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Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, retinol… These are arguably the top three most powerful skincare ingredients that continue to dominate the market today.

But for those of us making the switch to more natural skincare products, the reality is that it can be difficult to find replacements for these incredibly effective ingredients that work wonders for the skin.

Ingredient spotlight: Retinol, the all-in-one skin enhancer

Hand Squeezing Skincare Pipette Source Shiny Diamond Pexels

Source: Shiny Diamond/Pexels

In particular, retinol – a derivative of vitamin A – has proven time and time again the host of positive benefits it can bring to fatigued, aged skin.

Among the obvious benefits that retinol can offer are reduced fine lines and wrinkles and improved skin texture. This powerful anti-ager also has a proven track record of fighting acne and decreasing the chances of future breakouts.

Additionally, retinol is good for restoring skin tone evenness, boosting collagen, and increasing cell turnover. That’s because the ingredient primarily works by encouraging basal cells (found in the lowest layer of the skin) to divide.

As a result, you get more new epidermal cells that migrate up to the skin’s surface. So, the more retinol you apply on the skin, the more these new cells appear at the surface and become what you see on the outside = clear, smooth skin.

Regular use of retinol also kicks in our body’s mechanism that wants to shed the excess skin in order to maintain skin smoothness and clarity, and that’s the exfoliation process.

In essence, this potent ingredient is the one you need if your aim is to slow down or treat key signs of ageing on the skin.

Retinol is powerful, but at what cost?

Woman Applying Skincare Looking Into Mirror Source Cottonbro Pexels

Source: Cottonbro/Pexels

While using retinol undoubtedly makes your skin smoother, overusing any retinol-based skincare products (or even using retinol that’s too strong for your skin) can pose some serious side effects to your mien.

The first that comes to mind is thinning of the skin. We’ve mentioned that retinol has the ability to jump-start your body’s exfoliation process, but overusing it causes the mechanism to prematurely remove skin cells, forcing the turnover of new skin cells.

This creates new skin that looks amazingly good in the short term but causes serious thinning of the skin in the long run.

When you use retinol the wrong way, you’ll also face the onset of skin sensitivity. Issues such as dryness, irritation, flaking, and even redness can creep up especially for those with moderate to sensitive skin.

And in case you’re unaware, it’s also been found that retinol increases skin’s photo-sensitivity, meaning that your skin gets more easily affected by UV sunlight, and therefore should not ever be used during the day.

And while recent studies suggest that retinol is safe for use in pregnant women, the ingredient however is found to have an adverse effect on our cell proliferation.

For the unfamiliar, our cells generally divide to grow and repair the tissue in our body, but normal cells can only divide a finite number of times (about 50, according to the Hayflick Limit), which is one of the primary reasons why we age.

So, experts believe that if you plaster way too much retinol on your skin in your 20s, 30s or even 40s, you could potentially be depleting all of the healthy cell divisions that you should be storing for cell divisions further down your lifetime.

So, is there such a thing as a natural alternative to retinol that’s just as potent?

If the possibility of treading on the dark side of retinol makes you feel uncomfortable, here’s news for you: there is a natural alternative to retinol which offers even more benefits without the unsettling side effects – it is known as the sea fennel extract.

Relying on the silica in the sand as well as the plentiful nutrients carried by ocean waters and breezes for nourishment, sea fennel (scientifically known as Crithmum maritimum) is a succulent plant that has long been utilised for its medicinal and healing purposes.

Not only that, it is also known to be one of the best natural skincare ingredients to foster good skin strength and lustre while delivering anti-ageing benefits.

Among the additional benefits sea fennel can offer include the softening of rough, tough skin, unclogging pores, and increasing skin firmness. But if you think sea fennel is just a plant alternative to retinol, think again.

Since the retinol used in most skincare products are synthetically made, it is believed that the ingredient can only be partially effective because their nourishment isn’t bioavailable. That means it lacks a natural component that allows our body to recognise the vitamins, minerals, and proteins that are present in the ingredient, leaving these nutrients go unprocessed even though they could be beneficial to the skin.

Unlike synthetic retinol, sea fennel stands out because it boasts a multitude of rich, bioavailable nutrients that our body can recognise and process, making this beauty-bestowing plant a powerful anti-ager that can impart major improvements on the skin without imposing any long-term side effects.

