Most of us want want plump, youthful skin, but is retinol the answer? Is retinol safe to use?
It has been a hot minute since I’ve dropped by with another edition of CLEAN SWAPS, a series of posts I’m doing to share some of the safer swaps I’ve made to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals in our home. Today’s CLEAN SWAP is all about retinol and anti-aging skincare.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I’m healing from several years of chronic illness (Yay!). And I have to admit that my skin took a big hit from the stress of it all. Now that I’m finding my way back to feeling vibrant and healthy, I’m doing my best to bring the luster back (hello, 40’s!). While I’ve been tempted to use retinol-based products, I’m too protective of my health now that I finally have it back. I’ve spent an enormous amount of time researching safer ways to keep my skin looking it’s best as I age. Here’e what I’ve learned:
The burning question to get out of the way first: Is retinol safe?
A lot of beauty brands tout retinol as a safer skin-care ingredient. For a long time, it has been known as the gold-standard of anti-aging active ingredients. But if you check out the Environmental Workin Group (EWG) safety score on retinol (vitamin A), you’ll see that it scores a 9 out of 10. Not good.
Retinol is listed as being a human reproductive toxicant (hello, pregnant mamas!) and has a cancer-causing risk. While naturally occurring, when used topically in skincare products, retinol is a nutrient that may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors. Studies show that retinoic acid can have harmful side effects, including being a skin irritant and making the skin sensitive to the sun’s damaging rays. In fact, both the EU and Canada have restricted the use of retinol—the EU cites a “precautionary principle,” which means that if an ingredient has shown evidence of danger to human health or the environment, it takes preventative action.
Most dermatologists agree this is the one thing that can reverse signs of aging: retinol.” -@businessinsider
Does Retinol fight the signs of aging over time?
While retinol is touted as the queen bee of anti-aging, there is some controversy whether it actually helps fight aging over time. According to a Business Insider article and cosmetic doctor Mervyn Peterson: retinol works by encouraging basal cells (in the lowest layer of the skin) to divide, and as a result you get more new epidermal cells that migrate up to the skin’s surface and eventually become the rooftop. “The more retinol you put on the skin, the more these new cells appear at the surface,” he said. One problem with retinol overuse is that these new skin cells don’t function well because they have been rapidly produced, and therefore lack the necessary adhesion and lipid production to protect the skin properly.
“The main function of the top layer of the skin is to protect us, to keep away environmental factors. The more retinol you put on, the poorer the barrier function becomes,” he said. “This is why a lot of people feel that their skin is very sensitive and experience peeling, flaking, and irritation.” Furthermore, cells generally divide to grow and repair the tissue in your body, but normal cells can only divide a finite number of times which is one of the primary reasons we age.
“We don’t live forever, so if you plaster way too much retinol on in your 20s, 30s, and 40s, you could be depleting all of those healthy cell divisions that you really should be storing for cell divisions further down your lifetime.”
Is there a safer alternatives to retinol?
Up until now, I haven’t been able to find a product or ingredient that works like retinol but doesn’t have the health risks. But that has all changed. And this is BIG BIG news in the cleaner skincare world!
Y’all know that I’m a big advocate for safer skincare and personal care products. I’m SO EXCITED to share with you that my absolute fav safer skincare company has launched a SAFER retinol alternative that mimics retinol without the harmful health effects, and it has people raving because… it works!!
Ready for youthful skin?
Research is saying that anyone who’s over the age of 30 should tune into anti-aging, so if that’s you, keep reading!
After 3 years in research, development and testing, Beatuycounter has just introduced COUNTERTIME which features a proprietary blend of two potent active ingredients, Bakuchiol and Swiss Alpine Rose, to create Retinatural Complex – a safer, just-as-effective alternative to retinol. It’s an innovative new collection that visibly firms skin and reverses signs of aging. Some call it “anti-aging”- Beautycounter calls it “getting better with age.” It’s extremely effective and entirely safe for your health. It’s also safe for pregnancy and breast feeding!
It is seriously the best, most sophisticated skincare I have ever used. I am so excited to have a safer alternative. My skin is so hydrated and glowing all day! AND, look at how beautiful the glass packaging is!!
What’s in the retinatural complex?
BAKUCHIOL – Traditionally used in Chinese and Ayurvedic skin-care remedies, Bakuchiol delivers many of retinol’s skin benefits—without irritation. If you like to geek out on science, read more about Bakuchiol HERE.
The results showed that, after 12 weeks treatment, significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and overall reduction in photo‐damage was observed, without usual retinol therapy‐associated undesirable effects.
SWISS ALPINE ROSE – Grown at the highest altitudes of the Alps, this flower is known for its ability to protect itself against environmental stressors like dehydration and helps boost skin’s antioxidant defense.
Beautycounter’s plant-derived Retinatural Complex, featuring bakuchiol and Swiss Alpine rose, delivers retinol-like results without retinol’s safety concerns. Why? Because beauty should be good for you.” – Gamze Sauzeat, Lead Chemist
Who is COUNTERTIME for?
