How to Introduce Retinol into Your Nighttime Skincare Routine
Everything you need to know before delving into the wonderful world of retinol.
So, you’ve decided that it’s time to take your skincare routine to the next level and incorporate the gold standard of skincare ingredients: retinol. Great! Now what? While the vitamin A derivative is lauded for being the ultimate workhorse, quickly and efficiently getting to all sorts of skincare issues like fine lines and wrinkles and pore size, getting the hang of the dos and don’ts can feel overwhelming. The benefits of using retinol are widely documented and undeniable, but learning exactly how to use the star ingredient to reap those benefits is a bit more complicated. Read on to learn how to use retinol for skin concerns that affect all skin types, at any age.
What does retinol do?
Retinol is a type of retinoid (other types of retinoids include Retin-A, retinaldehyde and retinyl palmitate) and a synthetic form of vitamin A. It was discovered in 1931, but it wasn’t until 1971 that Retin-A (also known as tretinoin or retinoic acid) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retin-A was first recognized as an acne treatment, available only by prescription from a dermatologist. However, patients began reporting a significant reduction in things like wrinkles and hyperpigmentation while using it to treat acne. Soon after the realization that retinoids were effective at doing, well, pretty much everything, researchers got to work on retinol, Retin-A’s milder sister molecule. The rest is skincare history.
Today, retinol is the go-to for anti-aging skin concerns, but it’s also used for uneven texture, thanks to its amazing ability to slough away dead skin cells and reveal a brighter, tighter and more even skin tone underneath.
How to start using retinol products
When you first begin to use this skincare ingredient, it's important to know the common side effects of retinol. There’s an adjustment period during which dead skin cells are sloughed off, then new cells have yet to rise to the surface. This in-between period can weaken the skin barrier, leaving your skin feeling dry and irritated. That’s why when it comes to retinol, a slow and steady approach is necessary. To get started with retinol products, try incorporating SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 Refining Night Cream into your nighttime routine once or twice a week. If your skin handles that well and you don’t experience extreme signs of irritation like redness or tightness, then you can increase the frequency to every other night. Ready to level up? Reach for a stronger retinol cream, like SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 Refining Night Cream. If you want to up your retinol percentage even more, try !!!SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Refining Night Cream for a potent hit.
The skincare products to pair with retinol cream
Certain skincare products are not only excellent at treating skin concerns on their own; when paired with retinol, they maximize results and contribute to a well-rounded skincare routine that you can tThe first of these ingredients is vitamin C. Perhaps the most well-known antioxidant in skincare, vitamin C is a must for anyone who wants to brighten their skin tone—yes, many of the same things that retinol does. Since vitamin C also provides skin with a layer of protection from pollution, pollen and dust, it’s an excellent ingredient to incorporate into a morning skincare routine when you’re using retinol products as part of your evening routine. When used together, vitamin C and retinol can bring out the best results for your skin.rust to deliver skincare solutions.
The first of these ingredients is vitamin C. Perhaps the most well-known antioxidant in skincare, vitamin C is a must for anyone who wants to brighten their skin tone—yes, many of the same things that retinol does. Since vitamin C also provides skin with a layer of protection from pollution, pollen and dust, it’s an excellent ingredient to incorporate into a morning skincare routine when you’re using retinol products as part of your evening routine. When used together, vitamin C and retinol can bring out the best results for your skin.
Speaking of sunscreen, it’s non-negotiable when using retinol products. While you should, of course, be wearing SPF every day, it’s especially a must when retinol is part of your regimen. This is because retinol can increase skin’s photosensitivity, leaving it more susceptible to sunburn and long-term sun damage, so it’s crucial to slather on a good SPF on mornings when you’ve used retinol the night before.
Next, since retinol has a tendency to cause dryness and irritation, it’s important to replace that lost moisture with hydrating ingredients such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid. Ceramides are fat molecules (also known as lipids) that are a crucial element of your skin barrier. They help skin retain moisture and strengthen the skin barrier so that hydration doesn’t escape. Maintaining healthy ceramide levels in the skin is necessary for dehydration and loss of volume. Ceramide levels can also take a major hit during seasonal changes and when you overuse oil-stripping soaps and washes or exfoliating products like retinol. Ceramide creams, like SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2, can replace any lost hydration and moisture. Hyaluronic acid is another great hydrating ingredient. The humectant (meaning it draws in moisture from its surroundings) can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water; like ceramides, it naturally occurs in the skin, but its levels drop off over time. Replenishing those hyaluronic acid levels with serums and creams is a great way to plump up skin and increase hydration.
Which ingredients to avoid when using retinol
While many ingredients pair well with retinol, there are a few that shouldn’t be mixed with it. The first is vitamin C. Wait, what? Didn’t we just say that vitamin C is a great option for retinol users? Vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night is a recipe for a truly excellent anti-aging skincare routine, but to avoid excessive irritation, the two should never be used at the same time.
On that note, you should avoid using any chemical exfoliants containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like lactic acid and glycolic acid, beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid and drying acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide while using retinol as they can dry out your skin too much and cause further irritation. In fact, benzoyl peroxide and retinol might even cancel out each other’s positive effects, so it’s best these two ingredients steer clear of each other.
Become a Skintellectual in 5 Steps
1. Start off with our beginner's guide
2. Learn how to layer retinol in your skincare routine
3. Learn which ingredients to pair with your retinol
4. How to introduce retinol in your nighttime routine.
5. Don't be swayed by common myths about retinol
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