, The Ordinary is the way to go. Otherwise, keep reading.
Retinol, like all forms of vitamin A, does wonders for your skin:
- It fights free radicals, preventing new wrinkles from forming
- It speeds up cellular turnover, helping to fade away wrinkles and dark spots faster
- It boosts the production of collagen, keeping your skin firm
- It helps treat acne
Basically, you’ll age better if you use it.
Hydroxypinacolone retinoate is an ester of all-trans direct retinoic acid. That’s scientific jargon to say that, unlike all other forms of vitamin A, hydroxypinacolone retinoate doesn’t need to be converted into retinoic acid into the skin to be effective. It works as is.
The company that makes it say that it’s just as good at treating wrinkles, dark spots and acne as all other forms of vitamin A are – but, without the irritation they usually cause.
I don’t know about that. I haven’t found any studies yet that confirm hydroxypinacolone retinoate works for dark spots and wrinkles (it doesn’t mean it doesn’t, just that we don’t have proof, yet). But, I’ve found a study that supports the acne-fighting claim.
I do believe that hydroxypinacolone retinoate helps treat wrinkles and dark spots simply because all forms of vitamin A do – to some extent. The only question is, does it do it better than other forms, such as retinol or retinyl palmitate? The jury’s still out on this.
Palmitoyl Oligopeptide is a retinol-like peptide I was telling you about earlier. When I say retinol-like, I don’t mean to say it’s derived from retinol (this stuff is made with palmitic acid and several amino acids, including alanine, aspartic acid, glycine and lysine).
No, I mean it has the same benefits as retinol but without the irritating side effects. Studies show that palmitoyl oligopeptide boosts the production of collagen, helping to keep skin firm and wrinkle-free.
We have no idea how it works. Peptides shouldn’t. They’re too big to penetrate the skin. The latest theory believes they act as messangers: they sit comfortably on the surface of the skin, sending messages to skin cells to trigger the production of more collagen and do their jobs more effectively.
What Else Is (And Isn’t) In Indeed Retinol Reface?
In are silicones. OTC vitamin A works – slowly. In the meantime, the silicones in the formula fill in your fine lines and wrinkles, helping them look smaller.
(By the way, silicones don’t suffocate skin: they have a peculiar molecular structure with wide spaces between each molecule, creating a protective barrier that allows skin to perspire).
Out are soothing agents. As I’ve mentioned I don’t know how many times on this blog, retinol is harsh. It can easily irritate skin and make it flake, if you’re not used to it. Adding some soothing agents, like allantoin and oats, to the formula would help keep these side effects at bay.
Let’s Put It To The Test: Personal Use And Opinion
Indeed Retinol Reface is a cream but I use it as a serum. I cleanse my skin, put it on and finish off with a facial oil.
It’s not emollient enough on its own. It works well on my oily t-zone, but my cheeks always feel dry when I use the cream alone. Some skin types need the extra moisturizing help to make retinol work for them.
Its lightweight texture sinks immediately into my skin without leaving any greasy residue behind. Within a couple of weeks, it made my skin clearer and brighter. My fine lines look a bit smaller, too.
But, be careful. Indeed Retinol Reface isn’t for newbies. I wouldn’t recommend this to those of you who are looking for your first retinol product. Start with a smaller concentration of retinoids and work your way up slowly (check out what strength of retinol you should use at each stage + where to find it here).
The lightweight texture and the addition of acne-fighting hydroxypinacolone retinoate make it more suitable for oily than dry skin (unless you’re willing to use it as a serum, like I do on my dry cheeks). For sensitive skin, this is a no go.