Retinol 101

Retinol and its family of retinoids are revered as some of the most effective skincare ingredients available. These Vitamin A derivatives offer a multitude of benefits from anti-ageing to acne...

Retinol 101

Retinol and its family of retinoids are revered as some of the most effective skincare ingredients available. These Vitamin A derivatives offer a multitude of benefits from anti-ageing to acne treatment. 

What are Retinoids? 

Retinoids encompass a group of compounds derived from Vitamin A. The primary forms used in skincare include retinol, rentinaldehyde and retinoic acid (tretinoin). These molecules are vital for cellular growth and differentiation, making them powerful tools for skin rejuvenation. 

How Retinoids work

Cellular Mechanisms 

1. Cell Turnover & Exfoliation: Retinoids accelerate the rate at which skin cells divide and shed. By binding to retioic acid receptors (RARs) in the skin, they promote the formation of new cells and the shedding of old, damaged ones. This process, known as cell turnover, results in smoother, more radiant skin. 

2. Collagen Production: Collagen is a structural protein that keeps skin firm and elastic. Retinoids stimulate fibroblasts in the dermis to produce more collagen. They inhibit collagenase, an enzyme that breaks down collagen, thus maintaining the skin's structural integrity and reducing wrinkles and fine lines. 

Chemical Interactions 

1. Gene Expression: Retinoids influence the expression of genes involved in cellular differentiation and proliferation. By activating RARs, they modulate the transcription of genes that control cell growth and differentiation, which is crucial for maintaining healthy skin. 

2. Anti-oxidant Properties: Some retinoids, particularly retinol, have anti-oxidant capabilities. They neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause oxidative stress and damage skin cells. This helps in preventing premature ageing. 

Benefits of Retinoids 

1. Anti-Ageing

Mechanism: By promoting collagen synthesis and inhibiting its breakdown, retinoids help in maintaining the skin's structural framework. 

Result: Reduced appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and improved skin elasticity. 

2. Acne Treatment 

Mechanism: Retinoids prevent the formation of comedones (clogged pores) by promoting cell turnover and reducing the cohesion of follicular epithelial cells. They also possess anti-inflammatory properties. 

Result: clearer skin with fewer breakouts and reduced acne scars. 

3. Hyperpigmentation 

Mechanism: Retinoids enhance the dispersal of melanin granules within the skin cells, accelerating the turnover of pigmented cells. 

Result: Even skin tone and reduced dark spots.

Types of Retinoids 

1. Retinol 

The most commonly used OTC retinoid. It undergoes two conversion steps (to retinaldehyde and then to retinoic acid) in the skin to become active. 

Potency: lower compared to other retinoids, making it suitable for sensitive skin or beginners. 

2. Retinaldehyde 

A step closer to retinoic acid in the metabolic pathway, requiring only one conversion step.

Potency: more potent than retinol but less irritating than retinoic acid. 

3. Retinoic Acid (Tretinoin) 

The active form of Vitamin A, available by prescription. It does not require conversion and is immediately effective upon application. 

Potency: highly potent with a higher risk of irritation, suitable for severe skin concerns and experienced users. 

4. Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate 

Also known as HPR or Granactive Retinoid is a 4th generation of retinoids. It is oil soluble and quick absorbing. It is the only one, apart from Tretinoin or Retinoic Acid, that does not need to go through any metabolic changes before it can be effective. It binds directly onto the retinoid receptors of the skin cells. 

What does it do? 

1. Inhibits collagen-destroying enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs).

2. Boosts the skin's own collagen synthesis (type I & III). 

3. Stimulates natural moisturising factor Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and skin protein filaggrin. 

4. Thickens the epidermis and compacts the outermost layer of the skin. 

5. Reduces sebum production so great for acne-prone skin - though it is important to replenish the lipid barrier which is why we use hemi-squalane which is a wonderful saturated, plant-sourced fat. 

How to use Retinoids 

1. Start Slowly: Begin with a lower concentration to allow your skin to acclimate. 

2. Use at night: This is for two reasons, firstly, skin regenerates at night. Secondly, Retinol/Retinoids are light sensitive meaning they are broken down by UV light. 

3. Moisturise: Retinoids can cause dryness and irritation. Use a hydrating moisturiser to mitigate these effects. 

4. Sun Protection: Retinoids increase skin sensitivity. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily to protect your skin. 

Have you tried our Super R Retinoid Capsules?  

Our Super R Retinoid Capsules are a powerful yet non-sensitising retinol treatment serum which can be used nightly due to the type of retinoid we use. It contains 0.5% Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate HPR which provides unrivalled skin health benefits including wrinkle, dark spot and acne reduction whilst creating little irritation to the skin. 

What makes our Super R unique:  

  • Encapsulated to protect from light and air.
  • Suitable for all skin types. 
  • Single dose.
  • Gentle formula for sensitive skin.
  • Helps regulate excess sebum production for clearer skin.
  • Oil soluble: penetrates quickly whilst re-enforcing barrier function.
  • Bio-degradable, compostable capsules.

    Key Ingredients in our Super R 

    0.5% of Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, a fourth-generation Retinoid, provides unrivalled skin health benefits, including wrinkle, dark spot and acne reduction. It is oil soluble so absorbs very quickly and the only retinoid apart from Tretinoin or Retinoid Acid that does not need to go through any metabolic changes before it can be effective. It binds directly onto the retinoid receptors of the skin cells. 0.5% is the maximum level allowed under EU legislation for cosmetic products.

    Pro-Vitamin D3, a naturally-occurring active essential for the synthesis of Vitamin D, supports skin health.

    Encapsulated Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, a super-charged, stable and oil-soluble, form of Vitamin C, penetrates deeply to visibly firm and brighten.

    Turmeric heightens skin radiance and tone.

    Defiensil™, rich in Omega 3, soothes and calms.

    Alaria Esculenta and Rosamox™ firm and hydrate.

    Encapsulated Co-Enzyme Q10 & Vitamin E provide anti-oxidant and anti-glycation protection.

    Hemi-Squalane - plant derived, saturated fat that restores the lipid barrier, balances the skin’s natural oils and improves hydration and smoothness. Saturated oils have single bonds within their fatty acid chains, which makes them more stable and resistant to free-radical attack.

    Discover more about the special ingredients we use in our products here.

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