Greatest new retinol magnificence merchandise for tighter, plumper pores and skin


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Dazed and confused by the daily barrage of miracle skin-care ingredients? Erase them from your mind for now and tune into the one with the winning track record: retinol.

This workhorse retinoid, a member of the vitamin A family, has been a top dog for decades, fueling creams and serums since way back in the ’90s.

Think of it as the Naomi Campbell of the anti-aging world.

Now, retinol is powering-up a raft of new products for the face and body.

Promising a visible brightening of blotchy pigment, reduction in fine lines, and collagen-boosted plumper contours in a matter of weeks, they’re the ones to tap when you’re looking for tangible, see-them-in-the-mirror results.

“Retinol, and retinoids in general, are versatile and effective,” says New York City dermatologist Carmen Castilla, a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Hospital. “They can help with essentially any skin problem people complain about: discoloration, sun damage, ‘texture,’ ‘congestion,’ fine lines, scars, blackheads, acne. They’ve proven themselves to be effective for a wide range of skin concerns.”

Still, if you’re a newbie, retinol can literally take some getting used to.

Slathered on too frequently before your skin has had a chance to acclimate, retinol-overload can result in redness, flaking and dryness.

To slow the roll on retinol’s more aggressive tendencies, many newer formulas, including Ole Henriksen Double Rewind 0.3% Pro-Grade Retinol Serum and Maya Chia The Advanced Eye Response Complex, contain an “encapsulated” version crafted to reduce irritation.

Another workaround?

Swapping-out traditional, lab-hatched retinol with a plant-based alternative.

Bakuchiol, derived from bakuchi seeds, is one such “bio-retinol.”

With its new Brightening Retinol Eye Crème, the buzzy ayurveda-based skin-care brand Ranavat is fully covering its bases by combining encapsulated retinol with bakuchi seed extract.

“While bakuchi seed is considered a natural alternative to retinol, both ingredients have distinctly similar age-defying benefits,” says founder Michelle Ranavat. “When used together, bakuchi is proven to stabilize retinol, and allows it to work longer before it breaks down. Bakuchi also has soothing properties, which helps enhance the skin’s ability to tolerate retinol, preventing signs of irritation.”

A growing category, new retinol body products like Kopari Ultra Renewal Retinol Body Cream, Soft Services Software Update Performance Retinol Serum and Versed Press Restart Advanced Retinol Body Butter run rings around old-school lotions. While Kopari’s formula is powered by anti-oxidant-rich pomegranate and acai to address “sun-induced blotches and splotches,” Versed’s new brew taps a tripeptide for skin renewal and two types of butter (cocoa and tucuma) to quench lizard-dry legs and arms.

So why has retinol, and the broader class of retinoids, stayed the course for eons when so many other super-hyped ingredients have quickly fizzled?

(We see you, caviar, bee venom and snail slime!)

Castilla says it all shakes out to real-world — make that real-human — application.

“The issue with many ‘miracle’ ingredients is that they’ve gotten their hype from improvements seen when applied to skin cells in a petri dish,” she says. “Studies on actual human skin have validated the efficacy of retinoids.”

How’s that for a body of evidence?


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