Sep 13th, 2021 ・ Shannon Peter

The non-scary guide to using retinol

Retinol may be one of the most powerful ingredients in any dermatologist’s toolkit, but it’s also fairly tricky to get right. A derivative of vitamin A, this powerful ingredient is considered the gold-standard when it comes to halting premature skin ageing. It soothes acne, fights the appearance of pores, helps to minimise the look of fine lines and wrinkles and increases collagen synthesis, leading to plumper, bouncier skin. You can read our full guide to the ingredient here.

The problem is, an ingredient of this potency comes with its fair set of disadvantages. Retinol can cause skin sensitivity, irritation, peeling and itching, which is why traditionally, it’s had a pretty bad rep. But retinol doesn’t need to come with this kind of downtime. Let us share a few handy tips for introducing retinol into your skincare regime, without the itch!

1. Start with a low percentage

Higher percentages won’t necessarily fast track results, and if you submit your skin to something too strong, too fast, you could end up dealing with the itchy, scratchy, flaky fall out. Newbies should start off with a product containing a low dose of around 0.025% but switch to stronger formulations over time. Speak to your Skin Mentor about the percentage that’s right for you.

2.Look for encapsulated options

In encapsulated formulas, the retinol is funnelled into microscopic capsules that slowly break down throughout the day, giving you a steady stream of the active ingredient. This way, skin is never subjected to the full dose all at once, which can help with sensitisation issues.

3. Increase usage slowly

It can be tempting to use retinol everyday, particularly when you start to see real results, but don’t. “Increase your usage slowly week by week,” Ksenia recommends. “For instance, in week one, use it once. In week two, use it twice, etc.” Your personal Skin Mentor can advise you the best frequency for your skin. Book a Holistic Skin Session to unlock their advice now.

4. Scale back the rest of your regime

Whenever you introduce a new product into your regime, it’s important to keep everything else the same, and that directive is particularly vital when using something like retinol. If you experience an adverse reaction, it helps you pinpoint exactly what is causing it. Moreover, if you stick to just one stimulating ingredient while your skin acclimates, there will be less chance of extreme sensitisation.

5. Make a skincare sandwich

Stimulating ingredients like retinol can increase skin’s photosensitivity which is why SPF is more important than ever in a retinol routine. Choose upwards of SPF 30 and apply generously; squeeze a line of sunscreen along your index and middle finger as a guide for how much your face requires. And don’t forget to reapply every few hours, too! Check out our guide to SPF ingredients here.

6. Stick to the SPF

Stimulating ingredients like retinol can increase skin’s photosensitivity which is why SPF is more important than ever in a retinol routine. Choose upwards of SPF 30 and apply generously; squeeze a line of sunscreen along your index and middle finger as a guide for how much your face requires. And don’t forget to reapply every few hours, too! Check out our guide to SPF ingredients here.

7. Take a break

“Some experts believe that giving your skin a week-long break after four or five weeks of use can help to boost the benefits even more,” explains Ksenia. “Basically, you’re just reintroducing it regularly.”

To find out the best way to introduce retinol into your specific routine, catch up with your personal Skin Mentor in a Holistic Skin Session virtual consultation.

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Sophie K

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Karolina Jensen

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