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.
We asked Zoe Nicole Kelly, creative and product developer at Dr. Roebuck’s, some questions on how to make sure your skin stays plump, dewy and hydrated all winter long.
When winter rolls around our main concern is keeping our skin hydrated. Indoor heating, blustery winds and sub-zero temperatures all contribute to our dry complexions—and dry skin can lead to sensitive, irritated skin as well as emphasizing and lines or wrinkles you might have. Thanks, winter.
Zoe Nicole Kelly, creative director, Dr. Roebuck’s, answers our questions about how to keep skin soft, supple and hydrated for the harshest of seasons.
But first, how do I know if my skin is dehydrated?
Dry skin can be pretty obvious—a flaky, itchy or tight complexion are dead giveaways. But sometimes it’s not that obvious to tell if you have dry or dehydrated skin. If your fine lines are more visible than usual that could be a lack of hydration. If, when you touch your skin it doesn’t bounce back quickly, that usually means you need more hydration.
Why is my skin dehydrated?
The weather is definitely a factor, but dry skin can also be due to your diet and intake of water (hint: more water is better) and it can come down to genetics or an allergy. According to Kelly, anyone can have dehydrated skin because that’s more closely related to lifestyle, but if you have dry skin, that’s probably due to genetics. Either way you should get your skin some moisture, stat!
What are some ingredients I should look for in my skin care to keep hydrated?
“Glycerin is actually one of the most overlooked ingredients, because people think it doesn’t do much,” says Kelly. She recommends looking for a plant-based glycerin (instead of synthetic) to reap the most benefits from the ingredient. Other ingredients to keep an eye out for? Hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and cold-pressed oils. “Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin actually attract moisture to the skin and hold it there,” says Kelly. “If you get a really highly concentrated hyaluronic acid, it can actually penetrate the skin at the same time it holds moisture to the skin—working on two levels.”
What product should I add to my routine during the winter?
If you feel good about your products, but are looking to add an extra dose of hydration, you’ll want to pick up a serum. “The beauty of serums is that they are highly concentrated,” says Kelly, “so you can target the specific concerns you have.” Look for serums that aim to rejuvenate and regenerate collagen as well as moisturize.
Dr. Roebyck's Ultimate Hydrating Serum, $80, beautyboutique.ca.
What am I doing wrong?
“One of the main no-no’s—and it’s hard to do in the middle of winter in Canada—is having a hot shower,” says Kelly. Whenever it’s possible opt for a lukewarm shower and a short shower. Hot water is very drying to the skin—as are many bar soaps and many products that lather in the shower. Avoid products with alcohol, or products that are wheat-based. Instead, try cleansing oils and milks instead if you’re concerned about dryness.
If your skin is in full on crisis mode and/or you suffer from eczema—flaking, red, itchy, chapped and cracked skin—skip the lotions and creams and opt for a balm instead. This one, from French derm-brand Bioderma, helps soothe irritation, repair skin's barrier and helps prevent recurring flare ups. The emollient formula is paraben-free, fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. Bioderma Atoderm PP Balm, $33, murale.ca.
If you prefer oil to lotion, or want to layer your body care products, try Avène's Essentials Body Oil. The rich plant-based oils and vitamins A and E help to nourish and sooth parched skin. Try applying post shower, the formula quickly absorbed and won't leave behind a greasy film. Avène Essentials Body Oil
If you're on the hunt for a natural body cream that doesn't compromise on its effectiveness this jar has got your covered. The velvety body butter is whipped to perfection and harnesses the moisturizing properties of agran oil. Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter, $15, sephora.ca.
Sensitive enough for infants and children but powerful enough for adults, this rich cream is perfect for extremely dry skin and atopic dermatitis. The brands patented Rhealba Oat Planlet extract helps to calm irritatation and soothe skin. Vitmain B3 helps with elasticity while glycerine hydrates skin. It's also filled with nourishing omega-6 essential fatty acids which help to rebuild the cutaneous barrier of the skin, which is often damaged in extremely dry skin. A-Derma Exomega Emollient Cream, 400 mL, $56, amazon.ca.
This butter yellow cream is a cult-classic. It's been around since the '70s and we're sure it will stick around for many more years to come. The all-over body cream is both rich and hydrating without being greasy. Kiehl's Creme de Corps, 250 mL, $38, kiehls.ca.