Is the anti-aging ingredient retinol worth all the hype? You better believe it!
One of the most potent anti-agers on the market was discovered by accident. Twenty-five years ago, dermatologists noticed that retinol, an acne treatment, also reduced fine lines, refined large pores and reversed sun damage. But there was a catch: The vitamin-A derivative also irritated skin, causing dryness and redness. As a result, many women were reluctant to add it to their skin-care regimens.
Today, however, retinol comes in a variety of formulations and strengths, so you can get the benefits without the irritation, says Dr. Paul Cohen, a dermatologist at Rosedale Dermatology Centre in Toronto. "The industry has come a long way," he says. Here's how you can take advantage of modern retinol.
Retinoid: A vitamin-A derivative available only by prescription.
Retinol: An over-the-counter derivative of vitamin A, found in concentrations of up to one percent.
Microencapsulation: This delayed-release delivery can help prevent skin irritation.
"Skin has its own natural renewal process, but as we age, skin renews itself less often," explains Dr. Cohen. "This results in the early signs of aging," including fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage. Vitamin A, either in an over-the-counter retinol or a a prescription retinoid, works by "stimulating cell turnover to help skin repair itself," says Dr. Cohen. The result: diminished fine lines and wrinkles, a more even skin tone and a finer texture.
Finding your formulation
Retinol is available in cream, gel and serum form. Whichever you choose, consider the overall strength of the product. For over-the-counter retinol, one percent is the highest strength allowed by Health Canada, but stronger isn't always better. "You don't necessarily have to go to that one-percent level in order to reach the results you want," says Kirk Brierley of RoC Skincare. If you're concerned about sensitivity, consider a lower strength that will deliver retinol to the skin in a more gentle manner. You can also try microencapsulated retinol, which is gradually released into the skin.
The perfect application
The best time to apply retinol will depend on the product. Serums should be applied immediately after cleansing, and creams after serum. Dr. Cohen recommends using a pea-size amount of retinol every other night to start, and eventually upping application to every night. "If your face gets red and itchy, or if it peels or burns, skip retinol for a day or two," he says. You can also apply a layer of moisturizer before your retinol; it will act as a barrier, keeping skin hydrated and reducing the risk of irritation. Finally, despite what you may have heard, retinol won't sensitize your skin to sun exposure. UV rays do, however, destabilize retinol, rendering it ineffective. So as long as you wear sunscreen every day (which you should in any case), retinol is your anti-aging friend.
Retinol, along with peptides and civitamin C, helps promote tissue regeneration around the delicate eye area.
This rich cream smooths lines and wrinkles while providing serious moisture.
Time-released technology gradually delivers retinol to the skin, minimizing fine lines and discolouration with less irritation.
Formulated with fast-working sustained-action retinol and moisture-rich hyaluronic acid, this serum is quickly absorbed.
Containing vitamins C and E and slow-release microencapsulated retinol, this serum encourages skin renewal.
A combination of retinol and Nia-114 (a form of vitamin B3) strengthens the skin's moisture barrier while combating fine lines and brightening skin tone.
Twists, braids and soft fringe for the new season. Image by: Bumble & Bumble
Twists, braids and soft fringe for the new season.
Many of us have fallen victim to some horrifying hairstyles ('80s perm, anyone?). Luckily, current trends are more forgiving—and much less damaging.
EASY DOES IT
This season, the low bun isn't just for hiding unwashed hair; it's also an easy wand elegant way to be on trend. The best part about this season's bun is that you get to decide on the details. A smooth and elegant chignon was spotted at Creatures of the Wind, while at protagonist (below), the look was twisted and undone. Just remember to ditch bulky and visible elastics in favour of the clear variety or, better yet, opt for bobby pins.
Protagonist by: Bumble & Bumble
The fashion world has been toying with the idea of youthful 'dos for a while. Marc Jacobs sent models down the runway with Wednesday Addams-esque pigtails in 2014, while, in 2015, Chanel had models wearing prim girlie headbands, and Prada embraced a cheerleader-inspired high ponytail. This season, embracing your inner child translates to a more romantic look—think soft (not severe) French braids and plaited double buns, as seen at Mansur Gavriel (below). Make this look age appropriate by keeping it polished—no frizzy flyaways or piece-y strands.
Bumble & Bumble for Mansur Gavriel
If the past couple of seasons have been all about the long bob (a.k.a. the "lob"), get ready for everyone to make the switch to the shag. This layered look, made popular in the 1970s, is a low-maintenance style with lots of movement, and we're all about that wash-and-go life. Spritzing hair with sea-salt spray brings out any texture, steering this look into rocker territory (a la Alexander Wang), but you can also embrace a softer shape (as seen at Custo Barcelona, below) with a good blow-dryer and a round brush. The only rule: Nothing too perfect, please.
