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What the Heck’s a Phyto-Retinol Blend?

4 min
by Ben Gentzler
November 12, 2021

A phyto-retinol product mixes two of skincare’s most popular players: plants (that’s the phyto part) and retinol (the dermatologist-beloved powerhouse). As a result, you get the skin-firming, line-reducing, tone-evening effects of retinol (a vitamin A derivative) combined with the soothing, hydrating, skin-strengthening power of botanicals. 

All four items in the Advanced Retinol + Ferulic line from Dr. Dennis Gross contain retinol, plus three plant-based extracts: bakuchiol, rambutan, and ferulic acid. This phyto-retinol blend works synergistically to encourage collagen formation while simultaneously decreasing the risk of irritation and redness that can sometimes accompany retinol application.  


The Fantastic Four (Ingredients)

Retinol: One of the most studied ingredients in skincare, retinol does it all—speed up cellular turnover, increase collagen production, and inhibit tyrosinase, the enzyme that controls the manufacture of melanin (aka the reason for those annoying dark spots).

Bakuchiol: An extract from the psoralea corylifolia or “babchi” plant, bakuchiol boasts antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial qualities, in addition to collagen-stimulating ones.

Rambutan: Sourced from the leaves of the rambutan tree (a tropical species native to Southeast Asia), antioxidant-rich rambutan extract helps encourage the formation of collagen while also locking moisture into skin.

Ferulic Acid: Another antioxidant, ferulic acid is found in the cell walls of all plant leaves. While it’s an effective free-radical fighter on its own, ferulic acid is also prized for its ability to supercharge other antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E. 


Better Together

Obviously any one of the four ingredients listed above would be an awesome addition to your daily skincare regimen. Combining them into a single formula becomes a case in which 1+1=100 (meaning, the whole is way greater than the sum of its parts). This is because not only do the botanicals buffer the potentially irritating side effects of retinol, they also work on different layers of the skin. (One bonus benefit: This allows for multi-pronged benefits from a single product application—timesaver!) As a result, a well-formulated phyto-retinol blend induces skin improvements at three levels:

Level One: Bakuchiol strengthens skin’s moisture barrier, which reduces transepidermal water loss (TEWL) to help keep skin hydrated (and also, less irritated).

Level Two: Retinol and bakuchiol increase cell turnover in the epidermis, leading to increased thickness in the epidermis and dermis.  

Level Three: Retinol, bakuchiol, and rambutan stimulate fibroblasts in the papillary dermis (the uppermost portion of the dermis), inducing a cascade effect that results in new collagen formation.


Discover Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare for All Your Retinol Needs

For more skincare tips from the experts at Dr. Dennis Gross, check out our blog’s newest content. Discover our full line of retinol skincare featuring our phyto-retinol blend. Shop the collection of Dr. Dennis Gross bestselling skincare backed by dermatologists.

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