Name: Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum
Brand: Paula’s Choice
From Paula’s Choice’s website:
Effective for: Acne Breakouts, Anti-Aging, Brown Spots, Redness, Rosacea, Wrinkles
Supercharged blend of retinol and antioxidants help skin look and act younger
Repairs wrinkles and sun damage
Builds skin-firming collagen
Reduces dark spots
Anti-irritants reduce redness and soothe sensitive skin
Helps fade red marks from past breakouts
100% fragrance free, no added dyes
What I liked:
– loaded with retinol and antioxidants, it helps prevents and fight the signs of aging
– it makes skin look smoother, even-toned and firmer
– the packaging will preserve the formula and prevent the antioxidants from oxidation
– didn’t irritate my skin
– didn’t make my skin break out
What I didn’t like:
– leaves skin feeling greasy and shiny for a couple of minutes before it completely sinks in
– may be too emollient for those with oily skin
– if you’re new to retinol, don’t use it too often or it may irritate your skin
Paula’s Choice, created by skincare guru Paula Begoun, is one of my favourite skincare brands. I love the no-nonsense attitude, the use of active ingredients whose efficacy is backed up by scientific studies and the attention to the packaging, which is designed to be not just appealing to the eye, but also to preserve the formula so that it won’t spoil over time. They focus on making products that work and educating consumers about skincare rather than using flowery and over-the-top marketing language that doesn’t mean anything to make their products sound better than they are. Isn’t that refreshing?
So, when they contacted me to ask if I wanted to try some of their products, I eagerly said yes. One of the products I received is the Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum, a night-time serum chock-full of antioxidants, anti-irritants and retinol (of course!) that promises to repair wrinkles and sun damage and reduce dark spots. And it actually delivers. Of course, this is not a miracle product. There’s not such thing as Botox in a jar or anything like that, but this is one of the best formulas I’ve come across to slowly reduce and prevent the signs of aging. How does it do that?
Retinol, an anti-aging superstar
Retinol, a form of Vitamin A, is one of the very few ingredients that’s proven to be effective, even in small concentrations, at treating the signs of aging. A 2007 study, conducted on 36 elderly people, found that a topical 0.4% retinol lotion applied up to 3 times a week for 24 weeks “improves fine wrinkles associated with natural aging“. In addition, retinol has antioxidant properties that help prevent further damage. Retinol can stimulate collagen production, which leads to firmer skin, and speed up cellular turnover, which helps treat discolorations. Like that weren’t enough, it is also an effective treatment for acne.
But retinol isn’t without side effects. It can be irritating (especially for those with sensitive skin), causing redness and peeling, which is why new users are recommended to apply it only every other day (or night, in this case). Once your skin has become used to it, you can gradually increase frequency to every night. Retinol can also make skin more sensitive to the sun, which is why it should be used at night only.
Retinol is supported by a network of antioxidants
As wonderful as retinol is, your skin needs more than that to look its best. Using retinol, together with a bunch of antioxidants, such as Vitamins C and E, will give you much better results. The form of Vitamin C used in this serum is tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. Stable and oil-soluble, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, which can penetrate directly into the epidermis (the uppermost layer of skin) and dermis (the deepest layer of skin), stimulates collagen production. The serum also contains tocotrienols and tocopherol, both of which are forms of Vitamin E. Vitamin E helps protect the skin from sun damage, and prevent the signs of aging, including sun spots.
When used together, Vitamins C and E enhance each other’s effectiveness, as well as the photoprotective properties of sunscreens. They work even better when used with retinol. A 2001 study has found that “vitamins A and E appear complementary in preventing UV-induced deleterious cutaneous and systemic effects”. Of course this doesn’t mean that you can skip the sunscreen. There’s only so much these ingredients, however beneficial they may be, can do if you insist on tanning and exposing your skin to the harmful sun rays.
It also has soothing properties
As a mentioned above, retinol can be irritating when you first start to use it. To minimize the risk of any side effects, this serum also contains bisabobol, an alcohol compound derived from chamomile, and avena sativa (oat) kernel oil, both of which have soothing and anti-irritating properties. Bisabobol also helps other ingredients better peentrate into the skin.
Silicones: misunderstood and non-comedogenic
This serum is silicones-based. Silicones allow a product to spread more easily on the skin, temporarily fill in fine lines and wrinkles, make skin feel silky soft to the touch and create a protective barrier that binds water in. This protective barrier is, however, breatheble. That’s because their structure is made up of larger molecules with wider spaces between each molecule, allowing the active ingredients to penetrate the skin. Other ingredients, though, remain on the surface and can be trapped under this protective barrier. That’s why silicones, on their own, aren’t comedogenic, but can help cause breakouts when used with ingredients that are.
Are you still with me? Good, because it’s finally time to reveal what this serum did for my skin. The serum has a gel-like consistency that almost reminds me of that of an oil, because it is a bit greasy and leaves my skin looking shiny for a couple of minutes. After that, it gets completely absorbed by the skin. Within a week, I already saw the first results. My skin looked smoother, plumper, more even-toned and a tad firmer. Even the pores on my oily t-zone look just a tiny bit smaller. I can’t say that I’ve seen any significant reduction of the few fine lines I have, but then I’ve only been using the serum for a month.
Retinol works, but it works slowly. I’m confident that, with regular use, I will see further improvements. In addition, this serum didn’t irritate my skin at all (but then my skin can tolerate retinol pretty well) and it didn’t make me breakout either. However, those with oily skin may find it is too emollient for them. If you’re still interested in trying it, I’d recommend you get a sample to see how it works for you. Overall, I’m very impressed with this serum and I’d definitely buy another bottle when this one runs out.
Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol (silicone slip agents/suspending agents), Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate (skin-conditioning agent), Dicaprylyl Carbonate (emollient), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin-repairing ingredient), Phenyl Trimethicone (silicone slip agent), Squalane (emollient), Bisabolol (anti-irritant), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (stabilized vitamin C/antioxidant), Retinol (cell-communicating ingredient/antioxidant), Tocotrienols (vitamin E-based antioxidant), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), Lecithin (cell-communicating ingredient), Laminaria Ochroleuca (Kelp) Extract (anti-irritant), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil (anti-irritant), Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil (skin-repairing ingredient), Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (licorice-derived anti-irritant), Hexylene Glycol (slip agent), Caprylyl Glycol (emollient), Ethylhexylglycerin (skin-conditioning agent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).
Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum has an emollient texture that feels greasy and looks shiny for only a couple of minutes, before sinking into the skin. Loaded with antioxidants, retinol and anti-irritants, the serum can boost collagen production, help prevent and fight the signs of aging, reduce discolorations and treat acne breakouts. As a result, skin looks smoother, firmer and younger.