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Beauty Arsenal: Garden of Wisdom VitaReSurface Serum 0.5%

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GoW VitaReSurface Serum (Left) I’m going to start off by saying that I’ve been blessed with some damn fine genes when it comes to the clarity and quality of my skin. I’ve never had to go to much effort in order to keep it in line and looking lovely. I do my best to wear sunscreen every day, and I avoid the sun like the plague (no joke, I walk with an umbrella when it’s raining…and when it’s sunny). I try to treat it gently so that it doesn’t get up in arms, since it happens to be quite sensitive and translucent, so every little thing does show up quite brazenly. In the end, though, I don’t have to try very hard to have skin that’s porcelain and pretty.

That said, I’m acutely aware of the fact that I’m getting older, and I do want to do everything I can to keep it in beautiful shape. I exfoliate on a daily basis, and nearly a year ago I decided to try retinols for my skin, as well. I still get the occasional pimple here and there, as my pores do clog easily, and I’m starting to notice some fine lines. Retinol fits the bill for addressing both concerns, and who doesn’t like one-stop-shopping?! Since my skin is sensitive, I didn’t want to start off full-on prescription strength or anything hardcore like that. After the first time I’d been looking for some gentle, paraben-free anti-aging skin care in late 2011, I came across Garden of Wisdom. GoW is a company that creates nature-based skin care products with health-oriented ingredients. They don’t use any parabens in their products and include heaps of plant extracts, oils, and tinctures. The end result is products that work wonderfully to do the things they claim while being gentle on your skin and healthy for you overall.

GoW VitaReSurface Serum (Right) I was so excited to find that they have a number of products with a high-quality retinol ingredient in them when I was looking into incorporating retinols into my beauty regimen. After reading through all of the product descriptions and ingredient lists thoroughly, I settled on the VitaReSurface Serum 0.5%. It’s the gentler version of their VitaReSurface serum, and I didn’t think I needed a retinol cream.

The directions advise building up a tolerance to the retinol by using it every three days for the first couple of weeks, then stepping up to every other day, then every day, and lastly stopping after six months for a bit of a break before starting all over again. In reality, even with the low concentration in the 0.5% serum, I haven’t been able to step up beyond using it 3 times a week. I’m not sure if it’s because of my natural sensitivity or if I just respond really strongly to retinol, but my skin gets super-irritated and flakey if I try to build up my tolerance any higher.

When I stick to the frequency that my skin seems to tolerate, I don’t get much redness or flaking, but my skin definitely stays clear and pimple-free, and I’ve noticed some improvement in my fine lines. To a certain extent, I am completely accepting that aging is inevitable and I can’t avoid lines and wrinkles completely, but I am glad to see that it has a bit of a softening effect. My skin also tends to be a bit more glowy when it’s well exfoliated, beyond what I can do manually. I think that there has definitely been an improvement in its tone and brightness since I started using the GoW VitaReSurface Serum.

If you’re in the same boat I was a year ago, with some infrequent break-outs and the first hints of aging, I definitely recommend that you check out the products Garden of Wisdom has on offer. Their all-trans retinol line has a number of options, so you’re sure to find a product formula that will work for you to keep pimples at bay and soften some of the lines you’re seeing creep up. Especially if you have sensitive, fair skin like I do, you should definitely start off with a low concentration and see how your skin tolerates that before stepping up to the higher-concentration serum or cream. Follow their directions for acclimatizing your skin to the retinols, and you’ll be well on your way to clearer, more glowing skin!

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