Rethinking Retinoids: A New Approach to Skincare's No. 1 Anti-Aging Ingredient

Vitamin A has been scientifically proven to turn back the clock by decreasing the look of fine lines, hyperpigmentation, acne, as well as helping to decrease the loss of elasticity. Choosing the best type of Vitamin A is key.  Retinol (Vitamin A) and its natural and synthetic derivatives are collectively known as retinoids. Retinaldehyde (aka retinal), retinoic acid and retinyl esters are all part of the retinoid family. Retinoids are the most efficacious ingredients proven to stimulate fibroblasts cells that aid in maintaining the integrity of the skin matrix and promoting collagen thus significantly reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Retinol and its derivatives remain the closest thing skincare companies have to a “fountain of youth,” however they’re not without its weaknesses. Retinols degrade rapidly in light and oxygen and cause irritation in large doses.

Of all the members of the retinoid family, only retinoic acid is biologically active. This means a retinol has to be converted to retinoic acid before it can do its magic on the skin cells. This is the most aggressive form of Vitamin A and is typically found in prescription strength formulations. Because retinols can cause severe side effects such as redness, peeling and sun sensitivity for many, products with additives such as mineral oil or alcohol may exacerbate the very skin conditions you’re trying to treat.

A less irritable form of Vitamin A or retinol, is the most common form of retinoid in skin care. It can be obtained from certain foods, such as fish oil and liver, or indirectly from fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, melons, apricots, mangos, spinach and tomatoes. With the help of enzymes, it is then converted to retinal to penetrate the skin. To be effective, retinal is then converted into retinoic acid for cell delivery. Retinol is equally as effective as retinoic acid, but with minimized side effects. Retinol’s counterpart, retinol ester, is also widely used but can be less effective because it must be converted into retinol first. COSMEDIX has developed a proprietary chirally-corrected complex that takes vitamin A to the next level. By rethinking retinoids, science comes ever closer to creating a true skin care miracle.

Retinol and L-Lactic Acid

The skin is the body’s largest organ and its first line of defense from free radicals. This complex and fragile system needs protection from harmful environmental aggressors, such as UV radiation, toxic substances and oxidation. Being a very active organ, it is also the first to suffer from these aggressions, as seen in the formation of wrinkles, loss of elasticity and even in extreme instances€“ skin cancer.

Retinol and its derivatives are essential in the fighting of free radicals and maintaining the skin’s healthy look. Retinol can work with chirally-correct L-lactic acid to stimulate change in the skin without irritation, making it an ideal choice for all skin types and conditions. This natural exfoliant is used in many of COSMEDIX’s nourishing, anti-aging skin care products.

Getting the Best from Retinoids

Chemists have also found that combining retinol (or even more active retinal) with certain lipoproteins, glycoproteins, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and other natural plant-based amphiphilic compounds can help overcome the challenge of permeating both water and oil-based cellular barriers as well as the challenge of problematic irritation. In this case, multiple water and lipid-soluble layers act as alternating keys, each allowing the transported ingredient the retinoid to pass deeper into the skin with less irritation. By minimizing irritation, retinoid concentrations can increase. Combining retinoids with intelligent encapsulation has helped to create a new generation of retinoid that’s more effective and gentler than ever before.


Fighting Acne with Oil

We’ve all been there. You think the only way to get rid of your acne is to control your oil so you do everything in your power to dry your skin out. You wash your face every chance you get with cleansers that strip any and all moisture from your skin, and you use harsh spot treatments to dry out your blemishes. The result is tight, dry skin, followed by the inevitable oil slick. If your oily skin is supposedly causing your acne, why doesn’t this method work?

The answer is simple each time you strip your oil away, your skin has to over-compensate for the lack of oil, therefore creating more. While harsh spot treatments and cleansers may work to maintain your acne for a few days or weeks, your skin will eventually go back to being acne-ridden usually worse than it was before. The solution to this skin madness? Use an oil-based cleanser to clean your skin and nourish it at the same time.

