The Retinol Season Is Here: How To Minimize Irritation and Purging
Retinol has a reputation as one of the most powerful anti-aging ingredients. However, starting with retinol is quite the process. Some people can experience irritation, flaking skin, and even purging. While retinol and other vitamin A derivatives can be used by all skin types, sensitive skin types have to use them with precautions.
We bring you the best tricks and tips for using retinol on sensitive skin so that even people with extremely delicate skin are not deprived of the benefits of this powerful ingredient.
Always start with a gentle cleanser
Be sure to clean your skin thoroughly before reaching for a product containing retinol. Using a mild facial cleanser will ensure a smooth skin surface free of dead skin cells. That way the active ingredient can be absorbed into the deeper layers. A cleansing gel containing ceramides, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid will be the best choice. It will lock moisture in the skin and prevent excessive irritation caused by retinol.
Start with the milder version
If you decide to use a product with retinol for the first time, it is advised to choose a milder, less concentrated version, such as retinol esters. Such a product will smooth fine lines and show you what you can expect from retinol. But it will be much milder on the complexion than pure retinol.
Not without moisturizer
Aside from using an overly aggressive formula, the biggest mistake you can make with retinol is forgetting about your moisturizer. When it comes to sensitive skin, the use of a quality cream is even more important, because an additional layer of hydration will protect sensitive skin from possible irritations and create an additional barrier.
You can add a small amount of retinol to your face cream, or you can use the “sandwich” technique: apply a thin layer of moisturizing cream, then a product with retinol, and finish the application with another layer of cream that will lock all the nutrients in the skin. This technique has proven to be extremely successful in reducing irritation.
Be careful with the quantity
The amount of retinol we apply to our face is perhaps the most important factor. Once you’ve chosen a retinol product to include in your skincare routine, resist the urge to slather it on your face every night. It is recommended to start with an amount no larger than a pea. Apply it only two to three times a week so that the skin gets used to retinol and establishes a tolerance to it. After two weeks, check the condition of your skin – if there is no irritation, redness, or peeling, gradually increase the amount and frequency of application.
Avoid other strong ingredients
Although we are often tempted to apply all the skincare products we have to our faces, other powerful ingredients are not recommended in addition to using retinol. Sensitive skin needs time to get used to retinol itself. So combining it with, for example, glycolic acid could further dry and irritate it.
“Train” the skin
Training the skin is another way to help our skin develop tolerance to strong skincare ingredients. How to “train” the skin to tolerate retinol and other powerful ingredients? Start with short-term product-to-skin contact. Apply retinol, keep it on your face for just a few minutes, and wash it off. Every day, extend the time of action on the skin. Do this until you reach a level of tolerance that will allow you to apply retinol in the evening and leave it on overnight.
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