No Retinol Doesnt Thin Your Skin
There are a few myths about retinol products that may erroneously shy potential users away, including the idea that retinol products will thin out skin over time, Dr. Kraffert says. This is simply not true retinol has a tendency to slightly thicken skin. The ingredient does this by boosting your natural production of collagen, leading to fewer fine lines and wrinkles and plumper, bouncier skin.
When To Contact A Doctor
OTC retinols are available without a prescription, but you might want to consider talking with a dermatologist before using a specific brand. They can help you assess your overall skin condition and recommend the right products based on your individual needs.
Alternatively, if youre not seeing results from common beauty or drug store products, your dermatologist may recommend a prescription retinoid instead.
While prescription formulas are indeed stronger, this also means they carry a higher risk for side effects. Follow your doctors instructions and wear sunscreen every day.
If you are not seeing the desired cosmetic results after trying retinol, there are many other options to discuss with a dermatologist, such as:
- alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic and citric acids for anti-aging
- beta-hydroxy acids to help improve skin texture and acne
- chemical peels to help shed the outer layer of skin for improved tone and texture
- dermabrasion, which may also help texture and tone
- fillers for fine lines and wrinkles
- laser treatments for unwanted red and brown pigment or scarring
How To Get Rid Of Peeling Skin: The Flaky Side Of Retinoids
While the side effects of retinoids may be offputting for some potential users, purging and peeling are common for retinoid users and are just one of the possible journeys to achieving clearer and brighter skin. Peeling skin is a nuisance and can be an annoying issue to deal with, but knowing the causes and remedies for peeling skin can provide more insight and reassurance to those who are just starting to use retinoids.
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Change To A Simple Skin
For the first month of regular retinoid use, your skin is officially classified as sensitive. That means you need to change up your cleansing and exfoliating routine. Using a gentle detergent cleanser will allow some natural oils to remain on the skin, reducing the likelihood of developing the irritant dermatitis, says Dr. Shamban. She says to look for something that is cream-based like Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser .
Also give up your masks, peels, and exfoliating scrubs. Retinol will naturally exfoliate the skin, says Dr. Shamban. There is no reason to do any kind of a manual dermabrasion or exfoliating. Dr. Green adds that you should avoid applying any other skin-care products with retinol, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid as they can be too harsh on your skin during retinization.
Don’t Use Before Wax And Laser Procedures
Planning to wax or get laser hair removal on your eyebrows or upper lip? Both treatments target the top layer of skin cells, which can become super fragile when using retinoids that encourage cell turnover. And the result could be burns and irritation.
“Your dermatologist may advise you to stop using your retinoid before waxing or laser procedures,” said Dr. Lipner. Thus, the simple fix is just taking a break from products prior to the treatment.
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It Should Be Applied To Dry Skin
Caroline Tompkins / Refinery29 for Getty Images
If you’ve ever read the directions for applying retinol, you’ve likely seen the sentence, “Always apply retinol to dry skin.” While this seems easy enough, if you prefer to do your skincare routine in the shower, you’ve likely wondered if this step is absolutely necessary. While Friedman says you don’t have to apply retinol to dry skin, he does say that “applying retinol to dry skin will limit penetration and therefore irritation potential.” In other words, sensitive skin ladies, it’s probably best to stick to the instructions.
You Dont Need To Wait Until You Have Wrinkles To Use Retinol
It is erroneously thought that retinol products are best reserved until wrinkles have already developed, but this is not true, Dr. Kraffert says. It is completely appropriate for 20-somethings to incorporate retinol into an anti-aging skin care regimen. Consistency of use, along with starting on your retinol journey at a younger age, will definitely lead to more satisfying results for your skin.
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Skinbetter Science Alpharet Overnight Cream
Dr. King recommends this face cream that combines other star ingredients like fatty acids, squalane, ceramides, and niacinamide. Those ingredients help calm, hydrate, and moisturize the skin to combat any possible irritation that you could get, she says. It also has a mild alpha-hydroxy acid, which can be irritating, but in this formulation it helps to get rid of that flaking that you might otherwise see .
May Appear After Using A Product With A High Concentration Of Retinol
Retinol burn occurs after you use skin care products that introduce your skin to high amounts of retinol. Retinol burn typically occurs within 24 hours.
Even with home remedies, it can take about a week for the visible signs of retinol burn to dissipate.
As your sensitivity to retinol decreases, your skin should calm and return to its typical texture.
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Prepare Your Skin Before Starting Retinoids
The best prep you can do for your new retinoid regimen is to make sure your face isnt dehydrated. Moisturized skin has a better barrier function, meaning that its at peak protection for whatever you throw at it, Beverly Hills dermatologist and founder of SkinxFive Ava Shamban, M.D., tells SELF. She says that means starting on a solid moisturization routinemorning and nightat least a week or so before you begin using the medication.