Wait, What?

Cleansing your face with an oil-based cleanser might sound scary for those with acne, but it’s important to remember that oil is not the enemy, and your skin actually needs some of it in order to stay balanced. Bacteria, hormones, dead skin cells and more usually cause those pesky blackheads, blemishes and cysts to appear on your face and body, so don’t be afraid to try cleansing with an oil you will be pleasantly surprised by how balanced and healthy your skin feels!

Purity Solution

Purity Solution by COSMEDIX is great for all skin types, including acne-prone skin. Containing a nutrient-rich blend of olive, moringa, kukui, safflower, sesame and argan oils, it works to gently break down dirt and impurities the actual acne culprits while nourishing the skin with vitamins and ensuring it retains its essential moisture. Purity Solution works as a makeup remover or a daily face wash.

Fact or Fiction Peeling Away the Fear of Chemical Peels

We have all watched that infamous episode of Sex in the City the one where Samantha Jones goes in to her aesthetician’s office for a chemical peel and comes out bearing a seemingly painful pout. Just the sight of her peeling skin caused us to put down the remote and pick up the phone to call and cancel our upcoming spa appointment. There is a long-standing myth in the esthetic industry that chemical peels can cause scary side effects that many of us fear, but is there any truth to these apprehensions?

Face Your Fears

There are many peels on the market with results that vary depending on your skin condition and intensity of the peel. Your aesthetician will guide you to the right treatment to get you to your desired appearance, whether you require a light treatment to more advanced exfoliation. Now with the fear factor out of the way, what peel would work best for your skin and target your skin concerns?

Feel the Peel

Whether you are trying to fix severe acne or you are just looking to get rid of blemishes or acne scars, COSMEDIX has a peel to meet your needs. Purity Peel is a great treatment for those who suffer from acneic or oily skin. This detoxifying peel cuts through excess oil to decongest pores and clarify blemish-prone skin. Chemical exfoliation helps to penetrate skin to ensure that ingredients, including Ferulic and Pyruvic Hydroxy Acids and our specially formulated AGP microencapsulated Retinol Complex, can get deep down beneath your skin to clear even the most problematic skin conditions.

Even if you don’t suffer from problematic skin, a peel such as Blueberry Smoothie by COSMEDIX can work wonders! With a smell as good as it sounds, Blueberry Smoothie combines blueberry extract and Jojoba Beads to gentle exfoliate your skin and rid you of blemishes and imperfections. Perfect for all skin types, this powerful facial treatment utilizes Lactic and Glucuronic Acids to leave your skin with a youthful, healthy glow without irritation.

Beautiful yet powerful, you can leave the worry behind with COSMEDIX peels and rest assured you won’t have to hide out after your treatments. Peel away acne and blemishes to reveal happier skin and a happier you!

Is Your Diet Ruining Your Skin?

Changing your diet is stressful enough. However, it is time to start thinking about how diet effects your skin as much as your waistline. It’s much easier to have a cheat day and make up for it with an extra workout. There is no cheating your skin. It is your body’s largest organ and it is affected by everything you do and everything you eat. Is there a such thing as a skin diet? Dr. Jessica Wu likes to think so. Author of “Feed Your Face: Younger, Smoother Skin and a Beautiful Body in 28 Delicious Days” told Forbes that she believes that what you put in your mouth is just as important as what you put on the skin.

Wu told Forbes: “Foods get digested and broken down into vitamins, minerals and amino acids that your body can use to build healthy skin. For example, if you don’t eat enough protein, you are depriving your skin of the amino acids that go into making collagen (which makes your skin strong) and elastic tissue (which makes it supple).”

Dr. Wu recommends stocking up on antioxidant-rich foods such as red, green and yellow vegetables. These vegetables help reduce sun damage by fighting the free radicals that break down collagen. However, some nutritionists recommend staying away from nightshade vegetables a plant family that includes eggplant, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes as they can stimulate inflammation. This diet has been famously adopted by supermodel Gisele Bündchen and football player-husband Tom Brady.

