We suggest alternating between Retinoid and Pure Vitamin C to begin. How often should I start with The Ordinary 0.5% Retinol? We recommend slowly incorporating Retinol 0.5% into your routine. You may wish to begin by using it 1-3 times per week.
If you have not used high-strength retinol formulas in the past, we strongly recommend that you start your retinol regimen with our Retinol 0.2% in Squalane and adjust to higher strengths of Retinol 0.5% in Squalane and Retinol 1% in Squalane as your skin builds tolerance.
Apply a small amount to face in the PM as part of your skincare regimen, after water serums but before heavier treatments. Do not use with other retinoid treatments. Avoid unprotected solar exposure. Store in a cool, dry place.
To apply a serum with retinol correctly, Smooth it onto clean skin before your moisturizer. Your serum will have a thinner consistency than your moisturizer, which is what determines the application order.
Rouleau says the best time to use a scrub is in the morning. Overnight you've loosened up dead skin cells with your glycolic acid or retinol products, making the morning a perfect time to brush them off.
There are no set rules on how old you should be to use retinol. For anti-aging purposes, you can start preventatively in your 20s. While over-the-counter retinol can help mild acne, many people with breakouts will need a prescription.
Products With Active Ingredients
Keeping your retinol moisturizer or benzoyl peroxide acne spot treatment in a dark and cool environment like the fridge will slow down the degradation of the active ingredient.
Retinol is best applied at night since it can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun. When you do go outside, be sure to use sunscreen to protect your face. It's worth noting that you don't need to use retinol on a daily basis for it to effectively treat your acne. Even two to three times per week might be enough.
Pairing the two ingredients is safe and can make retinol easier to use. Niacinamide helps hydrate the skin, which reduces the risk of irritation caused by retinol. Niacinamide and retinol can be combined in one product or used as separate products.
With retinoids, it's often a “worse-before-better” type of situation. Typical side effects include dryness, tightness, peeling, and redness — especially when first starting out. These side effects usually subside after two to four weeks until the skin acclimates. Your skin will thank you later!
Don't Mix: Retinol with vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, and AHA/BHA acids. AHA and BHA acids are exfoliating, which can dry out skin and cause further irritation if your skincare routine already includes retinol.
And now another rule to keep in mind: Many prescription-strength retinoids suggest users wait upwards of 20 minutes post-cleansing before putting retinol on their skin and 20 more minutes before putting anything else on, according to Reddit.
Apply topical retinoids
Retinoids, which are topical vitamin A-based derivatives, may help reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen production. If you use retinoids on your face, extend the treatment area to your neck and chest at night. Retinoid products are available by prescription or over the counter.
Retinol (leave to absorb for 10-20 minutes)
Retinol is also an ingredient that should be left to absorb sufficiently into the skin before following up with another product. “It is important to leave a 10-20 minute wait time before applying the next product.
After two to six weeks of using tretinoin, it's usually okay to start using an exfoliant. However, it's best to use exfoliating products as sparingly as possible while using tretinoin to avoid potentially irritating your skin.
Perform the nighttime skincare routine as directed above. After applying retinol to your skin (while it's dry) allow it to sit for 10-20 minutes. Mist your face with water or a facial spray, and then apply your hyaluronic acid. (HA serums are most effective when they're applied to damp skin.)
You may be advised to use it after a moisturizer, which buffers the retinol and lessens risk of irritation. If it's a non-prescription retinol, apply it according to what type of product it is—a retinol moisturizer will act as the moisturizer step of your routine, while a retinol serum will act as the serum step.
“AHA, BHA, retinol, and benzoyl peroxide can be mixed with moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and rosehip oil to get effective results — just ensure you are not using retinol as well as AHA or BHA's during the day," says Graf.
She also says to stick with gentle cleansers (she likes CeraVe), and to always follow your retinol with a moisturizer, especially those with hyaluronic acid and ceramides. If your skin is really irritated, you can try buffering, where you apply moisturizer before retinol to reduce side effects.