Maybelline New York for Custo Barcelona
Scent lingers on your hair for longer than your skin, which is why perfuming your tresses has been a beauty move for years—only now, fragrance brands are starting to make scents specifically for hair. These new products won't dry your locks, and they come in scents you already love.
Eat these foods when you're under the weather. Image by: Getty Images
Eat these foods and drinks when you're sick with the flu to feel better faster.
No one wants to feel hangry or get hit with a midday crash—but that doesn't mean you have to visit the office vending machine. Instead, curb hunger pangs with these healthier, expert-approved alternatives.
1. Swap: Microwave popcorn for cauliflower popcorn
Even light microwave popcorn can be loaded with sodium, trans fats (which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol) and artificial colours and flavours, says Kelowna, B.C.–based registered dietitian Tristaca Curley. Instead, cut a head of cauliflower into bite-size pieces, then roast in the oven with some olive or coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt flakes. This low-calorie, folate- and potassium-rich sub is a satisfying twist on that movie-night favourite.
Photography by Angus Fergusson
2. Swap: Store-bought gorp for DIY trail mix
Ready-made trail mixes can be full of sugar and salt, so create your own snack of walnuts (the nut with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids), unsalted sunflower seeds, dried apple bits and unsweetened shredded coconut. Add chocolate chips for an extra hit of sweetness. "For a tart superfood top-up, add golden berries, which resemble golden raisins," says Toronto-based registered nutritionist Joey Shulman. "They're lower in sugar versus other small berries, and they contain linoleic and oleic acids, which help with fat oxidation." Or add resveratrol-rich mulberries for their antioxidant punch.
3. Swap: Potato Chips for kale chips
"Regular chips contain trans fatty acids, the bad fat that can lead to heart disease and elevated cholesterol," says Shulman. "This superfood alternative is loaded with vitamins A, C and K." Tear kale leaves into bite-size pieces (discard thick stems), toss with olive oil and salt, then roast until crisp.
4. Swap: Salted pretzels for roasted chickpeas
Sure, pretzels may be low in fat, but they're loaded with salt and have no real nutritional value, says Curley. For a crunchy alternative, try oven-roasted chickpeas. These legumes are high in fibre, protein and iron, making them an ideal "fill me up" snack. Toss together chickpeas, olive oil, sea salt and your favourite spice (think smoked paprika, ground cumin, cayenne pepper or garlic powder), then roast until golden brown and crunchy.
5. Swap: Cheese crackers for a seaweed snack
Most crackers are processed carbs laden with artificial colours, preservatives and other additives. "In their place, top a sheet of nori with some canned tuna, smoked salmon or a meat alternative, like grilled tofu," says Curley. The seaweed is super satisfying and guilt-free: There are only five calories per sheet. Plus, sea vegetables are full of vitamins A and C, calcium, iodine (essential for metabolism) and iron.
6. Swap: Chocolate pudding for avocado and cocoa pudding
Chocolate puddings can be drowning in high-fructose corn syrup. For a healthier treat, mash an avocado, then stir in two tablespoons each of cocoa powder and hemp seeds and a quarter cup of honey, says Curley. This pudding is low in sugar and a great source of monounsaturated fats, vitamin C and fibre.
7. Swap: Granola bars for energy balls
Granola bars can contain as much sugar, fat and refined carbs as a chocolate bar. "Instead, stir together a cup of oatmeal with half a cup each of nut butter, hemp seeds and dried fruit," says Curley. Maple syrup or honey will help it stick together. This homemade option is high in fibre and protein, low in sugar and free of additives.
8. Swap: Chips and dip for hummus and carrot or zucchini coins
Processed foods like chips can raise blood sugar, triggering a release in insulin, which then lowers blood sugar. In the short term, these highs and lows actually increase cravings; in the long run, they can lead to weight gain. Try this clever swap from Curley. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice carrots or zucchini into coins. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, then bake until golden brown and crisp. Serve with a side of hummus. (Brownie points if it's homemade!)
9. Swap: Banana chips for a loaded banana
This snack is often coated in sugar and deep-fried to give it crunch, so choose a fresh banana, which is glycemic index–friendly, suggests Curley. (Foods with a low-GI value are digested more slowly, so they won't cause a spike in blood sugar.) Top the banana with two tablespoons of your favourite nut butter, then roll it in hemp seeds. "You'll get a slow, steady rise in your blood sugar, so you'll feel full for longer," says Curley. Plus, this satisfying switch-up delivers potassium, protein, iron and omega-3s.
10. Swap: Chocolate-covered almonds for apple rings with nut butter
Almonds are a great snack, but when they're coated with chocolate, they turn into a treat. For a healthier option, slice a cored apple into rings. Top each slice with natural peanut, cashew or almond butter and sprinkle with hemp seeds, which are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. "Apples are loaded with fibre and vitamin C," says Shulman. "Look for unprocessed nut butters; they're rich in good fats, which contain essential fatty acids such as omega-3s and monounsaturated fats."