According to “Significance of Diet in Treated and Untreated Acne Vulgaris,” published in the Advances in Dermatology and Allergology last year, a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids can inhibit inflammation and “can have a therapeutic effect on acne.” Omega-3 fatty acids are often found in fish, walnuts and seeds like chia or flax. A North Carolina study showed that teenagers that consumer large amounts of fish and seafood have less acne symptoms.

On the road to clear skin, there are some foods and beverages that should be avoided. According to “Significance of Diet in Treated and Untreated Acne Vulgaris,” studies have shown that high glycemic indexes (or carbs high in sugar) can increase the production of sebum, which can clog pores and stimulate breakouts. People that avoid refined foods such as cereals, chips, cookies and bread as well as dairy products, coffee, alcohol, sugar and oils experienced minimal to no breakouts.

Can acne be cleared by simply changing your diet? Honestly, it’s uncertain. There could still be other factors triggering your acne such as stress, sun exposure, pollution or hormones. According to Apostolos Pappas in “The Relationship of Diet and Acne: A Review”: “To prevent acne by dietary manipulation may not be possible, but there are scientifically plausible reasons to believe that nutrition can affect acne.” It’s worth a try.

Maintaining Skin Between Treatments

Getting your skin in tip-top shape is all about taking a holistic approach. Proper diet, professional treatments and homecare regimens are the three elements for getting the skin you desire. One of the most common skincare concerns is acne, and a holistic approach is key to help treat this condition. We have already written about how diet can affect your skin and how professional treatment can expedite your success but the third element, homecare (your daily regimen) is just as important.

The first step in creating your perfect regimen is to talk to an aesthetician. Whether you are looking to fight acne, hyperpigmentation or wrinkles, your aesthetician will be able to pick and choose the exact products that will work best for your skin. But what are the elements to look for when you are on your own?

A good cleanser

Cleansing, especially when dealing with congested or acne-prone skin, is the most important step in your regimen. Cleansing doesn’t just rid your skin of impurities, it also clears the path for the rest of your regimen.


This step is often skipped, but is not to be forgotten. Toners can be used for a variety of purposes, but its first goal is to prep your skin to receive serums in the most effective way possible. For example, acneic skin types will use Purity Balance after cleansing to remove excess oil from the skin so that serums, like Clarity, can penetrate the skin.


This is where the magic happens. Serums are targeted formulas that can have a variety of benefits for the skin. Some hydrate, while others nourish, brighten, exfoliate and more. Layering serums is also a great way to target multiple concerns and needs. Just remember to apply in order of thickness. Thin to thick is key.


No matter what your skin type is, you need to keep your skin hydrated. Yes, even if you have oily skin. Dehydration is the earliest cause of premature aging, so set yourself up for success.


The sun is an interesting thing. We need the vitamin D it provides to be healthy, but too much can damage our skin. Wearing a minimum of SPF 15 each day is important to prevent premature aging and protect your skin from environmental damage.

Don’t forget that consistency is key to achieving any goal skincare related or not. So keep at it and results will follow!

Acne Ingredient Cheat Sheet

It’s easy to be confused by an ingredient list. It’s filled with long words that are hard to pronounce. If you are looking for products that are going to help keep your skin acne-free, look for these ingredients.


Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid, or BHA. It’s used to dissolve dead skin cells that may be stuck together and clogging hair follicles. It also helps draw out excess dirt, oil and impurities. Salicylic acid’s anti-inflammatory properties are similar to aspirin, which means it helps soothe and calm the skin instead of causing redness and inflammation. Look for salicylic acid in serums and cleansers.