Should I Stop Using Retinol In The Summer
Yes, if you are already sensitive to sunlight or exposed to sunlight more often in the summer, you should carefully monitor your use of retinol products to help protect against sun damage .
Both oral and topical retinoids greatly increase skins sensitivity to the sun. Therefore, if you expose your skin to the sun following your use of retinol, you must be extra careful to take additional precautions, such as diligent use of sunscreen and UV-protective clothing.
If you do get sunburned when using retinol, spend a few days out of the sun to let your more sensitive skin recuperate.
It should also be noted that sun exposure doesnt just occur in the summer. Many people are exposed to the sun even more during the wintertime, due to the snow reflecting sun directly onto your skin. This is especially true for those who enjoy snow sports, which could mean exposing your skin to reflective UV rays for hours at a time. Thus, its a good idea to wear sunscreen all year round .
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Whats The Best Way To Treat Retinol Burn
Retinol burn typically heals as your skin adjusts to the retinol ingredients. You can also treat retinol burn at home.
Before you take any steps to treat retinol burn, stop using products that contain retinol. You should not keep putting retinol on your skin while it shows visible signs of injury.
- If your skin gets red or discolored and inflamed to the point where you are in pain, ice the area or apply a cold compress to help soothe your skin.
- Keep your skin routine as basic and gentle as possible while your skin heals from retinol burn, rinsing with cool water once per day and skipping makeup if youre able to.
- You can use an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to treat inflammation and redness or discoloration but use sparingly especially around your eyes and do not use any steroid cream longer than 2 weeks at a time as they can thin out your skin.
- Soothing botanicals like aloe vera or witch hazel may stimulate healing and treat symptoms of burning and chafing.
- Applying a gentle, hypoallergenic moisturizer to your skin will help to re-hydrate your skin. It will also seal moisture and any other treatment products into your skin, so it can heal, and provide relief from flaking and dryness.
If youre having a retinol burn reaction to a product that your dermatologist or doctor prescribed, call to describe your symptoms.
Ask questions to make sure that what youre experiencing is within the realm of whats normal as far as side effects go.
Retinol Doesnt Lead To Skin Cancer Either
Another incorrect idea is that retinol products increase the risk of skin cancer, Dr. Kraffert tells TZR. This may because the ingredient makes skin more sensitive and thus, more prone to sun damage. The real retinol fact: Retinoid products like retinol are well known to correct pre-cancers, slow growth of existing skin cancer and decrease the risk of developing new skin cancer, he says.
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Signs You May Have Retinol Burn
The telltale signs of retinol burn include skin that is red, irritated, flaky, inflamed, sore to the touch, and/or shedding. “You could also be experiencing breakouts or inflamed acne that is not usual for your skin,” adds Idriss.
These symptoms may sound vaguely similar to any skin irritation or dry dermis woes, but there is a stark difference when it comes to retinization. “With a retinol burn, skin is going to be more and more raw, more irritated, and more ‘angry,’ whereas other skin conditions don’t necessarily have those symptoms,” says Idriss. “I also think history is super important for you to really think back about when you used the retinol and when your skin started becoming dry and irritated because this is where history is everything.”
Relief For Retinol Peeling
If your skin is peeling or getting flaky when using retinol, the best advice is to be patient and wait it out. We say this with all the love, but sometimes things get worse before they get better. The peeling will eventually go away over time when your skin gets used to retinol.
In the meantime, either slow your usage of retinol or, if you must, apply moisturizer. For extra flaky or dry areas, you can avoid applying the retinol in that spot. You can also spot treat that area with a soothing lotion or hydrating cream, but that essentially stops the retinol from doing what its meant to do.
Our skin care experts at LilyAna Naturals greatly prefer the former option — forgoing retinol on the flaky spot for a day or two.
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Can Retinol Ruin Your Skin
Most OTC retinol products are safe to use as directed, but there are some common side effects that can cause irritation in the short term. These side effects include:
- sensitivity to the sun
- an allergic reaction
To reduce the risk of irritation or allergic reaction, talk with a dermatologist about the specific OTC retinol brand youre considering. They may have good insight.
Its also a good idea to do a use test. This is when you put a small amount of the product on your inner forearm for several days to make sure you dont have a reaction prior to applying it all over your face
Start By Using Retinol 2 Nights On And 1 Night Off
Repeat this throughout the week. For best results, you must use retinol consistently .
Your skin has other needs, though, so you dont want to use it every single night. Plus, using it too often could prove too much for your skin, since its such a biologically active ingredient.
Following the two nights on, one night off rule will result in four nights a week. If you are over 40 with a history of sun damage and your skin isnt overly sensitive, you can use it four to five nights a week. However, no one should use it for more than five nights a week. This can eventually result in increased sensitivity and a waxy and unnatural appearance.
On the other hand, if youre under 40 and your skin is fairly sensitive, you might start by using it only twice a week. Then after two months, you can work up to using it three nights a week. Eventually, try to work up to four nights a week.
