Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Brush On Block SPF30 - Mineral Powder Sunscreen

Recently I've discovered a new mineral sunscreen called Brush On Block SPF30, that I've been using myself and also been recommending it to my clients.

Everyone knows the importance of wearing sunscreen on a daily basis to protect their skin from UV damage.  However from speaking to clients, it seems there are still a number of people who don't wear sunscreen daily. Not because they haven't heard the messages about how important it is, but rather it comes down to compliance. Simply put, sunscreen formulations in the past have been fairly problematic for the majority of people. If a product feels sticky or greasy on the skin or it interrupts the way makeup looks or alters the colour of our skin, it simply won't be used! This has left an unpleasant association with sunscreens in some peoples minds.

However thankfully today we have access to many different formulations of sunscreen available to us, in both physical or chemical format, ranging from creams, lotions, oils, sprays and powders, and thanks to advances in science it means sunscreens are a lot more 'user friendly' than before.

I am personally a fan on physical / mineral sunscreens rather the chemical sun filters. There are definitely pros and cons to both, but overall I think the pros of physical sunscreens outweigh the chemical filters. Having an oilier complexion, the idea of the powder-based sunscreens has also been appealing to me. I originally tried the BareMinerals Natural Sunscreen SPF30 around 3 years ago and whilst I loved the concept, the colours were a little bit off. So much so that even the lightest shade left me looking a bit orange!

Thankfully I now have Brush On Block SPF30. This is completely translucent, so doesn't give any colour or coverage to the skin. Meaning it's great for all skin types and leaves no white cast.

It's a blend of both Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide in powder format, so it's non-greasy and provides broad spectrum SPF30 protection against UVA and UVB. It also contains additional skin benefits including anti-inflammatory Chamomile Extract and antioxidant Green Tea Extract.

Surprisingly, it's also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes (of course you do need to reapply after water exposure, this is the same advice for all sunscreens!).

It's great for both men and women, because it's translucent and can't be seen on the skin it can be used under, over or instead of makeup.

It's really easy to apply and convenient to carry in your pocket for top-ups throughout the day as and when needed. The great thing I've found with Brush On Block compared to other mineral sunscreen powders I've come across, is that it's refillable! You can buy refills which are half the price of the original, so it makes it a really economical product long-term.

Below is a video I film on how to apply physical sunscreens. I mention two that I use and recommend to clients, including CosMedix Reflect SPF30 spray and of course, Brush On Block SPF30.

I can't recommend this enough. In fact, because I found myself recommending it to all of my clients, it only made sense that I should start stocking it myself! Therefore if you have treatment with me, Brush On Block SPF30 mineral sunscreen is now available to buy at the end of treatment. The full size 3.4g retails at £22 and the refills retail at £11. 

Appointments available at andymillward.com


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Fillerina - Derma-Cosmetic Filler Treatment

It's rare lately that a new skincare product will catch my eye enough to tempt me into trying it. The majority of 'new innovations' are simply old products, slightly tweaked but with a new marketing team behind it!

However, I agreed to review the Fillerina Dermo-Cosmetic Filler Treatment because it intrigued me! It's a hyaluronic acid based at-home system that is used as an alternative to injectable fillers to help plump out lines & wrinkles plus add volume to cheeks and lips. Fillerina is available in 3 grades depending on depth of lines etc. I was given Grade 3 to review.

In all honesty, injectable filler is something that has never really appealed to me. Even with the more natural fillers and administered by the best practitioners in the business, there are still a lot of risks involved and I've seen far too many horror stories that have put me off having it done. That's not to say I'm against it if people choose to have filler, it's just not for me personally. Fillerina is simply an alternative for those, like me, who do no wish to go down the injectable route.

Although with all 'injectable-alternatives', I think it's important to have realistic expectations and anything applied topically is not going to achieve the same result as something injected. Equally, this is also true for the many topical ingredients that claim to have a 'Botox-like' effect.

Having said that, what impressed me with Fillerina and peaked my interest to review it, was the very extensive double-blind clinical trail carried out and published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. Whilst many products have claims, they don't all have scientific studies to back them up!

Let me start by saying whilst many products boast about containing hyaluronic acid which is found naturally in the dermis layer of skin, the truth is most products use it as a topical hydrator. The molecular size of hyaluronic acid is simply too large to penetrate to the deeper layers, therefore it's more about adding hydration to the stratum corneum. What's interesting about Fillerina however, is they use 6 different forms of hyaluronic acid, all with a different molecular weight that enables hydration to the deeper layers of the epidermis.

