08 January 2021
If there’s one skincare ingredient that’s the breakout star of 2020; it has to be retinoids. This powerful ingredient is a versatile multi-tasker; it’s often used by doctors to tackle a myriad of conditions from acne vulgaris and hyperpigmentation disorders. Retinoids are also a staple in anti-aging skincare products because of its collagen boosting benefits.
One popular retinoid that’s been trending on social media platforms is Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream. It’s been highly raved by influencers and beauty experts for its transformative properties. I’ve previously shared about my affordable retinoid recommendations in 5 Popular & Affordable Retinoid Serums Reviewed. Although relatively popular, Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream was not featured in that review because at SGD$190 a bottle.. And as the most expensive retinoid cream that I own, it deserves a post of its own.
So here’s my review on Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight cream. Spoiler: I’ll be sharing more affordable alternatives at the end of this blogpost.
Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream has been hailed as one of the best retinol cream by many beauty influencers. Some of the benefits of Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream are improved skin texture and comedones, reduced fine lines and blemishes. Let’s review the ingredients and science of Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream.
The active ingredients in Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream include:
• Retinoid: Ethyl lactyl retinoate
• Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA): Glycolic acid
• Antioxidants: Niacinamide, superoxide dismutase, tocopherol, ubiquinone • Anti-inflammation: Camellia sinensis
• Moisturisers: Glycerin, squalene, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, linoleic acid, shea butter, Panthenol
Here’s a look at some of the key active ingredients in Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream:
Ethyl lactyl retinoate
The star ingredient of Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream, ethyl lactyl retinoate is a conjugate retinoid. In other words, ethyl lactyl retinoate is a molecule that comprises a retinoid and an acid (lactic acid). Ethyl lactyl retinoate is a novel (i.e. new) retinoid; it aims to overcome the problems of retinoid use, namely irritation.
To find out whether ethyl lactyl retinoate can overcome the problems of traditional retinoids while delivering results; we first have to take a step back and understand some basics of retinoids. You can learn more important details about retinoids and how to choose a retinoid product for your skin type in The Beginner’s Guide to Starting Retinoids.
So where does ethyl lactyl retinoate fit in the family of retinoids? Ethyl lactyl retinoate belongs to a very new group of retinoids called retinoid ester. When applied on skin, ethyl lactyl retinoate gets gradually broken down into retinoic acid and lactic acid. This slow release mechanism of the retinoid and lactic acid allow better tolerance for users with sensitive skin.
Glycolic is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that is derived from sugar cane. High concentrations of AHAs are used in chemical peels for treatment of acne, hyperpigmentation and skin rejuvenation.
Lower concentrations of AHAs, usually under 10% can be found in skincare products such as toners and creams. As these acids are in lower concentration, they can be bought without a prescription and be left on the skin for a longer period of time. With these lower concentrations, the results of chemical exfoliation are less pronounced than with chemical peels of a higher concentration. That said, these lower concentrations of AHAs are safe for home use without a doctor’s supervision.
Antioxidants are one of the biggest buzzwords in skincare. Essentially, antioxidants are a group of substances that prevent and reverse free radical damage.
Free radical damage to the skin can cause premature skin aging, skin cancers and hyperpigmentation. Free radicals are ever present in our environment and lives- sun exposure, pollution, smoke, stress. Antioxidants in skincare products help to combat damage by free radicals. That said, not all antioxidants are created equal. Some have additional benefits- for example; vitamin C also helps to reduce UV damage from the sun and pairs well with sunscreen. Niacinamide (vitamin B3) also has anti-acne benefits.
Also known as green tea, Camellia sinesis has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a popular ingredient in Asian skincare. You can read more in this blogpost, The Benefits of Topical Green Tea.
Moisturisers, as its name suggests, moisturise the skin. There are numerous ingredients that moisturise the skin; my top two recommendations are hyaluronic acid and ceramides.
