Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Review: Retinol Reface

Retinol Reface information card, box and tube of serum
Over the past few weeks, I've been using the Retinol Reface* from Indeed Labs. It's a creamy, skin resurfacing, retinol serum and I've really enjoyed trialling it.
Red cardboard box of Retinol Reface sitting next to white tube of Retinol Reface
The 30ml tube comes with a pump applicator and after the initial application, I discovered one pump was enough to cover the whole face and down onto the neck. This is a night-time treatment, designed to be used like a serum, i.e. applied lightly and alongside a separate moisturiser. I've been applying it to a cleansed and toned face, sometimes following with my regular serum (which is much more watery) and then finishing with my night cream. It doesn't feel like a serum, in that it's very creamy, but it's not designed to moisturise, that's why you need your regular cream for that. Retinol Reface 30ml tube on white surfaceClose up of red plastic pump dispenser on tube of Retinol Reface serum on white background
Retinol (a derivative of Vitamin A) has been raved about for some time now in the beauty community, as it's considered one of the most effective ingredients against improving skin surface and in turn ageing. If you are new to retinol products, then you need to be aware that there are some guidelines. They can often be drying, sometimes causing peeling and/or increased sensitivity (to sunlight and causing general redness on the skin), because retinol works by speeding up cell renewal and collagen production (shedding the old, damaged skin and paving the way for new, fresher, younger and clearer looking skin). It's therefore recommended that you use a high level sunscreen during the day and use the retinol product with a good moisturiser. Also avoid using other retinol products at the same time as you don't want to overload the skin with such a potent ingredient and cause irritation. That said, I found the Retinol Reface extremely gentle, which was a bit of a surprise if I'm totally honest. My skin can be sensitive, especially to new products in my routine, so I fully expected breakouts, redness and sensitivity at first. I haven't been outdoors during the past few weeks, so haven't had to apply a strong SPF the following morning, but overall I'm really impressed with how mild this appears. White tube of Retinol Reface resurfacing serum held in hand
That doesn't mean it isn't hard-working. Honestly from the first application I could see it was doing something. I was mainly focused on using this product to improve my blemished skin. I've mentioned this on the blog before, but when I turned 25, I developed adult acne. For several years now it's been under control, which was great. Rewind a few months and I had a big, angry breakout that just wouldn't go away. Over time, it got worse and worse and I'd forgotten how confidence crippling bad skin can be. In these situations you try not to panic as stress will likely make it worse and you continue with your regular routine, products you know, that will hopefully not aggravate. Then when it still doesn't clear up or in my case, gets worse, you do start to fret and get so desperate you just want to try anything and everything to heal the spots. An intensive treatment like this honestly couldn't have come at a better time. The spots are on the sides of my chin (not in the centre) and the left side was worse, then the right developed a few very painful, red bumps. Spots have always taken a long time to heal with me. Much longer than they should and new ones were popping up before others had gone, so I had a mass of lumps and bumps at varying stages. Like I say after my first application, I did feel like something positive was happening in the spotty regions. By the 2nd and 3rd nights, many of the spots were drying out and a few had already flaked over. This was momentous for me after a few awful months! My skin was still a mess, but honestly I was just so relieved that there was a change. Three weeks on and there's a significant improvement. I've only had one new spot come up (right on my jaw) over the past 10 days or so and the remaining spots are smaller, flatter, much less angry, not painful and spaced out. Before, the entire area was covered in spots, merging into one another (with no clear skin in between) and too many to count. Now, I'd say you could count on one hand the amount of remaining spots and there are pink marks (completely flat) from previous spots, but you can see clear skin in between. I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm very, very pleased with the progress and hope continued use will reverse the damage entirely. One pump of Retinol Reface skin resurfacer serum on back of handRetinol Reface massaged into back of hand
The rest of my face has also seen improvements, though I find those harder to measure or prove conclusively here. Despite the fact retinol can be drying, I feel the skin looks really hydrated after using this. It's got a really pleasant texture, non-greasy and I found I could apply the rest of my routine immediately without any pilling, so it's well absorbed. When I wake up in the morning, I feel my face looks hydrated and plump. It also feels like I've just applied moisturiser.  Usually my face would feel like there's nothing on it by morning, but it feels like there's some product there, without feeling heavy if that makes sense?  I've also noticed less creases around my eyes, which I always wake up with from my pillow. I can't say for sure I've noticed much difference in the lines on my forehead, but the eye wrinkles seem to be improving (along with using a really good eye cream). This particular product contains 3 forms of retinol; Retinol RA (Rapid Action) which converts faster to retinolic acid (what the skin breaks retinol down into), Retinol Micro-spheres, a soft, pure retinol that is slowly released into the skin (still working the following day after application) and Retinol-like Peptide, a multi-faceted, anti-ageing like peptide without the discomfort or skin irritation. Certainly it seems that this combination does feel gentle on the skin, is less likely to cause irritation and that it keeps working with continued use. Collage of Retinol Reface applied on back of hand and hand without. Self portrait showing adult acne and improvement in skin appearance and texture after using Retinol Reface serum for 3 weeks.
I'm very impressed with the effect it's had on my problem skin. I probably should've taken before and after shots to back up my claims, but in all honesty, I wasn't expecting such a visible difference. I've included the photos above, but I took them on my mobile and not for the purpose of this review, so they aren't as detailed as I'd like.  The earlier selfie, does not show the enormity of the spot situation, it was honestly terrible looking.  However, you can note a difference between that and the photo taken yesterday.  There's no touch-ups on any of the photos, nor was I wearing makeup.  After swatching on the back of my hand earlier, I massaged the Retinol Reface into my hand and I'm not sure if you can note the difference between the two.  The one with the product looks hydrated, healthier and with more of a soft focus effect, whereas my other hand looked quite dry and the veins more obvious.  Remember retinol can target acne marks, UV damage, uneven skin texture as well as wrinkles, so it's a terrific multi-tasker for clearer looking skin whatever your concern. You can find it in Boots and I'd definitely recommend it.

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