How To Avoid Skin Damage When Using Retinol

Retinoids have gained immense popularity in the skincare industry due to their ability to treat various skin concerns such as acne, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. However, these powerful ingredients can also cause skin thinning and damage if not used correctly. In this blog post, you will find a step-by-step routine with tips on avoiding skin damage, dealing with skin purging when on a retinol, while still enjoying the benefits of retinoid treatments.

Step 1: Start Slowly

When incorporating retinoids into your skincare routine, it’s crucial to start with a low concentration product and gradually increase the strength over time. Begin by using the product once or twice a week, then gradually increase the frequency as your skin adjusts.
Alternatively, if you are using a prescribed retinoid opt to use it two times a week and gradually increase it into your skincare routine.

Step 2: Cleanse and Tone

Before applying your retinoid, cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser suitable for your skin type. Follow it up with a moisturizing toner without further active ingredients like AHA’’s and BHA’s or you can skip toning altogether. 

Step 3: Apply a Serum

To minimize potential dryness and irritation, layer on a hyaluronic acid serum.

Step 4: Apply Retinoid 

Once your serum has fully absorbed into the skin, apply a pea-sized amount of retinoid at night only on areas of concern, avoiding the delicate eye area. 

Step 5: Moisturise

Sandwich your retinoid treatment with a ceramide moisturizer. 

Step 6: Facial Oil

If you are experiencing sensitivity to the retinol treatment, include a facial oil as the final step of your night-time skincare routine for extra nourishment. 

Sun Protection is Crucial

Retinoids increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so it’s essential to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every morning. This step will protect your skin from harmful UV rays and prevent further damage or pigmentation issues.

Avoid Harsh Ingredients

While using retinoids, it’s best to avoid harsh ingredients that can further irritate or thin the skin. Steer clear of products containing alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), physical exfoliants, and alcoholic toners. These ingredients can exacerbate dryness and potential irritation.

Be Patient and Consistent

Results from retinoid treatments take time, so be patient and consistent with your routine. It usually takes around 8-12 weeks to see significant improvements in the skin. Stick to your skincare routine and resist the temptation to overuse or rush the process.

During the initial weeks of retinoid use, it’s common to experience mild redness, peeling, or dryness and even skin purging for up to four weeks. Give your skin time to adjust by using the retinoid every other day or every two days until your skin can tolerate daily use.

Surviving a retinoid treatment without thinning or damaging your skin requires careful consideration and patience. By following this step-by-step routine, starting slowly, and incorporating skin-nourishing ingredients, you can enjoy the benefits of retinoids while maintaining a healthy and resilient complexion. Remember to prioritize sun protection and consult with a dermatologist if you have any concerns or questions along the way.

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By Sheena Deepnarain

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