COUNTERTIME is for anyone with anti-aging concerns such as fine lines, skin texture, and overall skin tone. It’s designed specifically for mature and/or dry skin. COUNTERTIME is also perfect for you if you currently use retinol-based products and have been afraid to switch from them or stop using them – now you have a safer option!
NOTE: I would not recommend the entire line if you have very oily skin or if you experience cystic acne. I would recommend using other lines (like COUNTERCONTROL) primarily, and then adding one or two COUNTERTIME items into the mix. If you have sensitive skin, rosacea, or if you react unpredictably to different ingredients, go slowly with any changes that you make to your skincare routine. Everyone’s skin is different, and the ideal way to introduce new products to sensitive skin is with a patch test, then one product at a time for the first few days (not the entire regimen day 1), and then slowing adding more.
Does it work?
A BIG YES. Really. I’ve had my hands on it for about a month, and it truly is the best thing that has happened to my face. I cannot wait to see the results longterm. It helps reduces fine lines and wrinkles, helps cell renewal, helps reduce crow’s feet, keeps skin hydrated and plump, protects from free radical damage, and keeps skin youthful. Big promises, I know! But this line really delivers.
Now let’s meet the COUNTERTIME Collection:
Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil: Cleansing, reimagined. Inspired by Asian beauty rituals and informed by Japanese technology, this luxurious, lightweight cleansing oil gently yet effectively removes makeup and other impurities without stripping essential lipids from the skin. Rich in vitamin E, fatty acids, and our plant-derived Retinatural Complex, the formula reinforces the skin’s fragile moisture barrier for a soothed, nourished complexion. The smell of this is so light and beautiful! It leaves your skin so hydrated unlike many cleansers that can leave you tight and dry!!
Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence: Vital nutrients energize the skin. Lightweight but deeply nourishing, this milky moisturizing essence lends vital nutrients to the skin’s moisture barrier—instantly boosting hydration and radiance. Formulated with our Retinatural Complex, mineral-rich sea water, and a fermented blend of sugars, it renews and balances the skin and preps it for the treatment steps that follow.
Tripeptide Radiance Serum: True radiance, revealed. This transformative rejuvenating treatment visibly increases skin firmness and elasticity, while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Formulated with a powerful blend of peptides, amino acids, and our Retinatural Complex, it helps enhance the skin’s moisture barrier function to optimize hydration for a radiant complexion.
Anti-oxidant Soft Cream: Protective, skin-plumping moisture. Formulated with our plant-derived Retinatural Complex and nasturtium flower extract, this velvety, revitalizing cream works to visibly plump and firm the skin while boosting hydration. Skin is left healthy and glowing. This can be used as a day cream or a lighter night cream depending on your skin’s needs.
Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream: Powerful, regenerative hydration. Supremely rich and deeply hydrating, this cream supports elasticity and visibly firms while smoothing skin texture to minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles. With continued use, wake up to more radiant, youthful-looking skin. This can be used as a heavier day cream and night cream for very dry skin. It is so thick and hydrating!
Ultra Renewal Eye Cream: Your brightest eyes, reawakened. This high-performance eye cream revitalizes the eye area for a youthful, brighter appearance. With a targeted combination of our plant-derived Retinatural Complex and Persian silk tree extract, it reduces under-eye shadows and crow’s feet for a smooth, firmed look. LOVE this stuff!!
Countertime Collection: includes all six products at a 10% discount. I highly recommend the collection! Each product has the Retinatural Complex, but also has a hero ingredient of it’s own.
What about the higher price point?
Yes, this line from Beautycounter is at a higher price point and not accessible to everyone. Like with most things, you get what you pay for. This sophisticated line has been compared to La Mer, which if you’re serious about anti-aging, you know what I’m talking about. And you don’t have to buy the entire line to get the benefits of the Retinatural Complex, because it’s in every one of the products in the line.
If I HAD to choose just 2 products from the line, I would pick the Tripeptide Radiance Serum (very potent and penetrates deeply into skin) and the Supreme Cream (because anti-aging is my focus and I tend to have drier skin.) I would recommend the Anti-oxidant Soft Cream for if you have more normal (not dry) skin.
Y’all know that I’m passionate about sharing what I’ve learned about clean living and healthy eating. Food is my medicine and clean living is my mantra. I only share things that I use myself and products and companies that are in line with my values. We all get to vote with out dollars, and I vote for companies who are at the forefront of making healthier change and who put health over profits. You can read more about why I choose Beautycounter HERE.
And I’m not sharing about anti-aging because I think there is something wrong with getting older. Getting older is a natural part of life and happens to everyone. I’m more interested in aging gracefully and being the best version of myself that I can be. Taking care of my skin is part of that. It makes me feel good. You can read more about what I do for anti-aging after 40 HERE.
And I feel grateful to have a healthier alternative to retinol. My skin feels amazing when I apply these COUNTERTIME products on. The entire line feels and smells so fresh, clean, and luxurious on my face. I wake up with my skin feeling hydrated and glowing.
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