Pretty P.O.V.: Kate Somerville RetAsphere Tuesday 05 March, 2013

A retinol cream that delivers the skin-revitalizing dosage it says—without the irritating side effects? Kate Somerville’s RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream does just that.

I am just like everyone else my age (30-ish, if you must know): chasing youth, one fleeting minute after the next. So discussing innovative skin care certainly appeals to me, and especially discussing it with someone who is highly revered in the skincare game: Kate Somerville.

She’s telling me about three new products she’s launching, and one particularly halts me in my notes-scrawling: RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream. Why is it special enough to cause me pause? This amazing little number delivers pure retinol to skin minus the irritation. Why is this so exciting? Retinoids, of which retinol is family member, have a long and storied past in the skincare world. Mostly, they do a lot of good, but on the flip side, they come with tons of side effects. “Retinoid creams took a long time to come out on the market because they typically cause extreme irritation,” Kate explains, citing dryness, flaking and red, burning skin as the main aggressors. “You’d have to apply them at night, before you go to bed, so you didn’t have to suffer through the side effects.” These side effects most often occurred when retinoids came into contact with light, making wearing them during the daytime pretty insufferable.

So let’s back up for a quick sec: What is retinol? It’s a derivative of vitamin A that has the power to transform skin texture, turning over skin cells at mind-boggling speed and eradicating wrinkles, breakouts, hyperpigmentation and highly visible pores—and who wouldn’t want that? Its skin-transforming capabilities have been proven in the scientific community, making it one of those rare anti-aging ingredients that actually do what they say. But, it’s also an extremely tempermental ingredient that breaks down when exposed to light and oxygen, making it hard to package in over-the-counter products. Because retinol is highly unstable, if its packaged incorrectly, it may degrade. Sad fact: Even when some products list it as a main selling point, the retinol contained within that cream may have degraded to the point of inefficacy due to oxygen, light and other active ingredients—meaning what you’re putting on your face isn’t likely doing that magic that retinol purports to do.



So what if you could fix the stabilization problem as well as nix the side effects? Kate is practically giddy as she says, “I found a way to stabilize the retinol. It’s a carrier system (Smart Release) that keeps the retinol stabilized because it’s never airborne.” Essentially, RetAsphere’s retinol is encapsulated in a lipid shell that acts as a barrier, protecting its contents from light and oxygen so that it doesn’t degrade and lose its potency. “When the lipid shell comes in contact with the skin—and only then—the heat from your skin melts the barrier, and the retinol penetrates the skin,” she says.

And because the lipids in the lipid shell match the skin’s own lipid makeup, not even an inkling of a flash burn (extreme heat and irritation due to a too-potent dosage) can occur, making the process an agreeable one rather than an angry one. And just in case you are susceptible to redness and dryness, RetAsphere also contains hyalurounic acid to lock in moisture and stymie any kind of over-drying.

Kate is showing me how to apply it: “Just a little bit bigger than a pea size will do it. You don’t want to overuse it. A little bit goes a long way,” she says. Because skin cells are smaller per square inch around the cheek folds, mouth and nose, she cautions to use less in these areas. “If you start to see any flaking there, stop using it in these areas only, and apply to the rest of the face as usual.”

For 30-ish girls like myself, Kate says that now is the time to start using retinoids. “Three to four times a week. You’ll be thankful you did.”

Since our meeting, I’ve been dutifully applying RetAsphere at night, trying to keep my dosage application to that pea size (I’m one who likes to over-apply products when they deliver on their promises), and after three weeks, I’ve noticed that my forehead appears more taut than before. I haven’t experienced one single flake, nor any heat or irritation—even on delicate areas like around the mouth. But mostly, my skin has a more noticeable glow to it, and I’m hoping with continued use some of the age spots I’ve accrued on my cheeks will fade away. All I can say is: I wish I had this product when I was in my 20s—but now is as good a time to start the age-reversal process  than ever.

Grab a tube of Kate Somerville RetAsphere at

Karie L. Frost Signature


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