IF YOU WANT TO IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE OF YOUR SKIN, YOU NEED RETINOIDS IN YOUR LIFE!!! The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% Serum is worth a look if you’re thinking of incorporating retinoids into your routine, here’s the scoop-
4/4/17- I have an updated this post, see below
If you went a fancy dermatologist and said “I want to look my face to look younger”, the dermatologist would say “here is a prescription for a Retinoid”. All ages and skin types will benefit.
Retinoids are a derivative of Vitamin A. They are proven to be a powerful anti aging skincare ingredient. Retinoids can reduce wrinkles, pores, discolouration, acne, repair loss of skin tone and sun damage. They can totally change the appearance of your skin. BUT! you have to know what you’re doing and be aware of the side effects, otherwise you’re going to come unstuck.
Here is my guide on how to use this Wonder ingredient. This post is about The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid Serum 2%, but the advice and information applies to all Retinoid creams and serums. It’s a bit sciency, just skip through it if you’re drifting.
What do Retinoids do to the skin?
Retinol and Retinoids are converted to Retinoic Acid by enzymes in the skin. Retinoic Acids trigger changes in the skin cells that result in an increase in cell turnover. The enzymes that break down collagen are blocked. The skin thickens (which is a good thing) and more Elastin and Collagen is formed.
Studies has shown that Retinoids actually reverse the effects of sun damage and natural aging over time. The positive effects start being visible within a few days and increase over time. One study reported the patients using Retinoids had a rosy glow about them, as well as having smoother skin and fewer wrinkles. Retinoids can also help with acne, eczema and psoriasis.
If you’re into reading scientific evidence, this review is excellent and gives a lot of information.
What is the difference between Retinol and a Retinoid
I don’t want to get too technical but here’s some info about what to look for on the product label. Retinoic Acid or Tretinoin is the strongest retinoid and is only present in prescription-only cream. The strength of a Retinoid depends on how easy it is for the skin to change it into Retinoic Acid. Retinol is pure Vitamin A and is two steps from Retinoic Acid and about a tenth as strong. Retinoids are molecules related to Retinol that vary in strength. It’s all very scientific and confusing.
Basically Retinol and Retinoids are less strong than Retinoic Acid but they are available over the counter. The active ingredients in The Ordinary 2% Retinoid Serum are-
Solubilized Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate is a highly-advanced form of retinoid which is, in fact, a non-prescription ester of all-trans direct retinoic acid that offers a multi-fold better effect against signs of ageing than retinol, retinyl palmitate and nearly all other forms of non-prescription retinoid.
A sustained-delivery form of pure retinol in a protective capsule system which supports both the delivery and the effect of Solubilized Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate.
Both forms of retinoid used avoid the irritation associated with retinoid (including retinol) use while delivering better visible results against signs of ageing.
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% Serum contains 2 complimentary retinoids for maximum effect. They are formulated for maximum effectiveness with minimal irritation.
Choosing the correct Retinoid product
When choosing your retinoids, you need to find a product that gives you a percentage. You might find a retinoid somewhere in the ingredients list but you won’t know if it’s in a high enough concentration. Here are some recommendations of different Retinoid products that are strong enough to have a visible effect-
There are surely other good Retinol products that I haven’t mentioned, but always check the percentage. You want to choose a product with 0.5% Retinol or higher to see a visible effect. If you look closely at the list you will see that The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% is £8, which is £29 cheaper than the next cheaper Retinoid. That’s berserk cheaper.
This is what I like about The Ordinary they don’t charge the earth or promise the moon on a stick, but their skincare delivers. (I’ve posted before about it, here’s the link)
How to use The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%
This is really important- you can’t go into this half-cocked. Retinoids cause irritation, flakiness, redness and a possible increase in spots to begin with- follow these steps and you might be okay.
- Apply your Retinoid onto clean dry skin at nighttime- Retinoids are broken down by sunlight
- Start slow, really slow. If you rush in, smearing the wonderstuff on your face thickly and regularly, your face will turn into a digestive biscuit. Use it twice a week for a couple of weeks, then three times, then every other day. Work up to daily use over the course of a couple of months. Mark my words or you’ll be sorry.
- Use the Retinoid Serum with moisturiser. Keep your skincare gentle and supportive when you start. No acids or scrubs to begin with.
- Use sunblock. Retinoids make the skin much more sensitive to the sun.
- If your skin starts to get flakey then stop. Give it a break for a couple of days.
- Retinoids can be used on dry sensitive skin and have the same awesome effects, but you will have to very gently with it. If your skin is already dry, I would probably mix your Retinoid with your moisturiser just once a week to begin with. Then increase very carefully to see how your skin responds.
- Keep using It. The effects of Retinoids increase over time. They are best used long term, like over a year, to show their full effect. You should see initial results after a couple of weeks though.
- Retinoids work best when combined with other anti aging ingredients like Vitamin C and Glycolic Acid. But best to wait until the skin has well and truly settled before introducing these.
My Experience The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% Serum comes in a brown dropper bottle. It needs to be brown to block UV light which would breakdown the Retinoids.
The serum is a white fluid, a bit like a thin lotion. It has the unexpected aroma of chip fat. Which is a little off putting. The smell only lasts for a few seconds so it’s not a big deal. Advanced Retinoid absorbs well into the skin with no stickiness. The bottle should last a month and a half with daily use, so much longer than that if you’re starting slow.
I was using quite a different Retinoid product on my skin before I started on The Ordinary Advanced. The other serum was making my skin pretty dry so I decided to switch to The Ordinary. I haven’t noticed as much irritation. I have noticed some peeling, just the top layer of skin. I assume that this is just because Retinoids increase cell turnover, so the dead top layer is lost more quickly. I’ve suffered a few bouts of dryness while using Retinoids but the improvement in my skin is very encouraging.
Here are the Before and After photos. Apologies for the difference in lighting, but I think that the improvement is still obvious. The Before picture was taken before I started using Retinoids.
My skin feels much smoother and looks less marked. I think the little freckles that I had have diminished and my acne is much better too. (My face looks yellow in the top picture but I’m sure that that’s because of the lighting)
I hope this post has been useful. Check out my other posts for more info on The Ordinary.
* Update- I’ve been using The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% Serum for 2 months and have experienced no irritation at all, it’s very well tolerated compared to other Retinoids I’ve tried. I’ve contacted Deciem and they recommend just using Lactic Acid and Retinoid at night and alternating the two, just using one active per day. You must use Sunscreen also!
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid Serum 2% is available from TheOrdinaries.com.
PS This post contains affiliate links. I bought the product myself with my personal dollars