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I pondered about a decent beginning of this review. Then decided that it is best to just resume it to this: This product is great!
I have to say that after using NCN Pro All-Trans Retinol 2.0% ($58) I will definitely add it to my skincare regimen in its own right. Along with proper cleansing and physical exfoliation I found that this retinol product made the biggest difference in the overall condition of my skin, which looks not far from flawless right now. Something that the French would call the "grain" of my skin (think of "grain" as in "grainy image"), or texture in English, was greatly improved - Photoshopped might be a cliché, but is still the closest description to what I have achieved!
I have never used retinol products before and was curious as well as cautious as to what to expect. Still I was hoping it will do something for me because retinol prevents acne break outs and works well with combo/oily skins. I am 36 and have combination skin that is prone to break outs and permanent pore clogging due to the mineral sunscreen I use as well as daily pollution and sebum secretion. I am regularly dry brushing and exfoliating, but results are only temporary and all in all unsatisfactory. In summer despite my constant efforts at cleansing and using non comedogenic products it always get worse - I would finish by having the odd pimple, red bumps, black heads and white heads. This in turn makes my skin tone irregular and blotchy.
Having read Marta's reserves about retinol and possible side effects (over exfoliation, higher light sensitivity, reaching the Hayflick limit) I decided to apply NCN Pro All-Trans Retinol 2.0% 2 to 3 times a week (every third night). The product is very pleasant to use, a light yellowish cream with no remarkable smell. I would apply it at night after thoroughly cleansing. On the nights of the week I was not using NCN Trans Retinol I was using YBF Restore - a powerful vitamin C serum that played really nice with the Trans Retinol. I am actually sure that these two formed a power couple and greatly enhanced each other's potency.
I have not experienced any irritation at all. Not only that - due to the different oils, incorporated in the formula, I didn't feel the need for additional moisturiser afterwards, my skin would feel nicely hydrated. It would soak without any residue. I also used it around the eyes, as prescribed, and did not encounter any problem at all.
For three weeks I was not seeing particular results. But then towards the end of the one month trial period it was obvious - it worked! And the results seemed tailored to my needs and problems - for a month, in the peak of summer, I didn't experience a single break out. Not even the smallest pimple due to a clogged pore. The biggest improvement was in the texture of my skin - it became regular and radiant, my pores - smaller, wrinkles have been diminished. I didn't get a single new sun spot while being outside all day long (I was applying sunscreen, but still). When I would wash my face in the morning, my skin would be polished and toned. The results definitely deserved before and after pictures.
After a recent weekend trip to Paris (think subway, late nights and alcohol) my face was in bad shape. Pimples have begun to form on the chin where black heads were prominent and the skin was rugged to the touch. I decided on a shock therapy - after cleansing I passed the Clarisonic with the Suki exfoliating cleanser and finally applied NCN Pro Retinol. The next morning I could not believe how good my skin looked. A little miracle!
To sum it up, NCN Pro Retinol is a keeper. Maybe it is only my skin that responds so well, but I doubt it - it is a life saver for someone with greasy patches on their forehead, open or clogged pores and black heads. It is true though that it should be a part of an appropriate skin regime which would compound the results. By which I mean a proper cleansing and physical exfoliation as well as a Vitamin C serum at night. For me NCN Pro Retinol worked even if I only applied it every third night (which also means that I have plenty left!), so one could not abuse with retinol and still get a happy ending!
Ingredients in NCN Pro All-Trans Retinol 2.0%: Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Grape Seed Oil, Avocado Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Corn Oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Aloe Leaf Juice, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Polyglyceryl-3 Stearate, Palm Stearic Acid, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Zemea, Cetearyl Alcohol, Vegetable Glycerine, Vitamin E, Cucumber Extract, Elder Flower, Mallow Extract, Comfrey Extract, Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Levulinate, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Optiphen. Retinol 2% (Water, Phospholipids, Retinol), 5% Trylagen(r) PCB.