Lactic acid is derived from milk, fruit and botanicals and is one of the most popular alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) in skin care. Gentler than the familiar glycolic acid, it helps reduce acne breakouts and the appearance of lines, wrinkles and rough skin through exfoliation. The benefit of lactic acid is that it helps keep skin hydrated by improving the skin’s natural lipid barrier while evening skin tone. Acne-prone and oily skin types can use Lactic acid cleansers daily to keep breakouts away.


Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxyl acid found naturally in sugar cane and is used in skincare to gently remove the outer layers of skin. Glycolic acid chemically loosens the bonds between skin cells, causing the skin to shed dead or damaged cells through exfoliation which in turn encourages and uncovers new skin. Glycolic acid cleansers reduce acne breakouts by helping exfoliate skin and unclog pores. However, a glycolic acid peel is not recommended for acne because it can increase redness and irritation.


Benzoyl peroxide helps reduce mild to moderate acne, reduce breakouts and oil production and unclog pores. It is the signature ingredient in the Proactiv skincare systems. It’s a popular treatment for acne because it kills existing P. acnes bacteria inside pores as well as improves exfoliation to prevent breakouts cause by clogged follicles. Be warned. Benzoyl peroxide reportedly causes unnecessary irritation, dryness and redness. Some people have found they are allergic to it. And, it can discolor your clothing, bedding and towels.


Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that helps stimulate the skin’s natural metabolism and helps encourage collagen production. Retinol serums vary in concentrations depending on skin needs. COSMEDIX has two types of retinol delivery systems: LG-Retinex is a microencapsulated retinol for drier, sensitive skin and AGP Complex (short for arabinogalactan-proteins) is a retinol for oily, congested and acne-prone skin. Both help visibly reduce the appearance of sun damage, brown spots, lines, wrinkles, acne blemishes and large pores while improving the skin’s texture and tone for a smoother, clearer, more even-toned look. Consult a physician to determine which type of retinol and concentration is right for you.


Fruit enzymes such as cranberry, blueberry, papaya and pineapples all contain low levels of acid, making them perfect for exfoliating sensitive skin. For those wanting natural manual exfoliators, look for poppy, jojoba or date seeds in your ingredient lists. Both help clarify skin, remove dead skin cells and improve skin texture. Plus, exfoliating away rough surface skin helps improve uneven skin tone left behind by acne blemishes and improves penetration of acne-fighting serums and skin brighteners.


10 Ways To Get Clearer Skin

1. Wash Your Face Before Bed.

Cleansing your face washes away the sweat, grime and makeup that can clog pores while you rest. If you’re feeling extra lazy, apply a layer of exfoliating cleanser to your face before you brush your teeth. When you finish brushing and flossing, add water to the cleanser with your hands to lather the cleanser and then rinse your face. Your flash mask just did all the work for you!

2. Remember to rinse with warm, not hot water.

Hot water dries out the skin. Cold water doesn’t open the pores, hindering you from getting the dirt out of them. Rinsing with warm water is a happy medium, allowing you to get a deep clean without being too harsh.

3. Rewash your face in the morning.

Unless you sleep with your hair in a bonnet and don’t sweat at night, a good wash in the morning is necessary. You wouldn’t skip a shower after a workout if you feel the need to wash your hair the next day, you should probably wash your face too. The products in your hair have transferred to your pillows and are now sitting on your skin. Do a quick wash 30 to 45 seconds and don’t forget to tone.

4. Tackle your t-zone with toner.

Besides getting rid of any residue or cleanser, toner helps keep oil and shine at bay. Look for salicylic acid in the ingredient list if you are breakout prone.

5. Exfoliate in the shower.

We’re busy people and we like multitasking. The steam from the shower will open the pores so that manual exfoliators can get out the dirt, and chemical exfoliators like salicylic acid can penetrate deeper into the skin for more effective results.

6. Unclog pores with clay.

Acne blemishes occur when oil, dead skin cells and dirt clog pores. Clay can help draw out oil, impurities and bacteria for a clearer complexion. A clay face mask usually takes less than 10 minutes and can be used up to 3 times a week.

