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Recently, I have been blogging about retinol creams a lot, and for good reason. As Jenny Bailly, a freelance beauty writer writes in the December 2007 Allure, “If dermatologists ever wrote an ode, it would probably be to retinoids — with an opening line stolen from Elizabeth Barrett Browning: ‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…'” Put simply, retinoids are a favorite, doing everything from regenerating collagen to softening wrinkle appearance to unclogging the pores. For more, read on about my latest discovery, Green Cream!
How do Green Cream 3, 6, and 9 compare to other retinol creams on the market?
Green Cream cleverly uses “levels” to denote the percentage of retinol in the product. So, Green Cream Level 3 ($35.95, SkincareRx.com) contains 0.3% retinol, Green Cream Level 6 ($42.95, SkincareRx.com) contains 0.6% retinol, and Green Cream Level 9 ($49.95, SkincareRx.com) contains 0.9% retinol. This is significant, as there are few products on the U.S. market with similar levels of retinol (for instance, Neutrogena Healthy Skin, an excellent and effective product, has less than 0.2% retinol.) In fact, only Skinceuticals 0.5 and Skinceuticals 1.0 compare to the level of retinol in Green Cream (at 0.5% and 1.0% retinol, respectively), and only Skinceuticals 1.0 contains more retinol than Green Cream Level 9.
How do the anti-aging ingredients in Green Cream and Skinceuticals 0.5 compare?
Green Cream Level 3 contains a fairly high concentration of vitamin E as tocopheryl acetate, which has a higher environmental protection factor (a measure of antioxidant capacity) than most, but not all, other antioxidants. Green Cream Levels 6 and 9 also contain vitamin E, although in less high concentrations. To soothe (retinol can be irritating), Green Cream contains a high concentration of soothing aloe vera gel and cucumber extract in all levels.
On the other hand, Skinceuticals 0.5 does not contain anti-aging vitamin E, but instead contains ceramides 2 and 3. An article in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science reports that ceramides replenish reduced ceramide levels (particularly the phytosphingosine-containing ceramides) and levels of long-chain fatty acids in dry skin. However, according to this 2000 study by the same author, it was found that moisturizers incorporating ceramide 3 had no greater effect on transepidermal water loss (TEWL) than ordinary lotions without ceramide 3. To soothe, Skinceuticals 0.5 contains bisabolol and chamomile, although in fairly low concentrations.
Therefore, those with dry skin may like the slight hydrating effect of ceramides from Skinceuticals 0.5, but overall, the antioxidant benefit of vitamin E in Green Cream has more established anti-aging benefits. Both are great products, but due to the vitamin E and extra soothing ingredients in Green Cream, I give it a 9.5 to Skinceuticals’ 9.
After using Green Cream Level 6 for two weeks (with 0.6% retinol), I personally see an improvement in the smoothness of my skin. Previously, I was using Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream SPF 15 ($24.23 for two, Amazon.com), with a high concentration of green tea and less than 0.2% retinol, and I see a difference from the switch. I plan to use Green Cream Level 6 for a few months to let my skin tolerize, and then move on to Green Cream Level 9.
Where can I find more information about retinol?
For information about Skinceuticals 0.5, please visit this post.
It was hard to do, but Green Cream has triumphed as my favorite retinol cream to date! Product Rating: 9.5/10
Level 3 Ingredients List
Water, ethanol, glycerin, octyldodecanol, aloe vera gel, butylene glycol, cucumis sativus extract, tocopheryl acetate, cetyl dimethicone copolyol, retinol, polysorbate 20, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, acrylates/C10-C30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, tea-carbomer, propylene glycol, diazolidinyl urea, propylparaben, methylparaben, disodium edta, may contain FD&C yellow 5, red 40, blue 1, red 3
Levels 6 and 9 Ingredients List
Water, ethanol, glycerin, octyldodecanol, retinol, polysorbate 20, cucumber extract, butylene glycol, cetyl dimethicone copolyol, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, tocopheryl, acrylates/C10-C30 crosspolymer, tea-carbomer, propylene glycol, diazolidinyl urea, propylparaben, methylparaben, disodium edta, may contain FD&C yellow 5, red 40, blue 1, red 3.