what is a retinoid response?

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what is a retinoid response?

Vitamin A is the holy grail when it comes to skincare. It is arguably the most effective cosmeceutical rejuvenating ingredient and has tonnes of rigorous, scientific studies to back it up. The benefits of consistent vitamin A application to the skin include:

  • to promote skin renewal
  • brighten skin tone
  • normalise pigmentation
  • reduce acne
  • boost collagen production

 But hold your horses, we need to talk about ‘retinoid responses’. The term “retinoids” refers to vitamin A and the various compounds derived from vitamin A, be it retinyl palmitate, retinol or tretinoin to name but a few.

Vitamin A essentially re-trains your skin cells to turn over faster. Therefore, when initially introducing a vitamin A product or applying a stronger concentration of vitamin A, there may be a period of time where the skin becomes tight, dry, flaky, possibly itchy and may appear slightly red.  This is completely normal and most people will experience it at some stage. Typically, this response will begin a couple of days after applying a vitamin A product and may last a couple of weeks until the skin adjusts and builds up a tolerance. Generally, vitamin A derivatives can cause light irritation as they are formulated to be gentler than prescription options. Whilst mild irritation is completely normal and manageable, intense flaking, burning or redness is not, so we highly advise you to seek the advice of a professional.

Depending on the type of vitamin A product you use, you may or may not experience a retinoid response. Environ’s AVST range is an intelligent Vitamin STEP-UP SYSTEM™ which helps the skin to gradually acclimatise and become comfortable with increasing doses of vitamin A and other ingredients; thereby reducing the likelihood of a vitamin A response.

Retinoid responses occur more frequently during the winter months as the skin’s ceramide levels drop. To counteract the chance of having a retinoid response during the cold weather, we would recommend supplements like the Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Omegas or the Advanced Nutrition Programme Moisture Lock to boost the skin’s natural internal hydration levels. To help soothe and calm the external irritation during a retinoid response, we would suggest nourishing hydrators such as DMK Betagen Creme , Environ Super Moisturiser or Circadia Aquaporin Creme.

We can also temporarily adjust your routine to help your skin with the acclimatisation process – simply request a phone call, book an online consultation, or pop into the salon for a chat with one of our skincare experts!


Ailbhe Gullane

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