I was so happy to discover a dermatologist that has some doubts about the use of retinol in cosmetics. I wrote about it extensively in Chapter 9 of my book.
I am sure that within 10-20 years, we will hear so much more about it and also be able to prove the significant damage that many cosmetics companies have done to our skin. In the meantime, I choose to be on the right side of history...
"The main function of the top layer of the skin is to protect us, to keep away environmental factors. The more retinol you put on, the poorer the barrier function becomes," he said. "This is why a lot of people feel that their skin is very sensitive and experience peeling, flaking, and irritation."
One of the main side effects of using retinol is that it makes your skin more sensitive to UV sunlight, in particular. It's therefore incredibly important that if you're using retinol, you also wear a high SPF sunscreen on top of your moisturiser.
But in vying for the position of "top dog," Patterson says that skincare companies have lost all sense of what's healthy for the skin.
"It’s like a sweet shop with all the different forms of vitamin A that are now available online," he went on. "You have all sorts of unproven claims like 'we have the most potent, the fastest acting, or the most encapsulated retinol,'" he went on, adding that people lack the knowledge of how to use them.
"People randomly combine different ingredients, often from different ranges, with little idea whether the combinations are sensible or balanced. With so much choice and marketing pressure it’s easy to see how skincare routines can become chaotic," he said.
And there's another reason to be wary of retinol overuse, according to Patterson. Cells generally divide to grow and repair the tissue in your body, but normal cells can only divide a finite number of times (about 50, according to the Hayflick Limit), which is one of the primary reasons we age.