The kit itself is a 2-step system that you use daily for 14 days consecutively but promises results for 2-3 months! It comprises of a hyaluronic Gel Filler and a Nourishing Film, to help lock everything in. It also comes supplied with two precision applicators which look like needles. They are not designed to pierce the skin, but rather ensure the gel goes exactly where needed. As well as add a little bit of theatre no doubt!

To use, you draw 2ml of the Gel Filler using the precision application then apply to areas of concern i.e. lines and wrinkles, cheeks and lips. Then you wait 10 minutes and gently massage in any residue. You then apply 2ml of the Nourishing Film and massage in. See the video below to get the idea!

Applying the Gel Filler with the precision applicator is really smart and helps to get the maximum product into deep lines and also on the lips etc. However with the Nourishing Film it was a bit of faff to be honest! Firstly, the product is a little too thick to withdraw it from the bottle using the applicator and secondly, there really isn't any need because you apply it evenly everywhere. The Nourishing Film would have been much better in a tube in my opinion.

There was also a slight problem with pilling / rolling of the product on the skin, which I believe is down to the silicone-based Nourishing Film. Hyaluronic acid itself is a film-forming ingredient and is great to use after a peel or dermal needling to create a film over the skin and prevent water loss. So if you try to apply another film-forming ingredient like silicone over the top, it rolls up on the skin. This makes it a problematic product to use in the daytime, because no one wants to go out with bits all over their face. Instead I'd recommend using it at night.

I also found that 2ml was far too much for my skin. My skin is actually quite hydrated already, therefore it wouldn't absorb the entire 2ml. Cutting back to 1ml helped but still didn't stop the product rolling completely. I may have possibly been better if I'd used Grade 1.

Results wise thought I was quite impressed, within a week I definitely saw an improvement in the appearance of my lines on forehead and in between my eye brows, plus my lips were much more hydrated and therefore slightly more plump (I have very thin lips, so any improvement here is very noticeable). 
Sadly however, I had to stop the trail after a week because I started to come out in spots, in areas where I wouldn't normally breakout such as in between my eyebrows, the nasolabial fold and cheeks. This could be a combination of factors. Firstly, my skin may have been over-hydrated and the water / lipid balance had been upset. Secondly, my skin generally doesn't respond well to silicone-heavy products, so the Nourishing Film could have been an issue for me. Lastly, due to using the product at night, I had replaced my usually nightly routine consisting of a retinol serum, which really helps to keep my skin clear.

In summary, I think it's an interesting product which definitely gives results and is a good alternative for anyone who thinks they need filler but doesn't want to go down the injectable route. It's also a good price point if the results last as long as they claim! However, be mindful that if you're prone to acne, that this may cause you to breakout.

Fillerina ranges from £79 to £95 (depending on the grade) and is available Cult Beauty, Beauty Is Skin Deep & Victoria Health.

*PR Sample

Saturday, 18 April 2015

I Haven’t Worn Moisturiser For 18 months!

I’ve delayed writing this blog post for quite some time, mainly because I didn’t want it to come across as one of those “I haven’t washed my face for 30 days” type news stories that drive me nuts! This isn’t something I’ve ‘trialled’ for a month and gone back to using moisturiser. This is something I’ve been practicing for 18 months and my skin has never been in better condition (admittedly I have made other diet and lifestyle changes, as well having different treatments over the 18 month period, it’s not just a result of ditching the creams!).

The other reason I’ve held off writing this post is because I understand it goes against what we’ve become conditioned to believe about basic skincare, in that “regardless of skin type, everyone needs to moisturise”. It’s a message that has been given out by the retail skincare industry for as long as I can remember and we, well, just went along with it. BUT is it right?

There will be some of you who after reading this will think I’m talking absolute rubbish and could loose faith in my knowledge as a skin therapist. However there will be some of you who it will make absolute sense, and may even change your perspective.

A Different Approach

19 months ago I trained with Medico Beauty (and now have the pleasure of working with them). I was introduced to a different methodology, one that is supported by many doctors and dermatologists. I say ‘different’ because with a little research you’ll find it isn’t a new concept, it’s simply not a common one, but once you understand the physiology of skin, it actually makes a lot more sense than applying moisturising creams blindly.