When in doubt, start slow and increase as you go along. If youre experiencing dryness or irritation, youre either using too much or using it too often. This is a sure sign that you should cut back.
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Myth: You Should Avoid Applying Retinoids Around The Eye Area
Most people assume the delicate eye area is too sensitive for retinoid use. However, this is the area where wrinkles usually show up first and can benefit the most from the collagen-stimulating effects of retinoids.
If youre sensitive around your eyes, you can always layer on an eye cream first followed by your retinoid.
Choose A Mild Product
First, start with an over-the-counter retinol versus prescription retinoic acid , the latter of which is notably more potent. It’s also ideal to seek out milder retinols with lower concentrations and gentle, hydrating formulations.
“These milder formulations contain ingredients that moisturize and support the skin barrier, and use less potent forms , so most people will be able to tolerate at least a milder formulation,” notes Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.
Dr. Rossi notes that newer formulations of retinoids or retinols are being micronized or encapsulated so they are less irritating to the skin. Some mild retinol options include IT Cosmetics Hello Results Wrinkle-Reducing Daily Retinol Serum-in-Cream which is infused with vitamins B5 and E to soothe and hydrateand Good Molecules Gentle Retinol Cream , a .1% retinol supplemented with bakuchiol, grapeseed oil, and allantoin, and acmella oleracea extract.
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Cleanse And Tone Your Skin
Before putting any skincare products on your face, youll want to make sure your skin is clean. Since all retinoids provide some degree of exfoliation, we suggest starting with a non-exfoliating, cream-based cleanser, such as our classic Ultra Facial Cleanser. Its made with squalane and avocado oil and helps remove surface debris without stripping the skins natural moisture barrier. The mild cleanser is also pH-balanced and dermatologist-tested for safety on all skin types. To use it, wet your skin with lukewarm water, then massage a dime-sized amount of the creamy formula onto your face to create a light lather. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat your face dry with a clean towel.
Then, use a clean cotton round to apply a hydrating toner, like Ultra Facial Toner, to your entire face. The alcohol-free formula tones without over-drying the skin, leaving it feeling soothed, balanced, and primed for moisture.
Myth: Retinoids Thin The Skin
This is commonly believed because one of the side effects when first starting the use of a retinoid is skin peeling.
Many assume their skin is thinning, but quite the opposite is true. Since retinoids stimulate collagen production, it actually helps to thicken the skin. This is beneficial because one of the natural signs of getting older is thinning of the skin.
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Is Retinol Dangerous
Weâve listed some pretty unpleasant side effects that retinol may cause, but is it truly dangerous?
This depends entirely on your skin type, how you use it, and where you are getting it from.
Over-the-counter retinol is, as we mentioned previously, a weaker version of a retinoid. On the other hand, tretinoin is a more potent prescription version.
Prescription-grade retinoids contain retinoic acid as their primary active ingredient. This means that it is more effective when treating acne and wrinkles in a shorter amount of time. However, it will more often than not come with more adverse side effects.
What Not To Do
It is important to remain gentle with your skincare routine when using retinoids. Youll even want to be aware of the temperature of the water you use on your face. Hot water can inflame your skin further and strip your skin of oil, making it even dryer. Even though you may want to exfoliate or pick at your peeling skin, this will only continue to irritate and exacerbate the issue. It is best to keep a hands-off approach, keeping your hands away from your face and also being mindful of what products are making your skin peel even more.
It is recommended to avoid using benzoyl peroxide and AHA/BHAs during this learning curve to avoid further peeling and irritation. When your skin has gone through the adjustment period, you can incorporate these products back into your routine. Just make sure you use benzoyl peroxide in the morning and alternate nights with AHA/BHAs.
Peeling skin is making way for, hopefully, clearer, brighter, and smoother skin! Its a temporary reaction and can be mitigated. Keep at it because consistency is key when using retinoids.
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Is It Time To Use Retinol How To Know If It’s Right For Your Skin Care Routine
Over the past few years, retinol has increased in popularity and has even become a staple feature in nighttime skin care routines everywhere. Even those who haven’t jumped headfirst into using it are curious about the highly-regarded ingredient.
But what exactly is this ingredient so often seen in creams and serums alongside buzzwords like “age-defying,” “anti-wrinkle” or “reparative”? Is retinol safe? When should it be used and why?
Look no further to find answers on whether it’s time to incorporate retinol into your skin care regimen. We sat down with skin care industry experts to get all the details on this popular product.
Retinol is a synthetic derivative of vitamin A, the group of fat-soluble vitamins common in carrots, eggs and sweet potatoes.
According to Dr. Tina Alster of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, when retinol is applied topically, it converts to retinoic acid by specialized enzymes found in the skin. Retinoic acid can also be applied topically, but is much harsher than a retinol cream or serum, as it does not convert naturally over time.