I am often asked by my clients about Retinol, its benefits and how to use it. One of the few ingredients to actually work, Retinol is effective in improving skin’s brightness, the treatment of acne, reducing brown/sun spots and minimising the appearance of wrinkles. It really is a skincare superhero!
To my customers, I recommend Radical Night Repair by ZO Zein Obagi. Formulated with 1% retinol, it also provides antioxidant protection to help neutralise free radical damage.
Retinol is the chemical name for Vitamin A and retinoids cause skin cells to turn over at a faster rate, decreasing oil production and helping the skin to exfoliate.
It’s important to remember that Retinol is strong stuff and with almost all effective aesthetic treatments, there will be some side effects that vary by individual.
During ‘retinization’ (which can start 1-3 days after first use) and as your skin adjusts to the retinol there may be some peeling, dryness and your face may appear redder than usual. Sensitivity is completely normal and there are many ways to soothe your skin while it builds a tolerance to Retinol. Patience is key and glowing, healthier looking skin is worth waiting for! We thought we’d list some of the best after care tips so that your Retinol treatment is as efficient as possible…
The best preparation your can do pre-retinol is to ensure your face is moisturised. Start a moisturisation routine day and night for at least a week before you start using Retinol and you’ll ensure your skin has a better barrier function.
Applying the retinol over a moisturiser at night will help to temper the harshness of the product. Look for one with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, antioxidants or redness relieving peptides. I recommend Epionce Renewal Facial Lotion which contains all of these things as well as a botanical complex of meadowfoam, flax, avocado and lavender to calm inflammation and neutralise free radicals. This can be ordered through Making Faces so contact me if you’d like to know more!
Slow & Steady
Retinol is best applied at night so as to avoid sun sensitivity and shouldn’t be used every day at first. Start by applying retinol twice per week, gradually working your way up to regular use. Slow and steady will mean you have a less severe reaction to the retinol as your skin adjusts and over time you can build up to daily use if you wish.
If your skin has an adverse reaction, stop use for a couple of days until it calms down.
Switch Up Your Routine
For the first month of regular use, your skin will be sensitive and this means you may need to switch up your care routine. Use a gentle cleanser instead of an exfoliator and allow some natural oils to remain on the skin. I love SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser or Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser.
Give up masks and facial peels too – Retinol will naturally exfoliate the skin and so there is no reason to do any manual dermabrasion. You should also avoid any other products that contain retinol, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid as they can be too harsh during retinol use.
If you don’t get any dryness, it’s likely that your retinol isn’t strong enough so dry patches are completely normal and should be treated with more moisturiser or soothing aloe vera gel.
Ask Your Aesthetician
If you think you are having an extreme reaction to retinol, contact your aesthetician for advice. In rare occasions when rashes develop it may mean you are having an allergic reaction to the product and so should stop use immediately.
Retinol can have incredible results when used correctly and my clients that use Radical Night Repair have found it has now become a part of their ongoing skin care routine. If you’d like any advice or have any questions at all about the product – please do not hesitate to contact me.