7. Make sure your mask has sulfur in it.

Clay and sulfur are best buds. Sulfur is naturally anti-bacterial and has some of the same properties as clay. It helps clarify the skin by drawing out impurities and excess oil. Teamwork makes the dream work!

8. Say no to Benzoyl Peroxide.

We know. We know. You’ve seen all the Proactiv commercials and all the YouTube videos. We aren’t saying that it doesn’t work to improve the look of acne, but do you want redness and irritation as a side-effect to clear skin when there are other ingredients that deliver the same or even better results without the irritation? Plus, the stuff stains your clothes and sheets! Look for acne-fighting ingredients such as hydroxy acids, retinol and tea tree oil to curb breakouts.

9. Moisturize.

It’s a misconception that oily skin doesn’t need a good moisturizer. Your skin can overproduce sebum in efforts to moisturize and lubricate the skin. Oil-free moisturizers and moisturizers for acne-prone skin can help balance oil production and keep skin hydrated and clear.

10. Use an oil-free SPF daily.

Oil-free sunscreens offer the protection you need from sun damage and early signs of aging without the oil that can aggravate your skin and cause breakouts.

How to Manage Your Acne Like A Boss

It’s time to think of your acne as an employee instead of a bully. It should no longer be the part of your appearance that makes you insecure. It shouldn’t be something that makes you want to hide. Instead, think of your acne as an employee. Your employee. And just like all good managers, new employees need training to be successful. So, let’s take some advice from Peter Economy, the biz writer at We’ve adapted his tips from “7 Keys to Becoming a Remarkably Effective Leader” on to manage your acne.

Delegate Wisely

“The key to leadership success is to learn to effectively delegate both the responsibility for completing assignments and the authority required to get things done,” Peter writes. He goes on to explain that we don’t always have to do it ourselves. In terms of your skin, working with aestheticians allows them to use their skin care knowledge to recommend treatments to help you reach your skin goals faster and in a healthier way. Speaking of goals..

Set Goals

Let’s be clear: set realistic goals. Acne free by the weekend? Not likely. However, a proper assessment of your skin to determine the cause of your acne is a good start. If your dermatologist or aesthetician can determine the cause, you can work with these professionals to create a realistic treatment and home care regimen that will decrease your acne and the scars they can leave behind in a safe and reasonable time frame.


Be up front with your aesthetician about your lifestyle. Share with them your diet and exercise habits, medications you may be taking or if you are feeling particularly stressed recently. This may all affect how your skin is behaving.

Make time for your regimen

Peter recommends making time for your employees. We’ve adapted this to be about your regimen. Most regimens include a day and night routine and a treatment series to give you a clearer, healthier complexion. It’s tempting to skip steps or treatments all together when you are in a hurry or if you have a busy schedule. Understand that these regimens are training your skin to be less reactive, and this training takes time.

Recognize achievements

Is your skin less red? Are your breakouts less frequent? Is your skin less oily? Celebrate the small victories along the way to your skin goals.

Think about lasting solutions

“No matter how difficult the problem, there is always a quick solution, and leaders are happiest when they are devising solutions to problems,” Peter writes. “The trouble is that, in our zeal to fix things quickly and move on to the next fire, we often overlook the lasting solution that may take longer to develop.” We love this quote! There are always going to be new acne treatment fads and DIY masks and peels, but even though you may see results, these quick fixes may be doing damage to your skin long-term. COSMEDIX’s treatments and regimens give you the results you desire without compromising skin health.

Don’t take it all too seriously

Everyone has improvements they would like to make to their appearance. Keep in mind, though, that these improvements aren’t necessary if they aren’t affecting our health or our happiness. Let your inner beauty radiate and don’t let a few pimples stop you from smiling big and taking charge.

acne treatment

Learn more boss moves by following Peter Economy on Twitter @bizzwriter – and hear more tips in our video below.