Retinol. Should I Stop Using it?

I am always asked about Retinol.  Is it evil?  Can I still use it?  Do you use it?

Retinoic Acid (the active bit of all retinols) is found in many skincare products claiming ‘anti-ageing’ benefits.  And it certainly is proven to make skin look younger.  So why is everyone questioning me about it once they learn about the process of how we age? 

It is because Retinoids (this family of chemicals derived from Vitamin A) increase skin cell production/division (proliferation).

And everyone here knows that cell division = ageing.

New around here? Let me explain.

Every time a cell divides the telomeres (caps on the tips of our DNA) shorten. When telomeres get too short (after dividing approximately 50 times) the cell dies. This is how cells age and thus how people age. Scientists worldwide agree telomere shortening is the root cause of all ageing. Certain actions can speed up telomere shortening or slow it down, but this process of ageing is literally embedded in our DNA.

Cell division = ageing

Speeding up cell turnover accelerates telomere shortening, making our limited number of divisions, called the Hayflick Limit, occur faster. Professor Leonard Hayflick proved some 70 years ago that accelerating cell division leads to premature ageing and cell death. 

Clearly bad.

So here’s the good stuff about retinol (which is why people want to carry on using it).  It helps unclog pores, increases collagen production, can strengthen the protective function of the epidermis, assist with hydration levels and protect collagen against degradation. And that evil increased cell turnover we just spoke about? For a while it makes your skin feel smoother.

Clearly good.

So what is the trade-off here?

Skin cells with short telomeres have functional defects and do not perform their best (think of something old versus something young). They are no longer good at producing collagen and elastin which helps make up the cushiony mattress of our skin and their crucial ability to repair skin is minimised.

So you may be getting those fresh cells to the surface faster and unclogging your pores but at the same time you are undisputedly accelerating the ageing process of your skin. As skin ages its cell production capabilities also reduce – cells are replaced at a slower rate so your skin gets thinner and thinner. Essentially by accelerating cell turnover you are forcing your skin to get older, faster.

With Retinoids you can do this in varying degrees.  A mild retinoid chemical you may not even notice you have applied it.  As far as I’m concerned gentle is best.

Strong retinoids can cause dryness, redness, irritation and flaking of the skin.  Pretty intense if you ask me, yet ‘skincare providers’ are trained to instruct you that this is a normal ‘retinoid response’ and to just carry on until your skin gets used to it!  Not only are you now dealing with accelerated telomere shortening from Retinol’s mechanism of increasing cell production but you are taking a double hit from the inflammation and damage that the chemical is causing and your skin is desperate to repair (yes, you guessed it – through cell division!)

What about the Good Stuff from using retinol, What if I still want that?

I’m often asked, ‘can I use retinol with One Truth 818’ and my honest answer is ‘You shouldn’t be using retinols WITHOUT using One Truth 818 products that contain the active ingredient TAM-818 (our Serum and Atomiser)!

TAM of course, standing for Telomerase Activating Molecule.

So, what is telomerase?

Telomerase is an enzyme produced from the telomerase gene, discovered by Dr Bill Andrews and dubbed ‘the greatest discovery since antibiotics. In all cells with the exception of our reproductive cells, this gene is switched off and no enzyme is expressed. But the enzyme has the ability to re-lengthen telomeres. If there is telomerase present the telomere can rebuild itself and literally reverse the ageing process by becoming longer and thus younger again.

It has been shown that keratinocytes have a greatly increased capacity for cell division when they are expressing telomerase and arguably that it could even immortalize them. 

Activating this enzyme by switching on the telomerase gene is the holy grail of age reversal, in fact THE only way to make a cell truly younger again. At Dr Bill Andrews research lab in Reno, Nevada the discovery was made that TAM-818 is the world’s strongest Telomerase Activator by over 300x.

Given that retinoids increase cell division and accelerate telomere shortening you’ll want to ensure, at the same time, that those cells are expressing telomerase so that they can simultaneously repair themselves and handle the extra cell division with less long term damage and accelerated shortening.

My Tips:

IF you want to use retinol products for their good benefits you must use One Truth 818 to mitigate the bad benefits (accelerated telomere shortening). 

Do not use something so strong that it causes irritation, inflammation and loss of skin – that’s just craziness!

Retinoids will make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so I suggest using at night time and apply SPF every single day or you’ll be landed with sun-induced pigmentation.  Not negotiable!

So, YES, in a sense retinol is ‘evil’, a bad choice for anti-ageing. But you may feel the bad outweighs the good.

YES, you should use One Truth 818 products with Retinoids, they will not stop each other from working.

YES, I do use a retinol on a non-regular basis, typically if I have had some hormonal breakouts and the remnants are making my chin an uneven texture and it does work to clear this.  However I use TAM-818 at least twice a day, it’s like an insurance policy for my skin, so I use retinol wisely.  I also wear SPF everyday, which is critical for safe retinol use.

With Truth, Trust and Earnest,


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