Is Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5 Refining Night Cream Worth The Splurge?

by Gio

skinceuticals 0 5 retinol refining night cream

Are you using retinol?

If yes, well done. If not, you totally should. Retinol is one of the best things you can use on your skin. A form of Vitamin A, it promotes cellular turnover, and increases the production of collagen, thus helping reduce the wrinkles you already have and prevent new ones from forming.

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.“ It reduces hyperpigmentation too.

What else does retinol do?

I’m not done. Retinol is wonderful for those of you who are cursed with oily or acne-prone skin. It helps treat acne and reduce the appearance of pores. Awesome, right?

How do you use retinol?

Did you know that retinol is effective at small concentrations, like 0.5%? That’s exactly how much Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5 Refining Night Cream contains. But don’t think you can slather three inches on your face and wake up with amazing skin.

Retinol, even in such small doses, is extremely powerful. Powerful ingredients can rejuvenate skin but can also irritate it. To prevent that, Skinceuticals recommend you use it once or twice a week at first, and then increase frequency gradually.

Idiot that I am, I used it every day for four days. Then, my skin started peeling and flaking pretty bad. A normal reaction to retinol. I thought I could get away with it because I’ve been using retinol for years, but the chilly London weather has been drying my skin pretty badly lately, making it more susceptible to the side effects of retinol.

So, I went back to the beginning. I’m using it twice a week, and increasing frequency slowly. Now, my skin is absolutely loving it. It didn’t make my wrinkles disappear, of course (retinol works, but slowly), but it made them that tiny bit smaller. My skin looks smoother and feels so much softer too.

What’s more is in Skinceuticals 0.5 Refining Night Cream?

But there’s a lot more than just retinol in Skinceuticals 0.5 Refining Night Cream. Shea butter is there to moisturize skin. Ceramides strengthen the skin’s protective barrier, preventing water loss, and keeping skin healthy and naturally moisturized.

Bisabobol soothes skin and calms down irritations. That’s good since retinol can cause them, especially in those with sensitive skin. There’s also a small bunch of antioxidants ( such as hypericum perforatum extract and silybum marianum fruit extract) to help fight the free radicals that cause aging. Although, I wish they had included more.

Fighting wrinkles in the short term

Retinol and antioxidants take their time to work. Several weeks, if not months. But your wrinkles look smaller straight away. How’s that?

Silicones. They form the base of Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5 Refining Night Cream. Silicones work by filling in fine lines and wrinkles, so they look smaller. But, of course, the effects are only temporary. Remove the silicones, and your wrinkles are still there.

But, at least, they don’t suffocate skin. Yes, really. Silicones have a special molecular structure, made of big molecules with wide spaces between them. That means the barrier they create still allows skin to perspire (not breathe; skin doesn’t have lungs. That’d just be weird).

The Details

So, now you know what’s in there and what it does. BUt what about all the other details – texture, scent, colour, packaging, etc – that can make a product a pleasure (or a nightmare) to use?

Well, Skinceuticals 0.5 Retinol Refining Night Cream is white in colour. The consistency is really nice. Not lightweight, but not thick. Something in between, and fast-absorbing too.

The scent? No artificial fragrance was added to it, so you just smell the ingredients. It’s not a particularly nice odour, but it doesn’t stink so bad to make me want to throw it out the window. It doesn’t linger too, so I’ll put up with it. Ah, the things I’ll do for retinol…

The packaging’s nice. It’s a tube, so it keeps the retinol stable and effective until every last drop’s been squeezed out of it.

Is it worth the splurge?

Skinceuticals 0.5 Refining Night Cream is a damn good cream. It’s packed with beneficial goodies and does what it claims (well, most of it. Marketing claims are always exaggerated). So if you want to splurge on it, you won’t be throwing your money away.

But there’s no reason to pay this much for retinol either. There are many cheaper products with it on the market, such as Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle Repair Retinol Serum.

Which one to get? It depends on what product works best for your skin, and how much you’re willing to spend. If money is not a concern for you, then yes, Skinceuticals 0.5 Retinol Refining Night Cream is worth it.

Water, Cyclomethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Laureth-4, Laureth-23, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ceramide 2, Ceramide 3, Phytosphingosine, Cholesterol, Hypericum Perforatum Extract, Propylene Glycol, Allyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Polysorbate 20, Retinol, BHT, Sodium Polyacrylate, Dimethicone PEG-7 Isostearate, Glycerin, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Bisabolol, Rosa Canina Leaf Extract, Silybum Marianum Fruit Extract, Passiflora Incarnata Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Leaf Extract, Citric Acid, Methylisothiazolinone, Tetrasodium EDTA

Pros: Contains retinol, which helps fight premature aging; Made my skin softer and smoother and my fine lines a bit smaller; Helps treat acne; Texture is lovely and absorbs quickly; Tube packaging keeps retinol stable and effective.

Cons: Can irritate skin and cause flaking if used too often; Scent isn’t very pleasant.

Summary: Skinceuticals 0.5 Retinol Refining Night Cream helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles, treat acne, and makes skin softer and smoother. It absorbs quickly, but the scent isn’t very pleasant. And the high concentration of retinol can irritate skin if used too often.

Price & Availability: $57.00 at Amazon and Dermstore

Rating: 4/5

Present from my friend Annette. Affiliate links.

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Janessa October 15, 2015 - 2:27 am

Skinceuticals products are expensive! Glad to hear this is worth getting. I have a lot of skincare products still to use and I like PC a lot because of the kinder prices. 😀

Gio October 15, 2015 - 7:57 am

Janessa, I love PC for the same reason too. But itìs good to know that if you feel like splurging on Skinceuticals, you’re getting your money’s worth. 🙂

Laurie October 15, 2015 - 2:06 pm

It is true that using retinol and an AHA or BHA in the same night is a very bad idea. I tried it a short time ago and got peeling, scaly patches on my skin. I stopped the whole regimen for a week to let it heal and resumed alternating them.

One question: is it better to use a higher strength retinol less often, or a lower strength retinol more often? I’m currently using Paula’s Choice Clinical 1%, and it’s so strong I can only use it three times a week. However, I wonder if I would get more benefit from a lower strength used more frequently, like Paula’s Retinol Serum, that I can use every other day or even every day. Any advice?

Gio October 15, 2015 - 8:16 pm

Laurie, oh no! How awful!

You know, I’ve been wondering the same, but haven’t found any study about it yet. Personally, though, I’d opt for a higher dose less frequently, and, on days when I’m not using retinol, I’d apply glycolic acid. That way you get the best of both worlds.

Laurie October 15, 2015 - 11:03 pm

That’s what I’ve been doing — retinol 3 times a week, AHA exfoliant on the other nights! It’s working well so far on my hyperpigmentation. Thanks for your help.

Gio October 16, 2015 - 5:45 am

My pleasure. Glad it’s working well. It’s a great regimen for hyperpigmentation.


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