My suspicions were already rooted way before I was introduced to this way of thinking. I’m sure we’ve all got a friend who boasts about never using moisturiser in their life YET they have flawless skin. Even during my skin therapy training, it was always the clients that didn’t wear moisturiser (in fact did very little to their skin) that had the better skin.

So it got me to ask the question, if moisturiser is such an important part of keeping skin healthy, how is it that people who don’t wear moisturiser have such healthy skin?

Moisturiser VS Physiology

Firstly, let’s understand the role of a moisturiser. A moisturiser is designed to restrict / slow down Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL). Our skin loses water all the time. This is natural and isn’t the problem. The problem begins when the rate of TEWL is too fast i.e. the skin allows water to be lost too quickly. The result is that skin becomes dry and dehydrated. As water is the catalyst for enzyme activity, it means many metabolic processes within the skin are unable to be performed optimally, with exfoliation (desquamation) being just one of them to consider. If cellular turnover slows down, skin can become dry and unhealthy.

However our skin has an in-built mechanism to prevent TEWL; it’s call barrier function that comprises of a lipid bilayers. Imagine the structure of a brick wall. In skin terms, the bricks would be skin cells and the mortar holding the bricks together, would be the lipids / fats.

Apart from keeping water in (or at least slowing movement), barrier function is also responsible for keeping bacteria / pathogens and other undesirable substances like irritants out, so it’s easy to see how it’s an integral part of maintaining skin health.

In simple terms, healthy skin with it’s barrier function intact can prevent TEWL perfectly well on it’s own, maintaining hydration levels to keep skin functioning correctly. When barrier function has been compromised, then skin becomes dry and dehydrated, unable to function correctly and skin becomes unhealthy.

The Problem With Moisturisers

There are a couple of issues with applying moisturiser on a daily basis when your skin doesn’t need it. There are lots of scientific studies to support this, so please don’t take my word for it.

Firstly, many moisturisers contain ingredients that actually disrupt skin barrier function, making skin less able to retain moisture naturally i.e. the more you use the moisturiser, the more you’ll need it.

Emulsifiers for example are used to bind water and oil together to form a cream emulsion, however they can also react with the oils in your skin and disrupt the lipid bilayers and degrade barrier function.

Humectants commonly found in moisturiser are used to ‘attract’ moisture from the atmosphere towards the stratum corneum. However in low humidity, some humectants can also ‘attract’ moisture from the dermis, actually increasing the rate TEWL!

The other main problem with moisturiser is they’re not actually treating the root cause of dry skin but rather masking the problem and temporarily relieving the symptoms.

Applying a moisturiser to treat dry skin is the equivalent of treating a reoccurring headache with Paracetamol to numb the pain, when the cause of the headache was chronic stress. You’re simply plastering over the cracks in the wall.

The best way to treat dry skin would be to repair the barrier function and use ingredients that can stimulate the skin to produce it’s own Natural Moisture Factors (NMF’s) and retain moisture, thus behaving the way it did when we were children, so that skin ‘IS’ healthy and hydrated instead of just ‘feels’ healthy and hydrated.

Should You Stop Using Moisturiser?

Let me make it clear, I’m not saying that everyone should throw away their moisturising creams this second. I personally don’t use a moisturiser because my skin doesn’t need a moisturiser. Instead I just use an antioxidant serum and a sunscreen for protection during the day and a Retinol serum and hydrating mist at night. My skin not only ‘looks’ healthier than ever, but ‘behaves’ healthier than ever. However, I had conditioned my skin over a certain period of time. I also ensure I eat a diet that is rich in good fats and try to lead an anti-inflammatory lifestyle (as much as possible at least).

Instead what I’m saying is you shouldn’t be applying something on a daily basis that your skin does not necessarily need!

Firstly it’s important to address all the factors that could cause barrier function disruption that lead to dry skin in the first place. Aside from topical irritants these include poor diets lacking in essential fatty acids, smoking, sun damage and chronic stress.

If you have dry skin (or your skin has become dry over time), then moisturiser should be used a temporary aid to relieve the symptoms of dry skin whilst you work on repairing skin barrier function and correct the cause of the dry skin, to encourage skin to hydrate itself. It shouldn’t be used a permanent crutch.

If you have oily skin, then I’d reconsider using a moisturiser altogether, especially considering how they can actually cause further barrier function disruption. Providing the barrier function is intact, the skin is more than capable of retaining moisture by itself.

Sensitive skin is the only skin type I’d recommend using a moisturiser because it lacks it’s own natural barrier function, however I’m talking about sensitive skin in the true meaning of the term! Read more about the difference - Sensitive VS Sensitised Skin.

