Peeling, redness, and irritation are common onset reactions for some people when they first start to use retinol. Some reactions get so bad that the common term used to describe the list of effects has been dubbed the “retinol uglies”. Note from a skincare expert: Many things in life get worse before they get better.
In general, retinol is one of the more gentle varieties of retinoids, however, “if you're going to experience shedding it will begin on day three to five of daily night time use, and this usually continues for about five to 10 days depending on your skin type and the percentage of retinol you've used,” adds Ejikeme.
Remember, that 'retinoid uglies' are likely to be temporary, and it will take time before you see the end result. You have three skin layers—the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. Your epidermis is your visible layer, and renews approximately every 28 days.
"You can definitely prevent [the retinoid uglies]," he says. "First, make sure it's applied to dry skin. Apply every third night for the first two weeks, then every second night for the next week, and so on so that your skin can get acclimated to it.
Purging is slightly different, appearing on the skin mostly as blackheads or small skin-coloured bumps just under the surface of the skin. But it is also possible for purging to cause similar spots to a breakout, too.
Generally, it takes a few weeks to see results, but some OTC options may require months of regular use. Most dermatologists said you'll need to use retinol for a few weeks before you see results, but you should see improvements by 12 weeks with most products.
Use moisturizer: Your skin turns flaky and dry during the first few weeks of using retinol. Apply moisturizer to reduce dryness and hydrate your skin. Avoid sunlight: Retinol can make your skin more sensitive to UV radiation, resulting in sunburn. Therefore, avoid direct exposure to sunlight.
First, the answer is yes, retinol can make wrinkles worse, especially when you first start using it. What is happening is a drying effect, and one can get epidermal sliding from separation from the dermis.
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.
“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.
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.
Why retinoids cause your skin to peel
Topical retinoids, such as Tretinoin, speed up the skin cell turnover cycle, ridding of the old layer of skin faster than usual. This causes your skin to become dry and flakey, as your skin purges and peels to become accustomed to the retinoid.
A formula with retinol, like the L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Eye Treatment, should be applied after your serums and before moisturizer due to its consistency.
Mariwalla says coating your skin with Vaseline after applying retinoids or AHA acids would increase penetration of these ingredients, potentially leading to irritation.
Skin purging happens when new ingredients, like retinol, promote increased cell turnover, which causes clogging and worsening breakouts. This is particularly the case as oil and debris that is trapped deeper underneath the skin comes to the surface.
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.
What Happens if You Don't Refrigerate Retinol? If you do not store your retinol in the fridge it will not impact its efficacy but it may shorten its shelf life. All retinoids including Adapalene, Tretinoin, and Retin-A can be safely stored at room temperature as long as they are not exposed to daylight.
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.
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. Also, keep in mind that you don't need to use retinol on a daily basis for it to be effective at treating acne. Two to three times per week may be enough.
6: Myth: If you have peeling or redness, you should stop using the retinoid. 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.
Your first port of call should be retinoids, thanks to their ability to speed up cell turnover and fade superficial scars in the process. That said, deeper, more indented scars are less likely to respond, according to Dr. Mahto, who rates The Ordinary's Granactive Retinoid 2% in Emulsion, £8.
Skin purging typically looks like tiny red bumps on the skin that are painful to touch. They are often accompanied by whiteheads or blackheads. It can also cause your skin to become flaky. The flare ups caused by purging have a shorter lifespan than a breakout.