As with all my other skincare reviews; my product reviews involve an objective aspect (where I scrutinise the ingredients and related science and data) and a subjective aspect (where I look at how it feels on my skin, results…etc). You can read my other skincare reviews here:
What I Like About Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream
Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream has a good mix of active ingredients for skin rejuvenation and tolerance to the product. Ethyl lactyl retinoate is a new and interesting ingredient that seems to combine the benefits or retinoids and AHA without causing lesser skin irritation.
The addition of moisturisers, anti-inflammatory and antioxidants in Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream allow it to act as a multi-tasking night cream. I used it alone as a moisturiser because it felt moisturising enough as a moisturiser. My skin was not dry and did not peel; as one would expect with acids or retinoids. Other than the initial stinging sensation on application, I was able to use Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream nightly without any side effects.
I also liked the results of Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream on my skin. After 3.5 weeks of using Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream every night, I could see and feel an improvement in my skin. There was reduction in my comedones, a reduction in hyperpigmentation and my skin felt smoother.
Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream feels like a gentle retinoid and acid for the skin. Although I saw results; I was expecting more because of the hype and the cost. At $190 a bottle, there are other products that I have tried that are equally effective. I’ll be sharing two of my recommendations below.
The benefits promised by Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream- improvement of reduction of lines, wrinkles, uneven tone and texture- can be achieved by acids in chemical peels alone too. A look at the ingredient list for Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream will reveal that the 3rd ingredient is glycolic acid. The star ingredient, ethyl lactyl retinoate is the17th ingredient on the list. Although the respective concentrations of these active ingredients are not disclosed by the manufacturer; this sequence of ingredients already tells us that glycolic acid plays a more significant role than ethyl lactyl retinoate in Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream. This was my immediate thought when I first looked at Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream’s ingredient list. At $190 a bottle, this is an overpriced product IMO.
When first applied, Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream stings the skin for a minute. Other than this discomfort, Skinbetter’s Alpharet Overnight Cream is very tolerable.
Overall, Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream is a decent and effective anti-aging night cream. It accomplishes its anti-aging promises- I noticed a definite improvement in skin texture and tone. It may also be suitable for patients who have sensitive skin; there are a good number of active ingredients that moisturise and reduce irritation in the skin. As this is a non-prescription product, I also don’t think the concentration of glycolic acid is high; so it is safe to use.
Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream is, however, a very expensive product. As much as I like this product, I have to compare it to similar products I’ve tried that are equally effective and more affordable. So here are my two dupes for Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream:
Dupe #1: Drunk Elephant’s TLC Sukari Babyfacial
Drunk Elephant’s TLC Sukari Babyfacial is a cult favourite skincare product that lives up to expectations. It contains a combination of 25% AHA and 2% BHA for exfoliation and skin rejuvenation. To use Drunk Elephant’s TLC Sukari Babyfacial, you apply it to your skin for 10-20 minutes and then wash it off.
Compared to Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream, Drunk Elephant’s TLC Sukari Babyfacial contains a higher concentration of acids and does not contain retinoids. Drunk Elephant’s TLC Sukari Babyfacial is also used like a face mask, as opposed to an overnight cream like Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream. I felt that results were more immediate with Drunk Elephant’s TLC Sukari Babyfacial; but then again, it functions like a mild DIY chemical peel.
Dupe #2: Avene’s A-Oxitive Night Peeling Cream
Avene’s A-Oxitive Night Peeling Cream is an overnight moisturiser, similar to Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream. It contains retinaldehyde, a retinoid derivative that’s one step away from retinoic acid. Unlike Skinbetter’s Alpharet Overnight Cream, Avene’s A-Oxitive Night Peeling Cream does not contain acids.
I’ve shared my review of Avene’s A-Oxitive Night Peeling Cream in 5 Affordable & Popular Retinod Serums Reviewed. This was my favourite of the 5 retinoids reviewed. Avene’s A-Oxitive Night Peeling Cream gave my skin a healthy glow and a reduction in comedones. My skin was noticeably smoother in a few weeks.
All in all, Skinbetter Science’s Alpharet Overnight Cream is an effective anti-aging night cream. Delivers without skin irritation. However, it is overpriced in my opinion as there are more affordable alternatives available.