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Photo: Mari Photographe

Retinol and Collagen: A Pro Breaks it All Down

The first time I met Alessandra Gatti, regional education development manager for NEOSTRATA Quebec, it was for a product launch. I found her really interesting, but we didn’t have time for an in-depth conversation. I promised myself I would pick her brain at a better time. From one product trial to the next, I had the opportunity to ask her some questions over the phone, but we never had the time to go over all the tubes and little pots in person. When NEOSTRATA sent me its latest releases, I thought this would be a good time to schedule a meeting with her so I could benefit from her pro tips before going it alone.

How are the new products different? How do they compliment your line?

Let’s start with the Retinol 0.3% Overnight Peel, which contains 0.3% pure retinol. Retinol is an ingredient that’s been around for a long time. NEOSTRATA is no stranger to retinol and has been using it for years. But with this overnight peel, we’re offering a particularly interesting formula for people would like to use a weekly retinol peel as a booster to add to their daily skincare regimen. The product just launched, and it’s a formula with a high percentage of pure retinol, and what’s great is that in addition to having retinol serums,  we now have it in an overnight peel.

Is this a new method or formulation?

Yes. It’s new because it’s a a new potent, high-level weekly booster peel. After thoroughly cleansing and drying the skin, you open a packet and apply it all over the face, the neck, and decolletage. Avoid the delicate area around the eyes. You don’t need to rinse; once the peel has absorbed, you apply a hydrating cream like the Hydra Filling Cream and you go to sleep. The next morning, wash your face and apply your normal AM skincare routine and sunscreen. It’s a product you only need to use once a week because it’s potent and you don’t need anything more than that. You can see the results pretty quickly! The clinical trials showed visible improvements like firmer, lifted skin and reduced fine lines after only four weeks.

Is that our only retinol treatment?

For that night, yes. You should never combine or layer another active product! A good moisturizer will suffice at night, and then you can resume your anti-aging routine the next day.

Is it better to start a treatment like this in the fall?

Yes because all summer, you’re applying sunscreen and you are in the sun a lot and you’re bathing in a pool with a lot of chlorine or in the sea…It’s time to renew your skin after the summer is over! It’s also a good time because we don’t get as much sun exposure in the winter as we do in the summer. It’s a good time to start a treatment with more potent ingredients. I insist on the fact that it is crucial to wear sunscreen when you’re using retinol. I love Sheer Physical Protection, a non-comedogenic SPF 50 cream without any oil that also treats the look of wrinkles and dark spots.

At what point in our morning routine should we apply sunscreen?

At the very end. It’s the last step before makeup. Wash your skin, apply serum, hydrating cream, and then sunscreen.

Can you talk to me about the other product that is launching?

Yes! It’s the Firming Collagen Booster. It’s a serum you use daily, in the morning and at night. It’s actually one of the very few products on the market that has real collagen in the formula. The others usually have ingredients that support collagen production, but don’t actually contain it.

Can you explain to me what collagen is?

Collagen is a protein that we have in large quantities in the body. There is some in our muscles, tissues and our skin. It’s what gives the skin a plumper look, its elasticity. We have a lot of collagen in the body, but by 20, it starts to degrade rapidly. It’s scaffolding for the skin. When it’s there and firmly planted, so to speak, the skin drapes itself really well over it. It’s smooth and plump. But once that scaffolding degrades, it forms small folds that become wrinkles. And then the skin loses its firmness. This product has low molecular weight collagen  low molecular weight collagen along with a firming booster complex (that targets skin’s natural support matrix), a complex of three ingredients that further firm the skin. It’s really a product for all ages and you can start using it at 20, day and night before applying a treatment specific to your skin’s needs.

I always have the glycolic acid foaming cleanser on hand. Is that good for me? Can I use it before peeling? 

Yes! It’s an all-purpose product that works for everyone, even your partner. Glycolic acid is excellent for men and this foaming cleanser is great for quick and easy cleansing and exfoliating without even realizing it until you touch your smoother skin. Its cloud-like texture feels great on the skin.

Photo: Mari Photographe

Alessandra advice? Always take the time to read directions on product packaging and follow them carefully. This is especially crucial when it comes to products with potent ingredients like retinol. Don’t be swayed by the influencer who tells you that This Product is their favourite; consult the skin expert at the pharmacy instead. These NEOSTRATA products come highly recommended for because Alessandra is experienced and trains everyone in the four corners of the province. My crash course on retinol and collagen was great and I feel so much more comfortable using the products. I’d like to thank Alessandra for her precious time with me. I now feel ready to try out these new products.

Photos: Mari Photographe

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Retinol and Collagen: A Pro Breaks it All Down