Odds are you’ve seen the word retinol as you’ve walked through Sephora or Target. Maybe you have even read a few articles about anti-aging skin care which surely mention retinol as a powerhouse ingredient. Retinol has been prescribed by dermatologists for years and today a TON of retinol products are even available at drugstores. As with most beauty products in 2019 with a little research you can find AWESOME high quality products that work. Plus they won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Retinol has been an active part of my skin care journey for close to two years. And it can be summed up into one word: inconsistent, until lately. After a lot of trial and error it turns out I was making some basic mistakes when using retinol.
WHAT IS RETINOL?
Retinol is technically one type of retinoid, which is a fancy term for anything that is a derivative of Vitamin A. There are a few different types of retinoids:
WHAT RETINOL DOES
Retinol exfoliates at a cellular level, which is a fancy way of saying it boosts cell turnover. Which brings new skin to the surface at a faster rate! A few of the things retinol does are:
HOW TO USE RETINOIDS
There are a few key things/practices to keep in mind as you jump into your journey with retinoids.
1. Never ever skip sunscreen! After applying retinol your skin is working to bring that bright new skin to the surface while you sleep. The last thing we want to do is immediately expose the new skin to sun damage the next day!
My two favorite sunscreens are: Innisfree Daily UV Defense Sunscreen(great for sensitive skin!) & EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen(great for oily/acne prone skin).
2. Know that this is a journey, it is VERY likely that you will go through a purging period for the first 1-2 months while using retinol. This is completely normal. Essentially what is happening is the retinol is working and is pushing all the trapped oil and bacteria to the surface. Basically your skin is going through one big detox(which was started by your new bff retinol)
3. Start off by using retinol every 3-4 days(AT NIGHT!) and slowly work your way up to every other day over time. It is also very important to not use retinol and a harsh acid at the same time! For example, I LOVE Pixi Glow Tonic(which is full of glycolic acid). Using both on my skin in one night is just WAY too harsh. So I alternate between Glow Tonic one Night & retinol the next night.
Get started with one of these affordable, but powerful retinoids!
MY JOURNEY WITH RETINOL
The first retinoid product I used was Differin. I started using it a few years ago, right after it became available OTC. Differin took the OTC world by storm, and is still the most powerful retinoid that is sold at the drugstore today (it is technically adapelene, peep the first chart if you forgot what that is!) Back then I was desperate to get rid of my pesky chin acne and resorted to using Differin everyday, sometimes twice a day. This wreaked havoc on my sensitive skin. I repeatedly told myself I just needed to get though the purge and my skin would be flawless. Newsflash, when you are using a powerful product incorrectly it does more harm than good to your skin! Eventually I went cold turkey and went back to using only Cetaphil to get my skin back to a somewhat normal state.
Fast forward a year and I decided to give Differin another try. I used the gel twice a week at night and still went through a purge. But saw healthier skin on the other side, and most of my pesky chin acne was gone! Huzzah!
Now because I am a self proclaimed skincare junkie I began experimenting with other budget friendly retinoids around six months ago. Since then I have been using the The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane. I use a pea sized amount of this retinoid on my face and neck every other night. Don’t get me wrong I went through another mini purge for around three weeks. But came out on the other side with glowier skin than ever, and less acne flareups than normal!
All in all retinoids are modern day affordable skincare magic. They prevent wrinkles, treat acne, and brighten skin over time. In order to use retinoids to their full potential patience and persistence is key. Let me know if you have any questions about retinol below!
P.S. If you liked this post you’ll also love: These Five Face Masks Are Perfect To Me & Beginner Skincare Routine: Everything You Need To Know In Your 20’s