"In the first two to four weeks, the skin undergoes a process known as retinization, where the skin cells adjust to the retinol itself. This can lead to dryness, flaking and redness. That is why it is so important to pair your retinol with a moisturizer," Dr.
For people with more sensitive skin, Sarkar recommends the retinoid sandwich technique, in which you apply a layer of moisturizer, then your retinoid, then moisturizer on top of the retinoid. Lastly, if you have super sensitive skin, she recommends applying your retinoid and then washing it off after 30 minutes.
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.
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.
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.
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. As for benzoyl peroxide and retinol, they cancel each other out.
Should you use retinol under your eyes? Yes, definitely. While it is true that retinol – a form of vitamin A – is a powerful ingredient and the skin under your eyes is delicate, there's no reason why you should miss out on the amazing benefits of retinol.
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.
But rather than using your standard retinol cream, it's best to use a product formulated specifically for the delicate skin around the eyes. "The under-eye area is quite sensitive as it is some of the thinnest skin on the body," explains New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Anthony Rossi.
The problem is, retinol can be irritating when applied straight to the lips (so keep your prescription-strength cream off your mouth for the time being). But Verso's formula contains a gentle derivative, called retinol 8, which can reduce the appearance of fine lines around the mouth overtime.
Retinoids work best if you use them daily. Specifically, they should be used at night because some types are deactivated by light and air. It's important to start slowly and allow your skin time to adjust. Using too much too quickly can cause redness, dryness, and irritation.
Dr. Mariwalla says coating your skin with Vaseline after applying retinoids or AHA acids would increase penetration of these ingredients, potentially leading to irritation.
“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.
Using any form of retinol makes your skin more prone to sunburn. Sun damage combined with retinol burn is a recipe for redness or discoloration, inflammation, and more.
Do not use this medicine in or around the eyes or lips, or inside of the nose. Spread the medicine away from these areas when applying. If it accidentally gets on these areas, wash with water at once. Before applying tretinoin, wash the skin with a mild soap or cleanser and warm water by using the tips of your fingers.
Hyaluronic acid is best if they're looking to moisturize dry skin, while retinol works better by encouraging better skin by boosting collagen production. They have several benefits that can work in tandem for better results, though patients need to be careful with the exact formulations they use.
While Vitamin C serum predominantly protects your skin from damage, retinol serum actively heals the damage on your skin. Vitamin C serum protects the collagens while the Retinol serum helps in cell turn over thereby creating new collagens.
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!
Retinol (leave to absorb for 10-20 minutes)
“It is important to leave a 10-20 minute wait time before applying the next product. Retinols are powerful antioxidants and it is important to allow it to fully absorb if you want to avoid your skin becoming sensitive,” says Dr Liakas.
First-time retinol users have reported irritation, including redness, dryness, and peeling. If you use too high a strength or apply retinol more frequently than you should, you may experience further irritation, like itchiness and scaly patches.
“This will make your skin look older and accentuate wrinkles” — which is probably not what you're going for when you start using the stuff. And there's no question that retinol makes your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Derived from vitamin A, retinoids — such as tretinoin (Retin-A, Renova, Avita) — that you apply to your skin may improve the appearance of stretch marks less than a few months old. Tretinoin, when it works, helps to rebuild a protein in the skin called collagen, making the stretch marks look more like your normal skin.
Engelman agrees: "Retinol is the most potent ingredient that helps build collagen and elastin, which leads to tighter, smoother skin."This mixture has the added bonus of hyaluronic acid, which "can smooth, firm, and tighten the appearance of the skin," Dr. Bowe says.