It’s not just what you use. It’s HOW you use it.
But if you use it WRONG, it won’t work as well. Worse, it may turn your face into a flaky red mess.
So how to you use it RIGHT? Here are 8 scientifically proven tricks to make the most out of retinol (and all other forms of Vitamin A):
PS: they work even if you have sensitive skin.
1. Keep It Hidden
We humans crave sunshine and fresh hair. Retinol hates them. Whenever it’s exposed to light and air, it slowly loses a bit of its effectiveness. Within a few short weeks, it becomes useless. That’s why you should opt for opaque and air-tight tubes and bottles that keep it hidden from its enemies. They’ll keep it effective until you’ve reached the last drop.
2. Freeze It
No more storing your precious retinol serums in the bathroom girls. Heat makes retinol go bad faster too. If you want it last (and I guess you do), keep your bottles somewhere dark and fresh, like your air-conditioned bedroom. Or the refrigerators. Yep, that works too.
3. Use it at night
Remember when I said retinol and light don’t get along well? You can get around this by wearing sunscreen. But if you’re not religious with reapplication, save yourself the hassle and use it at night.
4. Start small
When you take up running, you don’t start with a marathon. You run for a mile, then two, then three. You work your way up to give your body time to get used to the bigger workload. It’s the same with retinol. When you first use it, it can be pretty harsh and leave your skin red and flaky. The best way to avoid the irritation is to start with a small concentration once or twice a week and increase both dose and frequency gradually.
5. A pea is enough
I know you want to get rid of those wrinkles fast but don’t get carried away. A pea-size amount for the face is enough. Really. With retinol, less is more.
6. Avoid other powerful or irritating ingredients
All the best skincare superstars – you know, vitamin C and glycolic acid – can be harsh and irritating too. If you’ve got pretty resistant skin, you may be able to use them together.
If you’ve got sensitive skin or are a retinol newbie, you need to give your skin time to adjust to the extra load. That means using them on alternate nights.
If even that is too much, you may want to consider taking one superstar out of your skincare routine for a while. You can always bring it back once your skin has gotten used to the new regime.
7. Tweak your skincare routine
Even if you follow all the tips above, retinol can still cause some trouble. It may dry out your skin or irritate it. Not as much as it would if you started with a huge dose every day but if your skin’s on the sensitive side, the risk is there.
That’s why it pays to be prepared. Follow up your retinol with a rich moisturizer full of soothing agents that’ll neutralise both its drying and irritating effects.
- CeraVe AM Face Moisturiser SPF 30 ($16.40): available at iHerb, Ulta and Walmart
- Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Moisturizer For Normal To Dry Skin ($29.00): available at Dermstore, Paula’s Choice and Skinstore.
- Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Moisturizer For Normal To Oily Skin ($29.00): available at Paula’s Choice and Skinstore.
8. Choose time-released products
If you have sensitive skin, your best bet is to go for a time-released retinol products. Time-released means that the retinol is delivered into your skin slowly over a period of several hours rather than all at once.
- Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM ($65.00): available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty and Sephora
- Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment ($49.00): available at Sephora and Ulta
- The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion (£8.00): available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty and Feel Unique
SHOP THE POST
How do you make the most of retinol? Share your secrets in the comments below.