Sea fennel, one of the key ingredients in the Lavinia Revive skincare series

Lavinia Revive Skincare Collection

Photo: Daily Vanity

An optimal concentration of this ingredient can be found in Lavinia’s Revive skincare series. Consisting of a Pre-Treatment Essence and a Youth Regenerating Serum, the Lavinia Revive series is powered by two main ingredients – sea fennel and sea holly.

Incorporating sea fennel and sea holly extracts sourced from the Brittany of France in nano-sized molecules for easier absorption, the Lavinia Revive series is designed to be the ultimate early anti-ageing solution for skin regeneration and rejuvenation.

In the formulas, sea fennel is able to help promote skin cell regeneration for a complexion that’s softer, more supple, and naturally luminous from within. Meanwhile, sea holly is a clinically tested and proven ingredient that can help enhance skin radiance, firmness while maintaining long-lasting hydration.

When used together, the Lavinia Revive Pre-Treatment Essence and Youth Regenerating Serum can effectively repair the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and any imperfection on your skin within 28 days to give you a complexion that is more refined and resilient. In other words, your skin will regain its youthful spring from within.

In fact, a clinical study conducted by Lavinia found that the Revive series offers immediate lifting and tightening effects from the first application itself! The study also showed that 100% of users who’ve tried the Revive Pre-Treatment Essence and Youth Regenerating Serum duo were highly satisfied with the visible anti-ageing results seen on their skin – some even said they looked 150% more youthful than before.

Hero products from the Lavinia Revive series: First impressions

Lavinia Revive Skincare Collection Star Products Edited

Photo: Daily Vanity

If you’re wondering about the texture of the skincare duo, fret not: Daily Vanity tried on the products to find out if they offer an equally impressive application experience. To start, the Lavinia Revive Pre-Treatment Essence comes in a pump bottle packaging and is to be applied after cleanser and before the serum.

It’s recommended to apply it using a cotton pad, and with many essences in the market that come in a regular bottle packaging, it might feel a bit troublesome at first to have to pump out the essence onto a cotton pad.

However, this packaging has proven to be an effective way of preventing wastage and spillage as you get to have better control of dispensing the amount of product you need for the entire face and neck.

Lightweight in texture, the Pre-Treatment Essence absorbs into the skin fairly quickly and leaves behind a lingering essential oil-like scent.

Meanwhile, the Lavinia Revive Youth Rejuvenating Serum is a mildly cloudy formula that is easily dispensed with its dropper pipette packaging. Just like the Pre-Treatment Essence, it quickly disappears as soon as you massage the serum into the skin, leaving behind a relaxing aroma on the face.

You’ll also be happy to know that the Lavinia Revive skincare series is ideal for all skin types, and is even suitable for expectant and nursing mothers.

The Lavinia Revive Pre-Treatment Essence and Youth Rejuvenating Serum retail for S$90 and S$170 respectively, and can be purchased online. Join the complimentary Lavinia membership program now and you’ll be able to receive one full-size product* of your choice for free with the promo code ‘lovelavinia‘.

*Terms and conditions apply.

About Lavinia

Developed by M One, Lavinia is the newest luxury natural beauty brand to be launched in Singapore.

A pure and natural skincare brand that combines advanced skincare concepts with delicate sensibilities to meet the real needs of consumer’s skin, Lavinia formulates all its products with 100% natural ingredients sourced only from Europe and forgoes synthetic preservatives as well as other elements like silicones, parabens, phthalates, synthetic dyes, sulphates, mineral oils, and petrolatum, just to name a few.

Offering a comprehensive line of products that are suitable for all skin types and ages, Lavinia has garnered multiple awards for its natural and gentle yet powerful skincare solutions, including the Prize of the Jury and several Grand Gold Quality certifications from Monde Selection.

A firm believer of nature’s infinite possibilities, you can count on Lavinia to take you to the pinnacle of the next generation of natural skincare that seamlessly marries nature and science for effortless, everyday beauty.

Win a limited-edition Lavinia Discovery Kit!

Be one of the 15 lucky winners to take home a set of Lavinia Discovery Kit (worth S$60)! Click on the box for instructions on how to participate in this giveaway.

Brought to you by Lavinia.