Product expert: ”We will see more exciting combinations or ’hybrids’ with retinol in the future”
Katarina Mesan shares her main reasons why the vitamin A has become such a vital part of the skincare industry.
25 Feb 2022

The highly multi-functional ingredient is usually recommended for signs of ageing, hyperpigmentation, or acne.

— Research concludes many benefits for the skin, Mesan explains. Many of us wish to keep our skin in a good condition and prevent premature ageing, where retinol truly can make a difference.

And what is so special about it? Can you point out the special benefits?

– Retinol stimulates an increased collagen synthesis
– It normalizes the elastic tissue in the skin so that skin appears firmer and more even
– Furthermore, it inhibits collagen degradation and helps preserve the firmness longer
– Retinol also stimulates the epidermal ”proliferation” — basically the cell renewal process and skin cell shedding, which people often think of as exfoliation — so that the skin becomes more smooth
– It inhibits tyrosinase (a group of enzymes that contributes to the skin’s pigmentation process, Ed’s note) activity and melanosome (specialized structures that perform various jobs inside cells) transfer in the skin which means that discolouration is improved and the skin tone more even
– Retinol can also have positive benefits on acne-prone skin, by helping to unclog pores, enabling the skin to repair itself, and diminish the appearance of acne marks

As vice president and product manager of HBS Nordic, Mesan works with the distribution of renowned science-based skincare brand Neostrata in the region. Due to the well-documented effect on the skin, several of the products include retinol, but with a twist.

— We combine retinol with our own patented ingredient, Neoglucosamine (an amino sugar technology that gently exfoliates skin, Ed’s note), which is a relatively novel and unique approach when formulating products with retinol. These two in combination provide enhanced benefits compared to each ingredient on its own.

There have been scientific reports stating that the retinol’s effect is heavily reduced only after a few weeks once stored at room temperature. What’s your view on this?

— It is indeed an unstable ingredient that needs to be formulated, packaged, and stored properly to protect and preserve the benefits, says Mesan. Some brands’ products might be developed for cold storage and others are not. All products are tested for stability under many different conditions and each manufacturer knows under what conditions its products and ingredients work best. Not all products benefit from cold storage and most importantly, not all products with retinol are the same.  

Will this retinol hype continue, you think?

— Interesting question! For us, the formulation is always the key to an efficacious formula and we strive to create as beneficial formulas as possible with well-researched ingredients, hype or not. Retinol will for sure be one of the main ingredients in skincare onwards thanks to the solid background and benefits. New formats or combinations may be introduced, such as the mentioned combination of retinol and Neoglucosamine, in order to obtain even better effects or to create better tolerability for example. So, I guess that we will probably see more exciting combinations or ’hybrids’ in the future.