A lot of people seem to think retinol is too harsh to include in their skin care routine – not true at all! In fact, retinol is a skincare staple. It’s recommended by dermatologists, celebrities and just about every beauty guru there is – including me!
Some people swear retinol is too harsh for their sensitive skin, but does retinol have to be irritating? And what can you do to make it work better for your skin type?
What Does Retinol Do in Skin Care?
Retinol is a chemical compound extracted from vitamin A. The term “retinoid” refers to any of these compounds used in skincare products for various purposes.
Here are some things you might not know about retinol:
- Retinol is a powerful anti-aging ingredient! It works by increasing cell turnover rate, which helps fade hyperpigmentation and smooths wrinkles
- Retinol can be applied topically or taken orally as a supplement
- If you use retinol too often or at too high of a concentration, your skin might become dry, sensitive, and irritated
What to Do About Retinol Irritation
I hear it all the time: Women, at least women over the age of 30, are often told that retinol irritation is normal and that their skin will get less irritated over time with persistent use.
But what if your skin is sensitive and you can’t afford any irritation? Depending on what your goal is in using retinol, you may find yourself having more issues than before! If redness and sensitivity are something you don’t want to begin with, the advice to keep using retinol until irritation fades isn’t actually helpful.
Retinol can definitely be irritating to the skin, especially when used improperly. But there are ways to minimize it or eliminate irritation altogether.
The key is finding a retinoid that works for your skin along with these retinol use tips:
- If you have sensitive or dry skin, use an oil-based moisturizer before applying retinol
- For oily or acne prone skin, try using an alcohol-free toner first and apply retinol only when the skin has calmed down
- If you find your skin getting irritated from other products in addition to retinols, it might be time for a change in routine!
Avoid harsh exfoliants right before using retinol- they’ll just make things worse by removing more protective oils from the surface of your skin
Use gentle cleansers with water-soluble ingredients instead of soap
Wear sunscreen – retinol can make skin more photosensitive
Time-released retinols spread out delivery and are less irritating
- Be sure to use retinol, not Retin-A, which is much stronger
Here’s my favorite way to trial-run retinol concentration before I add it to my routine:
Take a dab of retinol in the palm of your hand. Mix with your favorite moisturizer or eye cream. Cocktail them together and dab onto your face, then massage it in until absorbed. The moisturizer will buffer retinol delivery and minimize irritation.
It’s also important to note: Retinol comes in a variety of strengths. If you’re worried about irritation, I recommend starting on a 0.25 to 0.5 strength and use it 2 to 3 times a week. If your skin is not irritated then you can move up to using it 4 nights a week.
Still Unsure About Retinol Irritation? Try This Gentle Anti-Aging Ingredient:
My Silk Genesis: Bakuchiol collection is formulated around the miracle ingredient, bakuchiol. Bakuchiol is the FIRST natural retinol alternative, derived from the Babchi plant in India.
Bakuchiol is clinically proven to be as effective as retinol in its anti-aging benefits, visibly reducing hyperpigmentation and deep wrinkles.
The best part? Bakuchiol is much gentler and soothing than retinol. That means no having to
worry about irritated skin. (BUT as a rule of thumb – you should always test skin care products before regular use!)
Retinol for Anti-Aging: Try it For Yourself!
Despite what you may have heard, retinol is a great ingredient for anti-aging in skin care products. I know some people are hesitant to try it because they’ve heard that it can cause redness and irritation.
I hope this post helped you to understand that when it comes to retinol, there’s nothing to be afraid of! If you follow my retinol tips, you can avoid irritation.
And if you don’t want to find your own retinol products – no problem! I’ve rounded up my favorite best-selling retinol products (formulated by yours truly!) so you can get all the benefits of this powerful ingredient without any of the fuss.
David’s Retinol Recommendations