Ahhh, retinol—that popular anti-aging ingredient that, by now, you probably can’t stop hearing enough about. And for good reason—retinol has so many benefits that beauty lovers, dermatologists and other skin care experts are constantly touting it as a must-have. But if you’re not an expert yourself it can still be challenging, scary even, to simply throw it into the mix of your skin care regimen if you aren’t already using it. And even once you introduce it, are you sure you’re using retinol the right way and do you know what results you should be looking for? Well, we’re here to offer a little help. Let this be your guide to the basics on how to incorporate retinol into your skin care routine. Check out these five simple tips below.
1. RESEARCH AND CONSULT
Before adding any products to your skin care routine, do as much research as you can on it. According to the Cleveland Clinic, retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, which is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. It’s just one type of retinoid—which is a term used to describe different vitamin A derivatives. Because retinol is such a popular ingredient, there is a lot of information about it on the web. While there’s so much research and many credible resources to help you find out if it’s an ingredient that will be beneficial for your needs, there are also a lot of myths out there about retinol, including the idea that it’s only for anti-aging and can’t be used daily. So be sure to do your homework and consult with your skin care professional before you dive in.
2. START IN MODERATION
Because retinol can be drying to the skin, you want to introduce it to your routine gradually, especially if the potency of retinol in your products is high. Some users might even experience redness, itchiness and tingling when they first start using retinol. So it’s important to take it slowly, and then work up to nightly use as your skin gets acclimated to your products formulated with the ingredient. You can also consider starting with a lower dose and using it up to three times a week in the beginning. And like with any new ingredient or product, pay attention to how your skin reacts to it over time and modify usage accordingly.
Editor’s Tip: Be sure to check in with your dermatologist before you increase your retinol strength. How your skin reacts to an ingredient is going to dictate whether or not you can go to a higher dose, but you want to make sure you get clearance from a professional before making this call.
3. DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU NEED IT
While many people think that you don’t need to make use of ingredients like retinol until your skin begins to mature, that’s simply not true. In fact, when it comes to anti-aging skin care you don’t want to wait until you see signs of aging and damage. According to Dr. Rocio Rivera, Vice President of scientific communications for L’Oréal Paris, it’s all about prevention.
“Dermatologists typically recommend to start retinol usage in your late teens and early 20s,” she says. As per Dr. Rivera, retinol also has been proven to help with breakouts, smoothing out skin texture and improving skin tone. An easy way to add retinol to your routine at any age is through a serum like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Night Serum, 0.3% Pure Retinol. Formulated with a dermatologist-approved optimal concentration of retinol, this serum helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while brightening the complexion. Apply a few drops directly to the skin at night.
4. USE SPF THE MORNING AFTER
Sun sensitivity and retinol do go hand in hand. According to the National Library of Medicine, retinoids are considered to have high photosensitivity potential. So when you’re using retinol you want to be sure to stock up on sunscreen or products formulated with SPF to ensure that you’re giving your skin the protection it needs. Wearing SPF daily is necessary anyway so this is a step you should build into your regimen either way. An easy way to protect your face and neck is with a moisturizer formulated with SPF. We recommend the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Day Lotion SPF 30. It contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and Pro-Retinol to moisturize, brighten and firm the skin.
5. BE CAREFUL WITH MIXING AND LAYERING
We get it—you’re a serum lover and you’re proud of it. We love a good serum too. But before you begin mixing and matching your products you need to ensure that it’s safe. The same is true for your ingredients in whatever form you apply them. So before you layer retinol with acids or other potent skin care ingredients be sure to consult with your dermatologist on what’s safe for your skin and what mixtures you should avoid.
Photo Credit: Chaunte Vaughn
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