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Different Ways to Use Retinol
by Emily Linehan on September 09, 2022
Like any skincare product, Retinol isn’t one size fits all. However, when retinol is used correctly, any skin type can enjoy the benefits! If you're unsure if retinol is right for you, or if you’ve tried it in the past and felt it was too harsh, here are some tips on how it can be incorporated into your routine, regardless of your skin type.
Choosing the Right Retinol
"Retinol" is often used as an all-encompassing term for topical Vitamin A. Each Vitamin A derivative offers many benefits for the skin, such as boosting cell turnover, diminishing fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin tone and texture, and stimulating the production of collagen. Each Vitamin A derivative can be utilized on the skin, but they have different pros and cons to consider, so it’s important to choose the right product.
Since retinols are notorious for causing dryness and irritation on the skin, we formulate our Pro-Retinol Serum with a less irritating but effective form of retinol called Retinyl Propionate. The multi-layer crystalline micro-spheres deliver the active retinol down deep into the skin while creating an invisible protective shield on the surface of the skin to minimize irritation and dehydration. It offers comparable results to Retinoic Acid (the “Retinol Prescription”, also known as Tretinoin) with significantly less irritation and dryness.
Normal Skin/Non-Sensitive Skin Types - The "Neat" Method
Though retinol is an amazing ingredient, it does take some time for the skin to get used to its potency. Rushing into your relationship too quickly can result in dry or irritated skin, which is why it’s important to ease it into your routine, regardless of your skin type.
For our Pro-Retinol Serum, I recommend beginning every third night to acclimatize. Then, you can increase the frequency as the skin tolerates, to where you are applying nightly. Here’s a schedule for reference:
|Weeks 1 & 2||Apply every 3rd night|
|Weeks 3 & 4||Apply every other night|
|Weeks 5+||Apply nightly as skin tolerates|
Sensitive Skin - The Timed Method
Because retinol is such a potent ingredient, many people believe that they cannot use it if they have sensitive skin. This is simply not true! As mentioned above, allowing room for an acclimation period is essential when it comes to retinol, regardless of skin sensitivity.
In addition to choosing a gentle yet effective retinol, there are ways we can acclimate the skin slower.
The first is by timing the retinol on the skin. For the first few nights, apply your retinol and allow it to sit on the skin for 15 minutes, then cleanse it off and finish with the rest of your skincare routine. You can then increase the amount of time the retinol sits on your skin in 15-minute increments as tolerated. Once you’re able to leave the retinol on the skin for 1 hour, you can then try leaving it on overnight.
The second method is by buffering your retinol with moisturizer, which we discuss below!
Dry Skin - The Mixed Method
For dry (or sensitive) skin types, you can acclimate the skin slower by buffering the retinol with your moisturizer. To do this, mix a small amount of the Pro-Retinol Serum with your moisturizer and apply it to the face, then continue with the rest of your skincare routine. If tolerated, you can leave the retinol on all night. However, if sensitivity occurs, try using the timed method discussed above.
Keep in mind that all forms of Vitamin A derivatives can be drying, so you must have a skincare routine with powerful humectants and moisturizers.
While many think the goal is to use retinol nightly, the key is to use it as often as the skin can tolerate. For some, that is only a couple of times a week. For others, it can be nightly. Know that the skin benefits regardless of how often you use your retinol, so be sure to listen to your skin and adjust your use accordingly. And of course, be sure to check in with me once you begin retinol (or if you’re unsure about whether it’s right for you) so that we can make sure you stay on track! Or, if you’re new here, start with my free online skincare consultation to get a routine designed for your unique skin.