If you haven’t already heard, retinoid/retinol cream has now been clinically proven to benefit your skin with anti-aging properties, boosting collagen and keeping elasticity in the skin by increasing cell turnover.
The first time I started using a retinol cream was 3 years ago and I haven’t looked back since. Over the years I’ve gotten compliments on my skin and while this is always a very lovely compliment to hear, great skin is hard work!
For those of you that are just starting out with retinol cream, there are things I wished I knew when I first started, that I have learned over time.
Below are my top lists of Do’s and Dont’s. You might be wondering, why the Don’ts? But you’d be surprised at the advice out there, there is a lot of noise and it’s hard to distinguish what is truly the best possible routine.
The Skivvy on Retinol
1. Start slow and cater to your skin type
- A retinol treatment can be intense for your skin and it’s important to toe dip.
- Start by using it once a week, then twice and work your way up to three times a week
- 3-5 times a week is the most effective
- For sensitive skin, be sure to alternate (for example: Mon, Wed, Fri)
2. Always pair your retinol treatment with a moisturizer
- Since retinol dries out your skin (making it a bonus for us acne prone ladies), make sure you use a moisturizer after applying the retinol cream
- In my experience, the most effective moisturizing agent is a vitamin C serum – I like Time in a bottle by Philosophy
- If you have oily skin like me, don’t shy away from a moisturizer – the lack of hydration will cause your sebum glands to go into overdrive and cause your pores to overproduce oil to compensate for dryness
3. Practice consistency
- Everyone loves results, just remember that consistency is key in order to see results
- You will notice a difference in your skin in two to four weeks
4. Fall in love with SPF all over again, but use retinol only at night
- The biggest myth associated with retinoid/retinols is that it will make your skin sun-sensitive, when in reality the ingredient itself is sensitive to sunlight, which is why you need to use it at night.
- Regardless of the de-bunked myth above, you should always wear SPF 30 on a daily basis
- Be sure to buy a retinol cream in an aluminum tube to protect the product from air and light, as oxidation and light exposure decreases the effectiveness of the compound. Try Help Me by Philosophy, this one is my favorite – it’s effective and inexpensive.
1. Layer your retinol with Benzoyl peroxide and alpha hydroxy acids
- What are those ingredients you ask? Not what, but where are they found will be more helpful in this instance. Most acne creams, treatments or serums have benzoyl peroxide in them and many exfoliates, peels and skin rejuvenators (labeled AHA) are all a no-no when layering with a retinol treatment.
- Layering them will not harm your skin, yet it will render the retinol ineffective – thus wasting $$$
2. All that glitters is not gold
- Expensive brand name retinols, does not necessarily mean it’s the best out there and many are very expensive
- Like I mentioned above, Help Me by Philosophy, is my favorite, it’s expensive and has won many beauty awards
- Also a little goes a long way, if you clean your face thoroughly (or use a Clarisonic) a small pea sized amount is enough for your whole face
3. Get discouraged
- Coming from experience, it gets worse, before it gets better
- Your skin will get dry and sensitive and you may even have a few bad breakouts, however don’t give up! It’s normal for your skin to adjust, which is why your first few weeks need to be gradual
- I promise you, you will see results! Some see it in as little as two weeks, some in four
That’s all folks! I hope the above is helpful and please let me know if you have any questions.
Happy Halloween everyone!!!
Yours in beauty,