Magazines rave about how retinols are a "must-have" anti-ager, so why don't I carry one in my shop? Read on to find out.
First, it's important to understand that I'm not anti-retinol. I think they're great when used appropriately. My problem is advising that all people get on a retinol. Every face is different, every woman's concerns are different, and the way we approach their skin must also take their unique concerns into account.
One thing you need to understand (and I'll explore this further in a later post) is that most beauty trends are revolving. They're rarely new. Dermaplaning, microblading, and, now, retinol, all experience peaks of excitement and then fade into obscurity for a bit, only to come back, rebranded like it's some new discovery. The doctor who created Epionce, a line I carry, often says of retinol that he was prescribing that in the 90's, and he's found ingredients that do a similar job better now.
The big problem with retinol is that a poor formulation of it can cause inflammation, which is the ultimate cause of aging. Not everybody can tolerate retinol for this reason. In fact, a kerolytic (exfoliating) retinol absolutely will dance that line of inflammation. We also have many other ways to slow down the signs of aging now, and, depending on your unique concerns, there may be other alternatives out there that better address the issue.
I've decided to not carry a retinol because the Lytic treatments from Epionce as well as the Active Serum from iS Clinical that I carry do exactly what I would want a retinol to do, but without the inflammation. They exfoliate, smooth, brighten, and encourage the skin to regenerate (a process that slows down with age), and they don't irritate the skin. They also have solid clinical studies to back this up. So, in my shop, a client doesn't need retinol.
My perspective as a skincare expert is very different one from a magazine editor's. Their job is to find the next big thing, while mine is to just match the best treatments to my client's needs, and I haven't discovered a need for it. And that's why I haven't brought a retinol into my lineup.
As I've said, I don't have anything against retinol. I've used them in the past, and I still to try them out to compare to the products I carry (it's my job to stay informed, after all). I know from personal experience that a well-formulated, high quality retinol is great, but, because I specialize in effective anti-aging for sensitive skin, it's not my appropriate for my practice.
And this is why a well-informed, educated esthetician can be invaluable in helping you choose the best products for you.