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I started using prescription Retin-A (Tretinoin), a vitamin A derivative, around my 40th birthday to treat the most welcoming of gifts: fine lines and adult acne. Retin-A seemed to work well for me with no flakiness or irritation on my combo skin. The rest of my skincare routine was lackadaisical until I came upon the Truth in Aging site and learned more about skincare in general and more specifically, a philosophy about Retin-A alternatives.
As my 46th birthday approached, I was tempted to dig for the long-forgotten tube of Retin-A. Clinical studies have proven that it impacts skin positively (at the molecular level), increasing collagen levels and reducing pore size, so why not? Without getting into the pro/con Retin-A debate, I wanted a “sure thing” for my birthday.
Tilth Beauty’s A Flawless Serum ($62 in the shop) comes close. It contains retinol, the over the counter version of Retin-A, though I can’t tell what strength or what Tilth means when it says they “are using the latest technology which stabilizes the form and releases it over time.” I noticed a definite improvement in the brightness and clarity of my skin after only two weeks of nightly application. Knowing Retin-A carries a warning of skin sensitivity if used during the day, I ignored that even though the instructions on the bottle recommend it.
I’m not sure if I became immune to noticing the affects over time or if the two weeks I spent interviewing for a new job dimmed the glow, but they didn’t last as long as I hoped. I still recommend this product to people wanting a gentle retinol product containing natural ingredients though for myself, I’ll likely move on to something stronger, since I know my skin can take it. The serum is light, spreads easily, plays well with night creams and carries only a faint pleasant smell.
A Flawless Serum contains some ingredients that may be contributing to the brightening affect, such as, myrtle leaf extract and/or the adaptonyl (Indian Ginseng root) extract. I have never used either in skincare before. I couldn’t find much on the myrtle leaf extract (hydrolyzed Myrtus Communis) besides a general recommendation for use in anti-aging skincare. The Tilth site makes stronger claims of it “signifcantly reduc[ing] the appearance and number of wrinkles and length of wrinkles...” According to the ingredients section of TIA, not much is known about Indian ginseng, though I can attest to NOT experiencing any of the aphrodisiac effects!
I appreciate the lack of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, petroleum-based products, silicones, synthetic fragrances and GMOs in Tilth Beauty products – not something that can be said for most drugstore retinol products or prescription Retin-A.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Glycerin, Alcohol, Retinol, Hydrolyzed Myrtus Communis Leaf Extract, Withania Somnifera (Indian Ginseng) Root Extract, Xanthan Gum, Cyclodextrin, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate