Your Guide to Retinol, Anti-Ageing & Pregnancy

After age 20, human skin begins to lose about 1% of collagen each year (1). This process can be also sped up by factors such as chronic stress, poor diet, and smoking.

Women appear to be at greater risk of developing wrinkles with age in comparison to men due to hypo-estrogenism. Throughout a comprehensive study (2) data indicated that the risk of facial wrinkling increases significantly with each full-term pregnancy.

Additionally, estrogen deficiency during post menopause, is associated with decreases in skin collagen, and eventually, wrinkling (3).

With a growing obsession to stay youthful and with still no certified way of freezing age, many of us turn to makeup and skincare for answers and among the anti-aging products and ingredients available, a key player is Retinol.

Why Retinol? What does it do to your skin?

Often, retinol is associated with its functionality in the treatment of acne and wrinkles. Similar to Oxygen Ozone, when applied to the face as a topical treatment, retinol acts as an exfoliant and peels off outer skin layers making way for new skin.

Within our skin, there are structures called retinoic acid receptors (RAR) and retinoid X receptors (RXR). When prescription retinol in the form of retin-A or retinoic acid is applied, retinol binds to the receptors to speed up skin cell production. This causes old cells to die faster and speed up the growth of new cells. Retinol also encourages collagen production so, essentially, it triggers your skin to act younger (2). It also decreases oil gland production, making it a tool to fight acne.

Functionally, retinol helps contribute to epidermal thickness and even out skin complexion, specifically in those suffering from photodamaged skin, large pores, and hyperpigmentation (2). Retinol can be found in products such as our Revitalising Anti-Ageing Gel Treatment, Overnight Cellular Recovery Cream, Anti-Ageing Cellular Renewal Cream & Cellular Repairing Cream for Men.

Keep in mind that it is a potent skincare ingredient. It will take time for your skin to adapt when you first start using retinol. It can initially be drying for your skin and cause redness or flakiness. Always wear sunscreen if you are using retinol because it makes your skin more sensitive to photodamage, so it is ultra-important to protect your skin with SPF when using it.

Can I use Retinol when I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Unfortunately, retinol is considered unsafe to use during pregnancy because it can potentially harm your unborn child. Dermatologists practice an abundance of caution when it comes to topical retinol because of the potentially serious side effects.

Ingredients applied to the skin have the potential to be absorbed into the bloodstream and passed to the baby through the placenta. Research confirms that retinol can be transferred from parent to baby through the placenta, and up to 60 times more while breastfeeding.

Systemic retinoids (those taken by mouth) can cause birth defects. Even though there is a difference between ingesting a retinoid and putting retinol on your skin, the risks are so great that experts think it is better to be safe and avoid both all together.

It’s unfortunate because skin changes are most likely going happen during pregnancy such as dry skin, darkening skin, and acne breakouts. But you must consider switching to products that do not contain retinol or its derivatives (retinyl retinoate, retinaldehyde, or hydroxypinacolone retinoate).

Alternatives to Retinol

Retinol is a great ingredient yes, but there are other fantastic alternatives. Topical antioxidants such as Oxygen Ozone, Glycolic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid & Vitamin C can safely enhance and boost your skin’s vitality, encourage cellular renewal, and build collagen.

Oxygen Ozone is a fantastic retinol alternative because it oxygenates the skin and improves the vitality of the cell (University of Pisa, 2017). Our Oxygen Concentrate Gel has the highest amount of Oxygen ions in our entire collection, with no other main ingredients, preservatives, or additives.

When applied to the skin, Oxygen Ozone acts similarly to retinol by speeding up the cellular renewal process. Additionally, it is very fast acting and also provides the following benefits:

  1. Detoxifies the skin
  2. Treats uneven skin tone
  3. Speeds up cell turnover
  4. Stimulates elastin and collagen production
  5. Mitigates acne
  6. Infuses moisture and hydration
  7. Enhances its natural glow

Check out this routine for those of you seeking anti-ageing goodness while you are pregnant or breast feeding!

Sun protection during pregnancy & breast feeding

Sun protection is one of the most important things you can do for long-term wrinkle and skin cancer protection.

Firstly, try and avoid too much direct sunlight onto the skin by wearing a hat and staying in the shade. When you are wearing sunscreen try mineral-based sunscreens that protect the skin by forcing the UV rays to bounce off of the skin entirely. Mineral-based sunscreen ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

When Can I Resume Using Retinol?

Start re-introducing retinol when you are no longer pregnant or breastfeeding. Due to the risks associated with retinoid use during pregnancy, it is best to be on the safe side. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider to be sure you and your baby are in the clear.

Disclaimer: It's always important to check with your physician and discuss the specific skincare products you want to use. This article is not intended to replace medical advice given to you by your physician. Only they know your medical history, and can offer advice that is appropriate to your individual needs. Your doctor should make all final decisions regarding skincare products and ingredients during pregnancy.



The perfect anti-ageing alternative to Retinol

Oxygen Ozone is a unique and very powerful anti-ageing formula that has no preservatives, no parabens, and is basically pure ionised oxygen atoms that will boost your cellular turnover without giving any nasties to worry about. This soothing gel has the highest percentage of Ozygen Ozone in our entire collection, and it sends oxygen directly to your skin cells to provide an array of anti-ageing and soothing benefits. You will feel your skin tighten immediately after applying.

Hydration & Softening During Pregnancy

Finish your routine with this soothing daywear cream enriched with Jojoba Oil, Hylauronic Acid and Collagen to improve your skin's elasticity. It's a crowd pleaser because its light and doesn't leave your skin feeling oily.

Literature Cited:
1. Babamiri, K., & Nassab, R. (2010). Cosmeceuticals: The Evidence Behind the Retinoids. Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 30(1), 74–77. doi: 10.1177/1090820x09360704
2. Lee, Michelle W., "The Detrimental Side Effects of Retinol: Beyond Beauty Products" (2020). Paper 895 
3. Youn, C. S., Kwon, O. S., Eun, H. C., Chung, J. H., Hwang, E. J., Park, B. J., & Won, C. H. (2003). Effect of Pregnancy and Menopause on Facial Wrinkling in Women. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 83(6), 419–424. doi: 10.1080/00015550310015464