Skin Care

By Suki Kramer

Of course, we’ve all heard of Retinol. It’s touted for its ability to smooth out wrinkles, banish breakouts, tighten pores, diminish brown spots and improve skin texture. Phew! That’s a whole lot for one skin care ingredient to do. But, do any of us really know what retinol is? Why it works? Which one to use?

Whether from the dermatologist or the drug store, the natural product aisle or the department store, retinol, in all its forms, retinoids – which is the collective name for the chemical compounds that include retinol, retinoic acid and many more – are derived from Vitamin A, one of the body’s key nutrients. And there’s a good reason why Vitamin A is one of our “go-to” skin-care ingredients. It is one of the best anti-ager’s out there…when, of course, used within a healthy regimen. Retinol, a form of Vitamin A, is considered a benchmark for anti-aging treatments and has a proven effect on cell renewal. Retinoids, like retinol, can trigger certain changes in your skin that can help you look like you’ve turned back the clock, and help you get your skin back to a healthier place.

By now you’re probably asking, “If retinol is so amazing, what’s the problem?” Well, as it turns out, retinol, like some primitive forms of Vitamin C, is unstable in skin care formulations. This slightly rickety compound is prone to quick degeneration when exposed to oxygen and light. And, while retinol may work wonders, it’s definitely not gentle! Dryness, redness, irritation (and you know, those white patches you get when a product is TOO aggressive without regard for your skin sensitivities?), are often side effects, which make retinol incompatible for most people. You may be familiar with retinol’s cousin, retinoic acid (also known as tretinoin or Retin-A). First used as a prescription-strength treatment for acne in the early 1970s, patients soon began seeing their fine lines disappear, and thus, the frenzy for Retin-A began.

Good News…there is a wonderfully effective natural alternative! Moth Bean Extract (Vigna Aconitifolia), a climbing bean botanical native to India and Pakistan. Drought resistant, the Moth Bean produces seedpods where its nutritive proteins are found. We get the extract from these seedpods which provides effects just like synthetic retinols – helping to support natural collagen production and refine skin texture, as well as the host of other actions listed above. And just like retinol, Moth Bean Extract helps stimulate cell renewal and collagen synthesis which decreases wrinkles. Even better, it provides stability in skin care formulations without the pesky side effects of synthetic chemical retinoids. Clinically backed studies confirm Moth Bean Extract’s retinol-like effect on the skin.

So again, why choose a natural alternative like Moth Bean Retinol over a synthetic?
Well, as we see, advanced actives like Moth Bean Extract perform every bit as well as synthetics. And whatever your skin care issue, you get better results when you use 100% pure ingredients because you get equally active skin care benefits without harsh chemicals that can damage the skin, the body and the planet.

Where can you find Moth Bean Extract? Here are just a few products that use the plant-based alternative to retinol:

Thann’s Jasmine Blossom Rice Extract Body Milk pairs Moth Bean Extract with rice bran oil and shea butter for an intensive moisturizer that protects skin against harmful free radicals.

Jurlique’s Herbal Recovery Night Cream is a high performance, nourishing antioxidant overnight cream, rich in powerful botanical extracts that include African Birch Extract and Kakadu Plum Extract as well as Moth Bean Extract.

MyChelle’s Vitamin A Plus Serum includes 1% retinol as well as naturally derived Moth Bean Extract, which work together to resurface skin, clearing pore blockage and minimizing the appearance of lines. Argan oil, naturally high in Vitamin E and Essential Fatty Acids, works to balance sebum production.

And, finally, you’ll find Natural Retinol in my sukiface® Bio-active Purifying Face Serum and Balancing Day Lotion, among other formulations.

Enjoy the benefits of natural skin care today, which means we can truly have it all!

Originally published November 2012
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