Is your bathroom cabinet full of expensive facial care products that do nothing? Then you should be interested in this. Now and then is the end of false promises that pretend to make you look ten years younger in ten minutes. This facial routine really works for wrinkles.
Retinol, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid – yes yes, we’ve heard all of that. After all, it stands out on every cream and serum. What many do not know: It not only depends on the high concentration of the active ingredient, but also on the formulation. As the saying goes: What good is 500 HP if you only drive in first gear? It is exactly the same with skin care: What use is two percent retinol if it cannot be absorbed by the skin? If you really want to see success on your skin, you need to know about hyaluronic acid, retinol, and vitamin C.
Hyaluron is not a miracle cure
Hyaluronic acid is an active ingredient that is somewhat overrated. Yes, it binds a lot of water on the skin and keeps it moist. But whoever hopes for a significant reduction in wrinkles will unfortunately be disappointed. Yes, wrinkles caused by dryness are reduced because the top layer of skin is moisturized. But in principle nothing more happens there.
Don’t get it wrong: A hyaluronic acid serum does exactly the job. But it’s definitely not a miracle cure for wrinkles. Nevertheless, the active ingredient is well tolerated and provides moisture. Incidentally, you can only develop the full effect if you apply the serum to damp skin and then use a cream. Because how is water supposed to bind to your skin when there is hardly any water? So use a toner, spray or simply tap water before you apply your serum. In the end, the cream includes everything, otherwise the hyaluronic acid and the desired effect will fizzle out.
That Really Helps: Vitamin A (Retinol)
The cosmetics industry has discovered it for itself and it is already there: Retinol. THE miracle cure for wrinkles. One cannot contradict this, because vitamin A is actually one of the best researched active ingredients in care. Yes, retinol helps really against wrinkles! But also not against deep expression lines – as I said, no false promises. It can reduce the depth of wrinkles because it boosts collagen and elastin production. So it strengthens our connective tissue, which becomes more and more unstable with age and which causes wrinkles.
If facial care were easy, everyone would have a perfect complexion. the fact is: You have to deal with your skin and the products / active ingredients if you want to achieve results. That’s why there is now a short excursion into science.
There are different forms of vitamin A, which are effective and well tolerated in different ways. Basically: The milder and more tolerable the vitamin A, the less and less effective the effect. So the hardest part about vitamin A is finding a product that is effective and won’t irritate the skin. Because then it flakes, is reddened and sensitive. So how do you find out what’s good and what’s worth your money?
The first step is not to trust the product labels. Because even if it says retinol, it can contain more effective and less effective forms. The umbrella term of all “retinols” is Retinoids. These are finally always in by our skin through chemical reactions Retinoic acid converted. The more steps it takes to do this, the milder the retinoid is to the skin. There are these different forms:
- Retinol ester (Vitamin A ester) is the precursor to retinol. It needs three steps until it is converted to retinoic acid and is the gentlest form of retinol. In the Incis you can find it under Retinyl Acetate, Retinyl Linoleate, Retinyl Palmitate, Retinyl Propionate.
- Retinol (Vitamin A1) needed two steps until it is converted to retinoic acid. So it can be more irritating, but is just as effective as retinol esters.
- Retinal (Vitamin A Aldehyde) is found in one step converted to retinoic acid. So far, this active ingredient has not been found that often in cosmetic products because it has been relatively newly researched. Very effective and associated with major possible irritations.
- Retinoic acid (Vitamin A acid) is most effective. All previous forms are converted into retinoic acid – only through them an improvement in the complexion of the skin is achieved. If it is applied to the skin in this form, it is extremely irritating and therefore requires a prescription.
What does that mean for you guys? Always check the product label to see which shape is included. The weakest form is not always bad and the strongest is not always good! As I said: retinoids are very irritating. If you incorporate the active ingredient into your facial care routine from scratch, you can use retinol ester or a low concentration of retinol. This is very, very important because your skin has to get used to the active ingredient slowly and you can only achieve long-term success if you concentrate slow increases.
For example, use a cream with a small amount of retinol at the beginning. the Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Cream (around 22 euros) is very suitable for beginners. After two months you can then resort to a higher dosed product, such as the Colibri Skincare Retinol Booster (around 30 euros), to the No Cosmetics Retinol Serum (around 17 euros) or even that The Ordinary Retinoids Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion (around 25 euros).
The most important: Always apply to dry skin in the evening. Either as the first step in the routine (less irritating) or as the last step. Never use more than 1-3 times a week. Wear sun protection with a sun protection factor of at least 30 the next day, otherwise you increase the risk of skin cancer.
That helps sometimes: Vitamin C.
vitamin C is a problem child. It can work wonders, but most of the time it doesn’t. Why? Because vitamin C is very difficult to formulate effectively. Specifically, that means: The pH value has to be relatively acidic (3-4) so that it can penetrate the skin’s oil layer and have an effect at all. Really, a lot of vitamin C serums do nothing at all, except to donate some moisture and antioxidants – but that’s not worth 30 euros. Either the concentration of the active ingredient is too low, an ineffective form is being used, or the product is incorrectly packaged so that UV rays render it ineffective. (Dark glass bottles protect the contents)
Again, not all vitamin C is the same. It comes in different forms – L-ascorbic acid is best researched and most effective. And by the way: You can advertise with “Vitamin C” on the product label, even though the concentration is negligible. And the active ingredient hardly works in such a low concentration. So again have an open eye and no open wallet! You can look forward to this when you have found the right product:
Vitamin C …
- smooths fine lines and wrinkles.
- has an antioxidant effect. So protects against skin irritation, inflammation and environmental pollution such as free radicals.
- inhibits an enzyme, which is essential for the development of pigment spots -> fewer pigment spots occur.
- soothes redness.
- reduces red pimples.
- improves the skin’s natural healing process.
- this makes pimple marks disappear faster.
It is best used in the morning, because then it also “boosts” your sun protection and makes it even more effective. We recommend the Geek & Gorgeous C-Glow Serum (around 11 euros), the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Day Serum (around 70 euros), the Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster (around 56 euros) and also that Colibri Skincare Vitamin C Serum (27 euros).
As already mentioned – not all cheaper serums are therefore bad. They may just be formulated less effectively, which some people may even want. You should always use such a serum in the morning before applying creams.
As is the case with retinol Sun protection an absolute must – only then will you notice a real difference. And even if you haven’t worn sunscreen every day for the past 50 years, it makes a huge difference from now on.
The moral of the story is that when buying facial care products one needs to be careful how you invest your money. Because even if it says “Vitamin C” or “Retinol”, that doesn’t mean that it has the advertised effect. It depends on the form of the active ingredient and whether it is formulated in such a way that it gets where it is supposed to work.