Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment

What is it?

‘Sun damage that won’t go away? Wrinkles keeping you up at night? Don’t get mad, get powerful.’
or in other words – an overnight retinol anti-ageing treatment.

Who is it for?
‘Acne, Anti-Ageing, Breakouts, Brown Spots, Wrinkles’ 

Anyone looking for a proven anti-ageing treatment.

What’s in it?
(What isn’t in it!?!! —>)

Aqua, Dimethicone (silicone slip agent), Glycerin (skin-repairing ingredient), Butylene Glycol (slip agent/penetration enhancer), Isononyl Isononanoate (emollient), Castor Isostearate Succinate (skin conditioning agent), Glyceryl Stearate (emulsifier), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (thickener), Dimethicone Crosspolymer (silicone thickener/texture enhancer), PEG-33 (binding agent), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), Behenyl Alcohol (fatty alcohol thickener), Retinol (cell-communicating ingredient), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Ceramide 2 (skin-repairing ingredient), Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (cell-communicating ingredient), Palmitoyl Oligopeptide (cell-communicating ingredient), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin-repairing ingredient), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernal Extract (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Salix Alba (Willow) Root Extract (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols (antioxidants/skin-conditioning agent), Lecithin (cell-communicating ingredient), Allantoin (anti-irritant), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Hydrolized Soy Protein (antioxidant), sorbitan Laurate (emulsifier), Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester (anti-irritant), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Hydroxyethylcellulose (thickener), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Tribehenin (emollient), Caprylyl Glycol (skin-conditioning agent), Ethylhexylglycerin (skin conditioning agent), Pentylene Glycol (slip agent), PEG-100 Stearate (thickener), PEG-75 Shea Butter Glycerides (emollient), PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer (film-forming agent), PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol (fatty acid-based thickener), PEG-8 Dimethicone (sillicon-based skin-conditioning agent), PEG-14 (thickener), Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate (binding agent), Polymethylsilsesquioxane (sillicone-based opacyfying agent), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate (slip agent), Arachidyl Glycoside (emulsifier), Sclerotium Gum (thickener), Arachidyl Alcohol (thickener), Benzoic Acid (preservative), Sodium Carbomer (gel based thickener), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?
Silicones (I don’t mind silicones at all but I know some of you do)

Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?
Man made, vegan as far as I can see.

Tested on animals/sold in China?

What’s not in it?
Fragrance, mineral oil (odd considering the brand champions it, but also sensible considering this ingredient needs to penetrate and it won’t do that if it’s in a mineral oil base), parabens

How do you use it?
‘Apply a pea-sized amount after cleansing and toning, and then follow with your Paula’s Choice serum and/or nighttime moisturizer. When first using the Clinical 1% Retinol, start with no more than three evenings per week, then gradually increase frequency to every other night and, finally, every evening as tolerated (measure how your skin responds). Avoid the lips, direct contact with the eye, and corners of the eyes. You may apply up to the orbital bone of the eye area.’

Good, sensible instructions except for the ‘follow with PC serum and/or moisturiser’. You could perfectly well follow this with a serum or moisturiser from one of Paula’s competition – just try and avoid using one that contains a lot of retinol/vitamin A!

What’s good about it?
This is a good product. If you read the website you’d think it was the second coming of Jesus (can’t blame them for that – it IS their brand after all) – but nonetheless, it is indeed a good product.
It is not, as they claim, the strongest retinol on the market without prescription, brands like Skinceutcals have been doing 1% retinol treatments for years.
This moisturises nicely, gives me no ‘burn’ or irritated feeling and is fragrance-free, which I know will please a lot of you! Results for me were good, no peeling or redness at all, but then my skin may be more acclimatised to retinols than yours, so always take heed from the tips on the website.
If you aren’t using vitamin A products at the moment, and you are in your 20’s or have acne scarring, try this.
If you aren’t using vitamin A products at the moment and you are the other side of 30, you need to get with the programme because your face will fall off by the time you’re 70.
Slight exaggeration, but you get my point. Vitamin A takes your face to the gym. It needs the exercise. Embrace it. Even if you do it while lying on the sofa watching Corrie.

What’s not so good about it?
It’s not that it’s ‘not good’, but that ingredient list tells you everything you need to know about most US brands. They take a ‘throw everything at it and something will work approach’ – it’s like a buffet in an all-you-can-eat-restaurant. Offer everything, there will be something for everyone. Or in this case, offer everything, something will give results.

That being said, retinol/proper anti-ageing creams will always be more complicated formulas than most natural ones. Which is fine by me. You get to a certain age, if you really want results, you need to embrace the chemical. Sorry but it’s true. I’m all for natural and organic cleansers and moisturisers, but nothing is more anti-ageing than proper clinical vitamin A. You don’t get that from bloody rosehips IMO. This retinol actually works.

Where to use in your routine?
After toning, before serum and/or moisturiser.

Similar products? (Similar, not same)
Skinceuticals 1% Retinol
Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution

Brand Website – very good:

Incidentally, everything I hate about bad websites (too numerous to mention) is the exact opposite of the website for Paula’s Choice. It has ingredients, explanations, great product information and good advice. If I was marking websites, hers is hard to beat. Cult Beauty is another one that comes to mind for a retailer, but brand-wise, this is the dog’s gonads.

Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Treatment is £51.50 for 30ml and only available online at said website..