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 • Body  • Bodycare Reviews  • Wait, Do you Need a Retinol for Your Body?
Reviewing Paula's Choice Skin Smoothing Retinol Body Treatment

Wait, Do you Need a Retinol for Your Body?

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As someone who’s a big fan of retinols for their skin-glowing, pore-refining and fine line-diminishing qualities I’ve tried out quite a few over the years.

“One of the best-known skin care ingredients on the market,” Healthline describes retinol as “an over-the-counter (OTC) version of retinoids” that is “derived (made from) vitamin A and is primarily used to treat mature-looking skin concerns as well as acne.”

But beyond using this powerhouse ingredient on my face, neck and chest I’d never really thought of extending it over the rest of my body. That was until I saw one of my go-to brands for straightforward, effective skincare, Paula’s Choice, sells a product made specifically for the body.

Paula’s Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment

Containing a mixture of 0.1 per cent retinol (a moderate percentage strength) and shea butter to smooth skin while moisturising, this unscented cream also boasts glycerin to soften, grape seed oil to nourish, and vitamins C and E for antioxidant protection.

The Full List of Ingredients

Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Cyclopentasiloxane (hydration), Dimethicone, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Palmitate, Butyrospermum Parkii (shea butter), Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Oenothera Biennis Oil, Vitis Vinifera Oil (grape seed oil), Cetyl Alcohol, Retinol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Panthenol, Carnosine, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cera Alba (beeswax), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Decylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol

How to Use it

Applied like a body cream on clean skin, this has a moisturiser-type texture which makes it easy to work into skin.

Because it contains retinol (which makes skin more sensitive to the sun) it needs to be followed with an SPF of at least 30 every day.

On the Skin

A derivative of vitamin A, retinols are shown to speed up cell turnover, in turn helping to boost collagen levels (bye-bye fine lines), improve pigmentation and reduce breakouts.

Retinol “does not remove dead skin cells, as many other products for mature skin do. Instead, the small molecules that make up retinol go deep beneath the epidermis (outer layer of skin) to your dermis.

“Once in this middle layer of skin, retinol helps neutralize free radicals. This helps boost the production of elastin and collagen, which creates a ‘plumping’ effect that can reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and enlarged pores,” says Healthline.

But along with the ingredient’s many plus points can, unfortunately, go dryness, irritation or redness when first using it- so I was interested to see how a retinol for the body would work.

Luckily, unlike using one on the face- where skin generally needs to build up tolerance by first using every other night- this formula is gentle enough that I could use this daily on my arms, legs and stomach from the beginning.

In fact, from first use, I’ve found this pretty hydrating. And while I haven’t noticed the same dramatic results I might get from my face retinol I can honestly say the skin on my body seems slightly firmer and smoother.  Even better, pigmentation and scars also seem improved.

As another plus, because this has a rich, moisturising formula I don’t need to use a lot to cover arms/legs etc, making the price slightly better value.

The Takeaway

Overall I like this body treatment and I’m very happy with the subtle, healthy skin results it offers (I just wish it wasn’t so expensive). To get the best value out of it I think this also works well as a targeted treatment for particular problem areas like the backs of arms, chests or stretch marks.

Great for: Smoothing and perfecting skin on the body.

Not-so-great for: Budgets, as this is pretty expensive for a body cream- a little does go a long way though.

Paula’s Choice Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment is £33 for 118 ml, Paula’s Choice UK and $29 for 4 oz/ 118 ml, Paula’s Choice US




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Sally Underwood is a journalist, *serious* beauty fan, and Editor-in-Chief of Live That Glow. Formerly Editorial Director of one of Europe's largest newspaper groups, Sally has been a beauty obsessive since her teen years spent dragging her long-suffering (but immaculately-groomed) friends around every beauty counter in London. She now leads Live That Glow's editorial operations.

Expertise: Skincare, Body care
Education: University College London
  • I’ve heard about retinol for skin purpose but never really trusted it enough. Your review gives me enough confidence to try it out. I’m a newbie in blogging, so do check out my blog would mean a lot

    11th May 2020

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