For people with sensitive skin, even the most seemingly harmless and soothing ingredients can at times cause an unfavorable event. This is even more prevalent when it comes to retinol. Retinol, a form of pure Vitamin A that helps with cell turnover and in the improvement of lines, wrinkles, uneven tone and texture. Unfortunately, retinol can be quite tricky for our sensitive skin folks. The good news? Retinol can be used by nearly everyone if it is used correctly!
Scroll through for more on how to effectively use retinol on sensitive skin.
Even a simple cleanser can upset sensitive skin. However, it’s a crucial step in any skincare routine; especially when using retinol. We suggest Revision’s Gentle Cleanser, formulated with Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5) to moisturize and nourish the skin and Sucrose Laurate to cleanse the skin without stripping it. Another big one to keep in mind, stick with products free of artificial fragrance and colorants, these should be red flags to stay away.
There are two way you can try a gentler version of Retinol. First, you can try a Retinol that has a low concentration. Starting with a less concentrated form of Vitamin A is a great way to introduce your skin to Retiniol. It’s not going to be as aggressive on sensitive complexions so most people can handle it. We recommend Sente’s Bio Complete Serum for this. The second way you can try a gentler version of Retinol is finding one with time release technology. Time release technology does exactly what it sounds like; release the medical grade products slowly to allow a gentle absorption. Your skin will take what it needs and then leave the rest to gradually be used. One of our favorite products that does this is Skinbetter’s AlphaRet.
Any good Retinol should have moisturizing properties, however they will not replace your moisturizer completely. Retinols have a rep for being drying, so using one without a moisturizer is probably a bad idea. Added an additional layer of hydration help sensitive skin keep calm with such potent ingredients and fights potential irritation. If you have extremely sensitive skin, it’s been said that putting one a layer of moisturizer first and then your Retinol can help from adverse events (however you will not be absorbing much Retinol). No matter when you apply retinol in your routine, intergrating a moisturizer into your regimen when using retinol can be extremely helpful.
This tip is a big one. Yes, retinol can be used more often as time builds, but we suggest starting small only using it two or three nights a week. This is so sensitive skin can build a tolerance to the ingredients, therefore becoming more accustomed to it over time. After about two weeks of using retinol a couple times a week, and all goes well (no dryness, redness, or flaking) or can gradually increase the frequency of application of the retinol to every other night or even nightly.
A good rule of thumb is: Pull back on how many nights you’re using retinol if you’re getting irritation or dryness, and keep chugging along if you’re doing fine.
Sometime when using a retinol, it’s a good idea to steer clear of some other ingredients such as glycolic and other acids. This is because it can contribute to dryness and/or irritation. Instead, using gentle formulation. Some people do find with all the “harsher” ingredients and others don’t, its all about finding what works for you.
This is similar to the trick of slowing bring retinol into your regime, however a little more cautious. For those you are particularly sensitive you may want to a short application test. This simply involves applying a small around of retinol to the whole face, letting it sit on the skin for a few minutes and then washing it off. Doing a test like this is just another way of getting your skin used to retinol.