TBN: Retinol Edition- Neostrata Review
This is my experience using the NeoStrata Skin Active Retinol + NAG Complex which spanned over a little over ten weeks of systematic use. I had used this before but only weekly (almost as a mask?), because I was wary of its strength.
Let me start off by saying this is nuclear stuff for a non-perscription formula. I would not recommend using this if your skin is not used to retinol. If you do decide to use this as your first ever retinol product, you MUST ease into it: use this once a week for two weeks, then take it up to two times a week etc. I had already been using retinol non-stop for about two years, building up to higher-strength formulas such as this.
I started by using it every other night but my skin immediately went *caboom*: it became highly sensitised and any product that I applied, even soothing balms, really stung for minutes. I cut back to every third night and I kept that rhythm for two weeks. Then, I tried every other night again. It was still strong, yes, but my skin could now take it. I apply this on cleansed, dry skin and leave it on for 15 minutes to absorb before applying my serums or creams for the night. This product has peptides in it, meaning you can use it alone, although I prefer to soothe my skin with oils and hyaluronic serums on top.
I noticed a difference straight away. My skin was GLOWING. Tight. Bright. Within days the tone was more even, discolourations started to fade. After the first week, I noticed my skin peeling. It peeled in the thinest of layers, like shedding a slight veil, but it did get on my nerves. In the middle of the day, just when I thought my skin was looking SO good, one quick look in the mirror and suddenly I was shedding all over. Nothing a good, moisturising BB cream can't fix, though. This lasted two days. Then one full week of great skin, then again two days of peeling. This cycle continued until the very end of using this product. Despite many retinol users reporting a phase of acne purge, I had exactly zero pimples throughout. Zero. I am currently testing another very popular retinol product and get about two or three pimples a day. I am beyond annoyed, as you understand. But I'll explain that in due time. In the photo below, my skin the very next day after my peeling days.
I never managed to use this every night, my skin just couldn't take it. Initially, I also applied this to my neck but my skin begged to differ. It felt like an actual burn. I treated the area with balms and after some days, I tried again. Nope. No way. I limited this to my face only.
In the end of my almost three month run with the Neostrata retinol, I was getting tired of using it, because of the neverending cycle of peeling. I was very ready for something milder. Will I use it again?
My skin looks better than ever. Tighter, more clarified, my smile lines visibly softened and reduced in depth. My husband, ever the sceptic devoted to science, admitted he was most definitely seeing the difference. That's a tall order at age 38, when the circus of aging is definitely in town.
I would highly recommend this product. I would suggest using this for specific stretches of time, as an intensive therapy product. Preferably during the winter months when the sunlight is limited. Please make sure your face is protected with a high SPF. If you skip it just once- trust me- your face will be mad. Look out for my upcoming post about how to tackle the more challenging peeling phases of retinol use. If you are careful, you might get the same excellent results I did.
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photo via www.neostrata.com