For fighting acne, premature aging, skin texture, and discolouration, the skincare ingredient Retinol is often suggested as it works by increasing cellular turnover(new juicy baby skin cells come up to the surface faster), there’s little it can’t do to improve your overall skin health.
That said, when starting on a retinol serum for the first time or prescription retinoid, many people experience a process known as retinization, which is the initial adjustment period and can be somewhat confusing to navigate. To help you out, we’re sharing some of our go-to tips. Here’s what we recommend:
Tip #1: Start Low And Slow
You may have heard the adage “it gets worse before it gets better” with regard to using a retinol, but this doesn’t have to be the case. The easiest way to bypass an extreme scenario and avoid stressing your skin is to start with a product that features a low percentage (0.3%) of the active ingredient and work your way up. You can also start with just one or two days per week applying your product and increase gradually. Or both!
Subway Skin Sandwich Method: Apply moisturizer, then retinol, then another layer of moisturizer.
Tip #2: Know What’s Normal And What’s Not
Perhaps the trickiest aspect of the retinization process is knowing when you’ve overdone it and when you’re just experiencing a few associated effects. For example, in the beginning, it’s normal to see some skin purging in the form of small blemish-like pumps, as well as some light itching or flaking due to the accelerated turnover that’s happening at the epidermal level. These types of symptoms are normal and temporary.
On the other hand, if you notice excess redness, stinging, or burning, these are signs that your skin barrier has been compromised and it may be necessary to take a short break, or decrease the number of days that retinol is included in the rotation. That being said you want to introduce a retinol when your skin barrier is calm and supported.
Tip #3: Leverage Product Layering To Prevent Irritation
One more tip we love that can be a big help with the retinization process is to pair your retinol with gentle products such as hydrating serums and moisturizers, which will help combat any dryness and support the skin’s recovery process.
You may even consider applying these products first and layering your retinol as a last step, which will act as a buffer and mitigate the effects of retinol ever so slightly. Then, once it’s been established that your skin is tolerating everything well, you can switch your steps and apply retinol first.
Learn more about the skin benefits of our PM 0.3% Retinol Serum.