For those who have a serious interest in skincare that goes beyond clever marketing and fancy packaging, the NeoStrata Retinol + NAG Complex is one of the big launches of the year. Though NeoStrata already have products that contain a small amount of retinol this is their first focused retinol treatment and it’s been a long time in the making.
There’s two things that make it special. Firstly, it’s been formulated to minimise skin irritation which is a common side effect from using retinols. Secondly, it contains a high concentration (4%) of NeoStrata’s patented NeoGlucosamine which works in conjunction with the retinol for an enhanced anti-ageing effect.
NeoGlucosamine is a non-acid amino sugar that has multiple actions. It’s a building block for hyaluronic acid which gives skin it’s smooth, plump and firm appearance. Though there’s plenty of topical HA serums available they mainly have a superficial and temporary hydrating effect. It’s far better to use ingredients that encourage skin to produce its own HA. NeoGlucosamine also inhibits the production of tyrosinase which is responsible for hyper-pigmentation so extended use will lead to a more even skin tone. Further, NeoGlucosamine gently exfoliates skin which boosts cell renewal and leads to improved texture.
The advantages of using retinol have been widely discussed before but to recap it prevents and treats all signs of skin ageing. No other topical skincare ingredient has repeatedly been proven to produce such good results. Retinol + NAG Complex contains 2.5% retinol encapsulate which is the equivalent to 0.5% retinol. It has been stabilised and the packaging protects it from light and air. Both of these things are important as retinol can degrade easily.
The problem with retinol products is that people quickly give up using them because of the side effects such as dryness, skin flaking etc. I’ve been using retinols for years now and my skin still reacts to it. A study showed that 90% of testers found Retinol + NAG Complex to be non-irritating. However, with retinol products, it’s not just a case of slapping them on. Everyone will have different levels of tolerance and it’s worth learning to read your skin, so to speak, so that you can continue using it over the long term as the benefits are so good.
I’ve been experimenting with Retinol + NAG Complex and quite easily found a way to use it that avoids irritation. As I said before, everyone’s skin is different but I think my experience can act as a good guide. Firstly, if you haven’t used a retinol product before it’s important to start off slowly i.e 2x a week and adding a day when you feel your skin is ready. The other most important thing is that you only need to use a really small amount – the biggest pitfall of using retinols is using too much. Usefully, Retinol + NAG Complex comes with a pump dispenser and my face can tolerate one pump 5x a week. I’ve tried using more but that results in irritation. The neck can be more even more sensitive than the face as the skin’s thinner and there are less oil glands. I’m not sure if my neck is particularly sensitive but I can’t tolerate any more than one pump 2x a week.
A good cleanser to use before applying Retinol + NAG Complex is the Glycolic Foaming Wash. Professional advice varies on whether you need to wait between cleansing and applying a retinol product but I leave a gap of 10/15 minutes. After applying Retinol + NAG Complex I like to use Dermal Replenishment about 30/60 minutes later. I’ve reviewed it HERE but, in brief, it’s an amazing moisturiser and I’m on about my 4th bottle. Sun protection is essential when using a retinol as it makes skin more photo-sensitive. My favourite sunscreen continues to be Sheer Physical Protection SPF 50 PA++++. I’ve lost count of the number of bottles I’ve got through but I now buy it in bulk. On particularly sunny days I use Ultrasun SPF 30 Face first.
I’ve been using an increasing number of NeoStrata products as they’re high performing and well priced. I also find it re-assuring that more and more cosmetics doctors are recommending them. NeoStrata Retinol + NAG Complex is a very welcome new launch and I strongly suspect it’s going to be making an appearance in my favourite products of the year post. It’s £54.89 and available HERE.
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