I am always asked about Retinol. Is it evil? Can I still use it? Do you use it?
Retinoic Acid (the active bit of all retinols) is found in many skincare products claiming ‘anti-ageing’ benefits. And it certainly is proven to make skin look younger. So why is everyone questioning me about it once they learn about the process of ageing. It is because Retinoids (this family of chemicals derived from Vitamin A) increase skin cell production/division (proliferation).
And everyone here knows that cell division = ageing.
Speeding up cell turnover accelerates telomere shortening leading to premature ageing of the skin. Clearly bad.
So here’s the good stuff (which is why people want to carry on using it). It helps unclog pores, increases collagen production, can strengthen the protective function of the epidermis, restrain trans-epidermal water loss and protect collagen against degradation.
So what is the trade-off here?
Skin cells with short telomeres have functional defects and do not perform their best, this includes Keratinocytes, the primary type of cell found in the epidermis, constituting over 90% of epidermal skin cells and fibroblasts which produce the matrix of the dermal (think cushiony mattress), play a crucial role in wound repair and generating collagen production.
So you may be getting those fresh cells to the surface faster and unclogging your pores but at the same time you are undisputedly accelerating the ageing process of your skin.
With Retinoids you can do this in varying degrees. A mild retinoid chemical you may not even notice you have applied it. As far as I’m concerned gentle is best.
Strong retinoids can cause dryness, redness, irritation and flaking of the skin. Pretty intense if you ask me, yet ‘skincare providers’ are trained to instruct you that this is a normal retinoid response and to just carry on until your skin gets used to it! Not only are you now dealing with accelerated telomere shortening from Retinol’s mechanism of activating cell production but you are taking a double hit from the inflammation and damage that the chemical is causing and your skin is desperate to repair (yes – through cell division!)
What about the Good Stuff? Can you use Retinoids?
I’m often asked, can I use retinol with One Truth 818 and my honest answer is ‘You shouldn’t be using retinols WITHOUT using One Truth 818 products that contain the active TAM-818 (our Serum and Atomiser)!
It has been shown that keratinocytes have a greatly increased capacity for cell division when they are expressing telomerase and arguably that it could even immortalize them. Given that retinoids increase cell division you’ll want to ensure, at the same time, that they are expressing telomerase so that they can handle the extra cell division without damage and accelerated shortening.
IF you want to use retinol products for their good benefits you must use One Truth 818 to mitigate the bad benefits (accelerated telomere shortening).
Do not use something so strong that it causes irritation, inflammation and loss of skin – that’s just craziness!
Retinoids will make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so I suggest using at night time and APPLY SPF every single day or you’ll be landed with sun-induced pigmentation. Not negotiable!
So, YES, some forms are ‘evil’, the bad far outweighs the good.
YES, you should use One Truth 818 products with Retinoids, they will not stop each other from working.
YES, I do use a retinol on a non-regular basis, typically if I have had some hormonal breakouts and the remnants are making my chin an uneven texture and it does work to clear this. However I use TAM-818 at least twice a day, it’s like an insurance policy for my skin, so I use retinol wisely. I also wear SPF everyday, which is critical for safe retinol use.