Regardless of skin type, if you choose to use a moisturiser on a daily basis, I’d highly recommend choosing a one that is free-from emulsifiers such as Polyethylene Glycol or PEGs and be careful when using humectants like Butylene Glycol or Glycerine that they don’t appear too high up on the ingredients list, especially in humid dry weather conditions. Instead choose something that contains Shea butter or Jojoba oil for example.

If you choose to ‘give up’ moisturiser, just be aware that it’s not an over-night process and that skin needs time to adjust from relying on an external moisture source and works on repairing barrier function. It’s also important to address what you’re cleansing the skin with because if your skin feels it needs extra moisture, it may be because you’re stripped too much away during the cleansing process.

For some there is also a massive psychological aspect to get over too. In other words, the act of applying a moisturiser is so deeply rooted in their brain that they ‘feel’ like their skin needs it when in fact it doesn’t.

Ask yourself this, do you actually know what dry skin feels like OR is it a case that you've applied moisturiser for so long that you can't reminder what your skin feels like without it?

I hope this has given a different perspective to the traditional 'cleanse, tone, moisture' method of skincare. I’m sure it's triggered a lot of questions, so please feel free to leave a comment in the box below!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Dangers Of Buying Professional-Only Products Online

We all like to save a bit of money and given the choice, we'll always look for cheaper alternatives on our favourite clothes, foods, beauty products and services to save ourselves a bit of cash.

However, there are certainly time when you really shouldn't choose the cheaper option, particularly when your health is concerned.

I was shocked recently after being contacted by someone who'd bought a professional-only peel online via an unauthorised reseller. They didn't state which one, however after a quick Google search, I narrowed it down to either StrawberryNET, CosmeticsNow or BloomingWay.

Firstly, I'm purposely not going to state which item they bought, out of fear that someone else will be stupid enough to go buy it but needless to say, the reason it's a "professional-only" peel is because it's a really high strength peel and takes professional qualification and training to apply it safely. It's also not a product that you would use in isolation, but rather as part of series of treatments and home care to build tolerance to such a high strength treatment without damaging the skin. For people familiar with professional peels, this is known as 'prep'.
There are many factors that are taken in to consideration, such as their skin type, vascularity,  Fitzpatrick type etc.
You'd also follow up with a weeks post-peel programme to help soothe the skin and reduce any risk of adverse reaction.

Not only had the girl in question bought the peel but because it came without instructions (why would it? It's not meant to be used without training, therefore the instructions are in the training manual, not of the pot!), they'd gone ahead applied and then through to ask questions afterwards. 4 days later when skin was still very red, very sore and peeling off! Who knows what long term damage she may have caused, potentially destroying the barrier function of the skin and certainly increasing the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (pigmentation following trauma).

To make matters worse, they just so happened to be a therapist themselves so they really should have known better! 

This is beside the point. The point I'm trying to make here is that the unauthorised resellers as mentioned above (there may be others, but those are the ones found on my Google search) are grossly irresponsible for selling this item online. They clearly don't care about the dangers and long term damage they could cause someone by selling said item to the general public. All they're after is profit!

It's also worth pointing out that the majority of these unauthorised resellers are not UK based, but usually places like Hong Kong or America. So should anything go wrong, it's not like you can just visit your therapist or aesthetician for help.

Unlike buying items from an authorised reseller or stockist, which is guaranteed. Buying any item from an unauthorised reseller is risky, because a) there is no guarantee the item is 100% genuine and / or b) there is no guarantee the item is still in date (yes skin care goes off, just like food).

If the item is genuine and in date then 100% guaranteed they haven't obtained the item legitimately or with authorisation from the manufacturers. Manufacturers work really closely with distributors and authorised resellers to ensure their products are being sold, used and applied correctly and safely. After all it's their brand and reputation on the line!
An unauthorised reseller clearly doesn't do any of those things! They've merely obtained a product illegitimately and are looking to sell it on to make a profit.

Buying a cheap moisturiser is one thing and you may not care as to whether it was obtained legitimately or not BUT when it comes to professional-only strength products such as peels, please, PLEASE, I urge you, just don't do it! You could seriously end up damaging yourself and putting the health of your skin at risk.

This is an extreme analogy, but it's the equivalent of buying a dentist kit off the internet and pulling a dodgy tooth out yourself OR buying some Botox off eBay and injecting yourself. You just wouldn't do it so why take risks with your skin? Especially as it could cost you double the amount to fix things after they go wrong OR worse, be left permanently scarred as a result.

