Retinol has been lauded and revered in the beauty space as the miracle ingredient in anti-aging skincare routines. This vitamin A derivative helps to boost skin cell renewal and natural collagen production. Retinol has also been known to fight acne, even out skin tone, and minimize the appearance of pores. Despite all its skin benefits, we are often reminded to use retinol with extreme caution.
What Not To Do When Using Retinol
The first time I tried this skincare heaven-sent, I had neither the patience nor the foresight to do research. So I dove right in with a very potent prescription-level retinol serum. Day and night, I applied generous amounts on my sensitive skin–and never even bothered to follow with a moisturizing or face oil. This was in the summer of 2017, and a weeklong beach holiday was on the agenda. Regular application of SPF, however, was not.
Three days into my new retinol routine and on the island, I was a walking cautionary tale of what not to do when using retinol. I was by no means sashaying on shore with luminous, hydrated skin. Skin turned bright red, and began to peel. A warm, stinging sensation also made it impossible for me to conceal the masacre under makeup. After that mishap with retinol, I steered clear of the skincare’s golden child.
Looking back, and after much research and consulting with dermatologists, I’ve come to realize that retinol requires patience and restraint. It’s also wise to know what not to do–before actually doing.
Good skincare knows no shortcuts. Start with a low dose of at least 0.25% and apply on alternating evenings only. Slowly work up the dosage and frequency depending on how your skin reacts to the ingredient.
Never skip moisturizers. While they say that retinol does it all, it is always best to top off your skincare routine with a biocompatible moisturizer or face oil. This is to prevent over drying and flaking. Avoid hydrating formulas that contain Vitamin C as these cancel each other out. AHAs are also to be avoided when using retinol.
Don’t be lazy about SPF. Retinol or none, SPF is a skincare essential that we often skip. When using retinol however, skin tends to be extra sensitive to sun exposure. This need not discourage you from pursuing your best skin yet. That one crucial step, SPF, before applying makeup can make all the difference in your skin’s overall health.
Time Your Skin Treatments. If, like me, you are devoted to regular red light therapy (I’m obsessed with LYMA), use retinol before and never after. For RF treatments, whether at home or in a skin clinic, avoid using retinol a few days before your session.
Reuniting with Retinol
It was only very recently when I reconsidered adding retinol to my skincare routine. I started with a gentle, low dose formula from Tru Alchemy called Retinol Reset. Formulated with bakuchiol, niacinamide, squalene and hyaluronic acid, the silky serum gently reset and brought back skin’s youthful radiance. Within the first two weeks of application (every other night), skin’s tone and texture had visibly improved. Fine lines on my forehead were visibly diminished, which reaffirmed that with the right routine and products, there was no need for a Botox retouch. It was at this point that I started to look at other skin and body care products that contain retinol.
Embody’s Retinol Gummies: All The Skin Benefits Of Retinol Without Drying or Skin Sensitivities
EMBODY’s range of skincare supplements are the most delicious out in the market today. The brand is also the first to introduce the world’s first Retinol Gummy. Naturally, when I heard about this, I was sold to the idea of getting my dose of retinol without the adverse side effects. Unlike topical application of this wonder ingredient, ingesting these strawberry-flavored treats make it easy to incorporate retinol into your daily routine. The gummies are so delicious, you’ll look forward to taking them each day. But more than that, its hero ingredient, Retinyl Acetate, delivers on the promise of clear, radiant, and younger-looking skin. It is combined with B Vitamins for hydration; Vitamin C to help boost collagen production; as well as Folate to help minimize the appearance of fine lines. Results are gradual, and visible after 12 weeks of religious dosing–and it is worth the wait!
CURRENT STATE OF SKIN Retinol + Marula Renewing Serum: Renews and Comforts Skin
CURRENT STATE OF SKIN’s philosophy hones in on intuitive skincare. Its goal is not to drastically transform, but rather, to bring skin back to its state of homeostasis. It is when balanced that skin is at its best. Case in point:, CURRENT STATE OF SKIN Retinol + Marula Renewing Serum counterbalances retinol with deeply nourishing ingredients like marula, jojoba oils and aloe. Phospholipids help to pull in hydration. When traveling to cooler climates or when I feel the skin needs an extra dose of TLC, I use this “rewind time” serum at night for brighter, plumper, hydrated skin.
New Retinol-Infused Products On My Shopping List
Visible benefits of retinol since using it some months ago inspired me to look into other products that contain this miracle ingredient. Apart from the face, these new skin and body care discoveries bring the same renewing and regenerating effects to the neck and body. And while the current serums on my shelf continue to deliver glowing results, I’ve also started looking into more potent dosages–but with caution.
RETINOL FOR THE BODY
IOTA Supermatcha Body Lotion (launching soon) is a lightweight lotion formulated with rambutan leaf and matcha. Rabutan is a Southeast Asian fruit that acts as a plant-based retinol alternative. It helps to stimulate collagen production and boost skin elasticity. Matcha is hailed in the wellness space as a super antioxidant which helps to minimize signs of skin aging.
RETINOL FOR THE NECK
INLIGHT Skin Firming Serum protects, firms, and tones the delicate skin on the neck. It was formulated with anti-aging and antioxidant-rich “dry oils,” which lends fast-absorbing and skin tightening properties to the serum. Cacay oil, its key ingredient, is rich in natural, youth boosting retinol. It is combined with nourishing vitamin E and grapeseed oil.
IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO LEVEL UP YOUR RETINOL GAME
LIXIRSKIN Night Switch Retinol 1% is a highly-targeted formula consisting of pure active molecules. Made to give skin the rest and reset it needs, Night Switch Retinol is best used in increments instead of regularly. Use for 4 straight weeks at a time, after which a brief skincare pause then switch in routine is recommended. This is to avoid the saturation of the active ingredient and plateauing of effects. For best results, mix your Night Switch Retinol with LIXIRSKIN’s Universal Emulsion before application.