I’m an enthusiastic but somewhat careful user of retinol. I’ve often sung its praises, especially when talking about some of my favourite retinol products such as Dr. Brandt Overnight Resurfacing Serum and RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream which are both effective and gentle on the skin. Time and time again, tests have proven vitamin A products, aka retinol, retinoid, retinoic acid, retinyl palmitate, to be the best anti-aging ingredients available on the market. It really is the holy grail of younger looking skin; so if you’re over the age of 25, you need to get on that bandwagon, STAT!
Whilst I’ve experienced some tingling and a little dryness using retinoids, I’ve generally been very lucky in that I’ve never had significant redness or irritation. However I recently started using the Alpha H Beauty Sleep Power Peel with 0.5% Retinol which literally made my skin go haywire. This lightweight retinol night cream is blended with 14% glycolic acid, a relatively high concentration, to eliminate dead cells and smooth the surface of the skin; which is probably why my skin had such an adverse reaction. It’s often recommended that sensitive skin types stay away from using retinoid and AHA combos to avoid inflammation.
Needless, to say in the first few days of using it, my skin was red, sore, dry, and flaky. To help soothe the irritation, I used Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules both morning and evening. They contain a ceramide lipid complex, as well as omega-rich botanical oils which enhance the skin’s barrier repair function, increasing hydration in the deeper layers of the dermis and softening the surface of the skin. Whilst they helped my sore face massively, I wouldn’t recommend them for oilier skin types as the texture is quite rich. You could use any soothing, vitamin E-rich face oil or a cream that contains barrier strengthening niacinamide after your retinol to similar effect.
I’m happy to say that I’m now a month in to using the Alpha H cream and my skin has adjusted nicely. My complexion is smoother, more even and my pigmentation isn’t as noticeable. So in conclusion, the secret to retinol success is patience.
In any case, if you’re a retinol newbie, brace yourself: some initial irritation, mild flakiness and dryness may occur but are usually short-lived; so it’s worth starting your new skincare journey at a time when your diary is free of special events. Be persistent and push through as glowing, flawless skin is on the other side of the four week hurdle.