How Does Aging Happen?

Aging is a natural part of being human. As the years go by, our organs undergo a lot of physical changes. Our skin is our largest organ designed to protect us from the outside elements. Skin consists of two layers, the epidermis and dermis. The epidermis is the top layer of skin composed of keratinocytes which are our skin cells that produce keratin. The dermis is the underlying layer which contains collagen, elastin, and other proteins that provide our skin with its structure. Skin is the most exposed organ to environmental stressors, such as UV radiation, physical and chemical injuries, pathogens, and water loss.² Therefore, it undergoes a lot of changes in appearance and function as we get older which also affects our psychological views.

There are two distinct types of aging: intrinsic (chronological aging) and extrinsic (photoaging).² Intrinsic aging occurs due to the normal passing of time while extrinsic aging is due to continuous exposure to UV radiation. Both forms also experience a reduction in collagen production and an increased breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers. This can result in thinning of both the epidermis and dermis, sagging, fragility, delayed wound healing, and cancer susceptibility.

In Come Retinoids – What Do They Do?

Retinoids are the blanket term for natural derivatives of vitamin A (i.e. retinaldehyde, retinoic acid, retinol, retinyl esters).¹ They were discovered during WWI and research has shown a lot of promise in their ability to improve photo and chronological aging. Vitamin A cannot be synthesized by the body but instead we can supply it, although naturally it is present as retinyl esters or beta-carotene in the body. Retinoids are important for a number of processes in our body such as embryogenesis, reproduction, vision, growth, inflammation, differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis.¹

Topical retinoids have been known through clinical studies to thicken the epidermis and dermis and increase cellular turnover. They also help to promote collagen production and reduce MMP activity. MMP stands for Matrix Metalloproteinases which are enzymes that break down collagen fibers, especially when exposed to UV radiation or inflammation. Thanks to retinoids, this activity is lessened! Retinoids also help to increase blood vessels in the dermis, reduce oxidative stress, and improve gene and cell differentiation. They are also known to improve hyperpigmentation by exfoliating pigmented cells and decreasing tyrosinase activity (tyrosinase is an enzyme that is key in the production of melanin). Retinoids are also being used in combination therapy for skin disorders such as acne and psoriasis due to its increased shedding of dead skin cells.

Retinoid Conversion

Although there are several derivatives of vitamin A, they all convert to retinoic acid within the skin for it to be active and used. The chart below shows a good visual of how many conversions it takes for the different retinoids to convert to retinoic acid. Retinyl esters are typically the least effective forms of vitamin A as they take longer to convert. However, they are more gentle and less irritating. Retinol is the most common form of vitamin A used in over-the-counter skincare; there are some individuals who experience some initial dryness and irritation due to its instability. Retinaldehyde, also known as retinal, is one of the more effective forms as it precursors retinoic acid.¹ It is more controlled and effective while exhibiting less adverse effects compared to the other derivatives. Finally, retinoic acid is the final conversion and active form of vitamin A. It is well-known and available as a prescription medicine called Tretinoin. Although super effective for photoaging, individuals experience erythema, irritation, and dermatitis when using a high strength tretinoin (0.25%). Lower concentrations are recommended although it will take longer to see results. Overall, no matter which form of vitamin A you choose, they will all help to increase collagen production, improve hyperpigmentation, promote cell turnover, and reduce fine lines/wrinkles with consistent usage.

Hale and Hush Rare Retinal Serum Benefits

As pictured in the above conversion chart, our Hale & Hush Rare Retinal Serum contains a patented form of vitamin A which is known as IconicA®. It is a stable form of retinaldehyde offering the highest efficacy with less irritation as it only takes one conversion to become retinoic acid. It is also formulated with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and anti-glycation ingredients making it perfect for relieving oxidative stress and improving collagen integrity. In a 4-week study, 90% of women saw significant improvement in radiance/brightness, tactile and visual smoothness, fine lines, photo damage, and overall skin tone. It is recommended to start using our serum 2-3 times a week, then slowly increase to everyday usage or however often the individual’s skin can handle.

 Potential Side Effects and Proper Usage

With any skincare product, there is always the risk of adverse reactions/side effects. Retinoids have a known reputation for causing dryness, irritation, and redness, especially when first incorporating it. Depending on the brand you use, the best way to start a retinoid is to start slow while also using hydrating and moisturizing products to support the skin barrier. Most retinoids recommend using it 2-3 times a week, then increasing to every other day, and then eventually every day until the side effects are no longer an issue. In addition, it is recommended to use retinoids during your nighttime routine. Since it can increase cellular turnover and bring more new skin cells to the surface, your skin will be more susceptible to UV damage during the day. Frequent sunscreen use is also important when using retinoids as you want to continue to protect your skin from photodamage breaking down more collagen and elastin (do not let all the retinoid’s hard work go to waste)!


Overall, vitamin A and its many forms have wonderful benefits for our skin. The side effects of aging can finally be combated with retinoid use! More research is currently being done on how to properly deliver retinoids into the skin with less irritation and negative reactions. Retinaldehyde is currently a promising derivative and is being more widely recognized in the esthetics industry. So if you want to fight aging, improve pigmentation, and prevent acne, a retinoid might just be for you!



