I’m a fan of new ingredients in beauty products, but the mainstay in my arsenal of skincare treatments is retinol. It’s been backed up by serious clinical trials for a long time now, yet I still meet women who say they are hesitant to commit to using a retinol long term because of the common side effects, irritation and dryness that affects even the most tenacious of skins, like mine. I can walk into a derm’s office for a lunchtime peel and see no redness when I walk out, but a few days’ worth of retinol serum can leave my skin unbalanced, desperately absorbing my moisturizer and BB cream for dear hydration.
It’s no secret that “cure all” retinols work beneath the surface of the skin to repair unseen damage from the sun and early aging. “Retinol is one of the best and most effective anti-aging and anti-acne ingredients available,” says dermatologist Harold Lancer (Beyoncé trusts her flawless face with him), “but it can be incredibly harsh on sensitive or reactive skin.”
After years of trial and error, Lancer has developed a proprietary, botanical-based complex that contains MIMIXYL™, which has shown to work much like a retinol and activate the skin’s retinoid receptors to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, and to improve the skin’s overall clarity. When coupled with glycolic acid (to brighten) and floral botanicals (to calm), the complex helps skin look younger and more radiant.
Lancer’s Younger: Pure Youth Serum ($275), the gentler alternative to over-the-counter retinols, launches this month. Ideal for even the most delicate of complexions, the satiny smooth serum glides on beautifully, leaves zero filmy residue, and absorbs fast. One rule: it needs to be accompanied by moisturizer around the clock, doctor’s orders. “Apply at night only to freshly polished and cleansed skin and follow by a rich moisturizer,” says Lancer. “In the morning, cleanse skin and apply moisturizer followed by an SPF of at least 45. Because MIMIXYL™ speeds your skin cells’ lifecycle, it makes skin more sensitive to the sun.”
I ditched my regular retinol and dutifully tested this overnight for two straight weeks. Perhaps because I piled on a heavy-duty, old lady night cream with each use, I didn’t experience any dehydration. I did find my skin to be soft, well-hydrated, and healthy looking at the end of the trial period.
I have one last piece of advice to pass along. “Many women (and men too) make the mistake of slathering on copious amounts of a clinical-grade treatment with the mindset that more is better,” says Lancer. “With MIMXL (and nearly all clinical grade anti aging treatments), overusing the product can strip skin and cause dryness, redness, flakiness, and irritation.” In other words, a teensy drop is enough to do the job and do it right.