For the first (and probably) only time in my life I really wish I’d taken before and after pictures. I started using Alpha Hydrox Retinol Night ResQ about 6 weeks ago, and the change in my skin is noticeable. Of course I’m pleased about that, but not exactly surprised given it’s many positive reviews.
I started using it to tackle some stubborn fine lines, and though it has certainly helped on that front, there have been other changes as well. The first thing I (and my family) noticed was tightening of the skin around my eyes. The thing of it is I hadn’t really noticed that there was just smallest amount of sagging in that area until this cream started improving it. What I did notice was a loss of skin elasticity overall; again not a lot, but enough to be noticeable to me. Though the tightening started around my eyes it’s now my entire face.
My skin texture has also drastically changed. For the first time since I started using it I used liquid foundation a few days ago. Normally I use mineral powder foundation, but when I use liquid foundation I always use foundation primer. I don’t really need it anymore. My skin is now so smooth that the primer (Vincent Longo Water Canvas Primer) makes my skin almost too slick to apply foundation (Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation). Even with just moisturizer on my skin feels silky smooth now.
I honestly wasn’t expecting those types of improvements, and I must say I’m super impressed by it. For a $15 cream it’s pretty good. Oh speaking of which, this is exactly, and I mean exactly the same as Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment, which retails for $45. The only difference is the packaging; Alpha Hydrox is in a plastic tube and Philosophy in a metal one, though they both hold the same amount of product.
Of course it’s not all sunshine and roses. The purging process sucked. It actually took about 3 weeks, which seemed long, but I think it’s because this is not a super strong retinoid like I’d used in the past. I did not however experience much sensitization or dryness; both lasted maybe 3-4 days. I think that’s a fair trade for the improvements I’ve seen though. Also if you have oily skin this probably won’t be the right retinol treatment for you. According to the FutureDerm Blog reviewing Philosophy Help Me Retinol Treatment (which has an identical formula) it has a high concentration of emulsifying wax which makes it unsuitable to oily/acne-prone skin.
Interestingly this has not been an issue for me until recently. I have dry skin, and of course purging is normal when starting retinoids, so once that was over it hasn’t caused me to break-out. Last week though I started using Metazene Gel (5% niacinamide serum), and it’s hydrating my skin so well using it once daily it keeps my skin normalized for a full 24 hours, which means I wake up a little oily in the morning after using Retinol Night ResQ. I find the Metazene actually hydrated my skin a lot better than my favourite Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Serum (sodium hyaluronate). Anyway, niacinamide has multiple benefits for your skin, which you can read about here.
Unless the oiliness becomes a problem I doubt I’ll switch to another OTC retinoid treatment for the time being.