¹Mukherjee, Siddharth, et al. “Retinoids in the treatment of Skin aging: An overview of clinical efficacy and safety.” Clinical Interventions in Aging, vol. 1, no. 4, Dec. 2006, pp. 327–348,

²Quan, Taihao. “Human skin aging and the anti-aging properties of retinol.” Biomolecules, vol. 13, no. 11, 4 Nov. 2023, p. 1614,

³Saurat, Jean Hilaire, et al. “Topical retinaldehyde on human skin: Biologic effects and tolerance.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology, vol. 103, no. 6, Dec. 1994, pp. 770–774,

Retinoids and Pro-Aging
by Krisstan Herrmann

Cult Favorite Product Get’s A Nick Name

Ok, Hale & Hush has become the breakout cult product line for 2019.  It won 3 L+A Fav Awards this year and has become the go-to companion line because it’s a sensitive skin line that works well with virtually every other brand.  Loved by so many, the brand’s key products are even earning nicknames.  Their Brilliant Eye & Lip Serum, an antioxidant eye treatment product that is full of liquid crystals has been dubbed Unicorn Tears because of its pink, rainbow colored shimmery appearance… Access Full PDF Article Here.

by Jenni Nagle, Beauty Industry Blogger
As seen on September 18, 2019

Marula oil, with its powerful mix of antioxidants, skin-loving vitamins, and anti-inflammatory properties, is an ingredient you should have in your treatment room. Marula oil has a clear, light yellow color and nutty smell. The oil can be used on its own as a cold-pressed, unrefined oil, or as an ingredient in skin and hair products. Marula oil comes from the marula tree (Sclerocaryabirrea). The two main types of marula oil are the oil extracted from the hard shell of the nut and the oil extracted from the seeds…. Access Full PDF Article Here.

Loaded with fatty acids and antioxidants, marula oil is a powerful ingredient
by Kris Campbell, Founder/Managing Director, Hale & Hush and Eclectic Solutions
As seen in Skin Deep Magazine – May/June 2019

Today’s skin care professional needs to stay up to date on the newest ingredients out there. Our clients are always searching for the latest and greatest as well. It is always good to stay on top of what is trending but also do your research in a variety of areas so you can make a decision whether the information gathered will apply to your clients’ skin concerns. In 2017, a few natural ingredients on the minds of both professionals and consumers include: probiotics, saffron stem cells, squalane, tripeptide and marvel of Peru for inflammation, and monkeygrass.

Our clients are reading up on probiotics in consumer magazines. They then look to their skin care professional to have skin care with these ingredients. If the skin becomes compromised…
Access Full PDF Article Here.

by Kris Campbell, Founder/Managing Director, Hale & Hush and Eclectic Solutions
As seen in Skin, Inc. Magazine – May 2017

As skin care professi­onals, we spend a lot of time protecting the skin from external stressors that can cause damage and aging. We sometimes forget there are factors that can age the skin from the inside out, too, and one of these internal factors is glycation. The term “glycation,” along with the consumer desire to use products containing “anti-glycation ingredients” to prevent premature aging, is growing in skin care. The skin care expert should be aware of this, as well as understand how much more important these types of products can be to someone who has health-challenged skin. The skin of a diabetic client is especially prone to premature or accelerated aging, and treatments and product choices will either help or hinder his or her ability to achieve their skin care desires.

Understanding Diabetes and Glycation
Diabetes is a chronic health condition where the body is unable to produce enough insulin to properly break down sugar (glucose) in the blood. You may think you don’t have any diabetic clients, but some may be unaware of their condition. It is estimated that 1.7 million people are diagnosed with diabetes every year, with an additional 8.1 million as yet undiagnosed. Just imagine the number of diabetics coming in for treatments who unknowingly have skin aging issues due to this health challenge…. Access Full PDF Article Here.

by Kris Campbell, Founder/Managing Director, Hale & Hush and Eclectic Solutions
As seen in Skin, Inc. Magazine – December 2016

“GLYCATION” is a buzzword that is gaining more momentum in the consumer and retail sectors. Although most skin care professionals know the term, glycation is being discussed in consumer magazines, as well. It is always to your professional advantage to know what clients are reading in order to reduce the chance of being caught off guard.

The glycation process

It is already known that excess sugar can lead to a variety of health concerns, but what most forget is that too much sugar can also affect the skin. Sugar can be digested in many forms, including the consumption of carbohydrates and can even be formed via meal preparation. If there is too much sugar in the body, protein molecules can cross-link with sugar molecules.1 Once this cross-linking process has occurred, the new sugar proteins are called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). The human body does not recognize AGEs as normal, and will produce antibodies that cause inflammation in the skin. Once formed, AGEs tend to gravitate toward dermal collagen and elastin… Access Full PDF Article Here.

by Kris Campbell, Founder/Managing Director, Hale & Hush and Eclectic Solutions
As seen in Skin, Inc. Magazine – November 2013