In an ideal world, sites like these wouldn't exist but unfortunately we don't live in an ideal world, so it's up to you as consumers to have a little more sense about you and not buy / use products that are meant to be applied by qualified professionals.


Friday, 27 February 2015

SLEEPCLEAN™ - Anti-Acne Pillowcase

Yes, this is a pillowcase. No, I have not suddenly started wiring about soft furnishings.

This is the SLEEPCLEAN™ Pillowcase with acne fighting + antimicrobial properties to help fight acne while you sleep!

As a blogger and also working in the skin care industry, I'm used to seeing new product releases all the time and generally, in terms of skin care, a lot of the products are always very similar and often very uninspiring. However, when I was contacted to trial the SLEEPCLEAN™ Pillowcase I was actually really intrigued, for the first in a long time! 

It fits well with my holistic approach to treating skin i.e. treatment of the person, not just the symptom and considering all factors that could be contributing to skin problems and addressing them all. Often we focus so much on topical application of serums and creams, so the concept of a pillowcase that can help treat acne was really interesting!

How Does The SLEEPCLEAN™ Pillowcase Work?

As our pillowcases accumulate a build up of dead skins cells and oils, bacteria starts to multiple. The SLEEPCLEAN™Pillowcase contains Silver Ions, which are proven and highly effective at inhibiting the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms that would otherwise go on to our skin while we sleep, thus preventing breakouts!

Silver Ions also have anti-inflammatory properties, so help to reduce inflammation and redness associated with moderate to severe grades of acne. 

Dermatologists recommend changing your pillowcase every 2-3 days. However due to the antimicrobial properties of the Silver Ions, the SLEEPCLEAN™ only requires washing every 7-10 days. Although personally, I have been washing mine more frequently, for no other reason than I like the feel of freshly washed bed linen!

SLEEPCLEAN™ Pillowcase Test Results & Thoughts!

As far as appearance and texture go, it looks and feels like your average good quality 300 thread count pillowcase, it's very soft and comfortable to sleep.

Results wise, it's a little difficult to comment as I don't have acne anymore. Of course, I do still get the occasional spot like any normal person! Particularly when I'm stressed or maybe a little too busy to take care of myself properly. 

What I do find really interesting however is when I do get a breakout, it's nearly always on my temple area, a typical sign of stress spots and overworked adrenals and / or kidneys. In the whole 5 weeks I've been trailing this product, I haven't had a single spot on my temple area...........I'm also a side sleeper, so the areas of my face that have been in contact with the pillowcase have definitely remained spot-free. I did however get one spot, a matter of days before exhibiting at Professional Beauty but it was slap-bang between my eyebrows!

Would I Recommend SLEEPCLEAN™?

Obviously, it's worth mentioning that bacteria alone is not the root cause of acne so an antimicrobial pillowcase alone is not going to cure your acne! SLEEPCLEAN™ even state on their website that it's designed to be used in conjunction with a good skin care routine. I would add to that professional treatments and a dietary review.
However, if like me, when my acne was at it's worst I would have tried absolutely anything and if you're one of those people and your skin care alone just doesn't seem to be helping, then it's definitely worth giving it a try. 

The SLEEPCLEAN™ effectiveness is guaranteed for a year or 50 washes and retails at $34.99 (so around £22). Although there may be an additional charge for shipping from New York to the UK. 


P.S. Something the brand doesn't mention, which I'm guessing is because the trails have been on acne sufferers only, but I would personally be intrigued to see if it also benefited Rosacea sufferers. Technically because of the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, it could help reduce inflammation and Demodex mites associated with Rosacea skins. This is ONLY my theory as a skin therapist however, the company make no claim to helping Rosacea so don't complain to them OR me for that matter, if you try and it doesn't help. It's merely a hypothesis based on the benefits on the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of Silver Ions! 

Monday, 9 February 2015

Bespoke Facial Review: No Mud, No Lotus Blog

Lucy from No Mud, No Lotus blog recently wrote a guest post for me to review the John Master Travel Kit. We also discovered we were also relatively local to one another, and following the review Lucy booked in for a bespoke facial with me.

Lucy was also incredibly kind enough to write a review of my treatment. Read what she had to say about it by clicking on the image below or HERE.

A big thank you to Lucy for such lovely feedback on her results and experience. It's comments like these that make me love what I do so much!


