Vitamin a, as in retinol and retinal, is skincare’s cream of the crop. But it can be very easy to misuse.
While I’m about to run you through some product precautions, you need to remember this is one of the most tested and effective ingredients out there. So don’t be scared.
If you’re new to retinoids, never used them before, or are someone who has particularly dry and sensitive skin, lower strength retinoids are going to be your new best friend. Opt for a serum or cream that has a retinoid component between 0.01% and 0.03%.
Don’t be disheartened by these small percentages. You will still see an improvement in the skin.
Use your retinoid product alone (no other actives) for at least one week to see how your skin responds. Monitor for any irritation or increased sensitivity - immediately stop use if you do experience these side effects - then slowly start building tolerance.
A lot of retinoid serums, creams, cakes (no) suggest daily use for the most effective results. But we recommend introducing any product of this kind twice-weekly to start, then gradually increase the frequency of application.
Going too hard too soon has the potential to mess with your moisture barrier. And it can take months of nourishment to correct the congestion, dryness, flaking, and sensitivity that may flare up as a result of overdoing it with actives.
What about eye products containing a retinoid?
“The best way to introduce an eye product (any eye product!) is at nighttime. It should be the first thing you apply to a cleansed face, before any other skincare product. That way you have created a barrier and nothing else can get under the eyes to cause irritation.” Explains Dermal Therapist, and Founder of Raw Skin Insider, Sieanna Pardi.
If after a patch test you are still a little worried about burning or irritation, you can ‘buffer’ or ‘sandwich’ your retinoid to begin with. Layering a moisturiser underneath (not a serum) (and definitely no actives) and over the top to soothe the eye area even more upon application.
“By applying at night, when eye movement is minimal, ingredients are able to get to work quicker too. You wake up feeling so fresh and snatched!”
As always, we recommend consulting your trusted GP or Dermal Clinician to make sure you’re finding a retinoid product that is most suited to your skin type and skin concerns.