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Retinol: Ingredient Focus

Best Retinol Skincare Products Anti Ageing Acne Pigmentation

Being the right side of the 30 (ain't nothing wrong with being over 30), concerned with the early signs of ageing but having oily / problematic skin means that most anti-ageing creams are out of the question because of being too rich to tolerate.

Retinol however, is a fantastic ingredient no matter what your skin type or secondary skin concerns. In fact, Retinol isn't just about lines and wrinkles, it has the ability to correct all sorts of skin conditions and concerns including acne, eczema, pigmentation, photo-damage, enlarged pores, excess oil etc.

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a form of Vitamin A and part of a family of ingredients known as Retinoids. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant which has the ability to protect cells from free radical damage thus preventing collagen breakdown, plus stimulates new collagen production.

I won't go into too much detail but if you want to learn more about Retinol click HERE.

Who Is Retinol For?

Pretty much anyone concerned with lines & wrinkles, pigmentation, acne, enlarged pores, sun damaged skin, excess oil. In fact, there aren't many skin conditions that Retinol wouldn't help with!

How To Use - Retinol 101

How to use Retinol and key things to remember when choosing a product;

  1. Retinol is sensitive to light & air so degrades easily when exposed to oxygen & UV.
  2. It's best to Retinol products at night to protect the vulnerable ingredient from UV exposure.
  3. Vitamin A is a stimulating ingredient so it's essential to use a sunscreen during the day.
  4. Retinol can be irritating so start slowly and build up gently.
  5. It takes 3 days for Retinol to be 'digested' fully by the skin.
  6. If the skin shows any signs of over-stimulation, give the skin a rest day.
  7. Retinol is converted to Retinoic Aicd before it can be utilised by the skin.
  8. Studies show the use of AHA's along side Retinol have been shown to boost the effects [1]

Read more about Retinol to Retinoic Acid conversion in skin.

Best Retinol Skin Care Products

Due to the fact Retinol is such a vulnerable and irritating ingredient, in order to use it in an effective percentage in skin care, it's best to best to choose a product that uses an encapsulated form of Retinol.

This ensure that not only is the ingredient protected but it also helps to deliver it to the deeper layers of skin without causing surface irritation.

All CosMedix Vitamin A product incorporate encapsulation and in my opinion offer superior results without the irritation.

CosMedix Define 

A cream based product that contains 2% encapsulated Retinol plus a combination of 3x AHA's (L-Lactic Acid, L-Malic Acid and L-Tartaric Acid) so it's a remodelling and resurfacing treatment in one.

This is a fantastic product for anyone new to Retinol to start with due to the lower percentage. It also helps to repair skin barrier due to the contents of AHA's and great for preparing the skin to tolerate higher percentage of Retinol.

Define retails at £63.66 for 30ml and is available HERE.

CosMedix Refine

A serum that contains 4% encapsulated Retinol plus amino acids and antioxidants and is extremely effective at increasing cell turnover and stimulating the skin.

This is great for anyone concerned with signs of ageing and / or a more oily / acne skin. Due to it's potency, it's highly recommend to either start on Define first and build up tolerance or start by using once or twice a week and build up slowly.

Refine retails at £54.58 for 15ml and is available HERE.

CosMedix Serum 16

A rich-serum that contains 16% LG-Retinex which is a blend of Retinol, Retinaldehyde and GAG's and is a super-charged anti-ageing serum.

Despite the much higher percentage of Vitamin A, this is actually much easier to tolerate than Refine because the encapsulation process uses a lipid (fat) instead of a protein, so it's slower release. This is best for more dry and ageing skins.

Interesting Fact: studies have shown that 0.5% Retinaldehyde is just as effective as 0.5% Retinoic Acid (Retin-A), except Retinaldehyde is more easily tolerated by the skin and without the localised irritation of Retinoic Acid. [2]

Serum 16 retails at £67.86 for 30ml and is available HERE.


1. Pharmacology of RALGA, a mixture of retinaldehyde and glycolic acid. Tran C1, Kasraee B, Grand D, Carraux P, Didierjean L, Sorg O, Saurat JH. Dermatol. 2005; 210 Suppl 1:6-13.

2. Profilometric evaluation of photodamage after topical retinaldehyde and retinoic acid treatment. Creidi P, Vienne MP, Ochonisky S, Lauze C, Turlier V, Lagarde JM, Dupuy P, J Am Acad. Dermatol. 1998 Dec; 39(6):960-5.

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