What Can You Use on Skin to Make Better While Waiting for Retinol to Work?

What Can You Use on Skin to Make Better While Waiting for Retinol to Work?

We love retinol, it really does do exactly what it says on the tin. The downside, as effective as it is, for a short time it can make your skin look a lot worse before its better. If you’re unsure what it is I’m talking about, the is a common side effect that occurs when you first introduce retinol into your daily routine. The skin will begin to look dry, red, and flaky, and will feel tight, itchy, and uncomfortable.

This is something that happens to everyone when first using retinol, but I understand how it’s something you’d want to avoid which is exactly what we will be discussing in today’s blog post, so stick around if you want to know more about what you can use on skin to make better while waiting for retinol to work.

Don’t forget if you are wanting to know more about retinol and how it works, there are a number of retinol related blog posts over on The Beauty Insiders.

How can I make retinol more effective?

The best way of making your retinol more effective is by ensuring you are applying it to the skin in the correct way. Many often feel that they need to use retinol more frequently to gain rapid results. The problem with that is that retinol does not like being rushed, and to reap the rewards of this potent powerhouse is to introduce it into your routine slowly. If you are new to retinol and haven’t added it into your routine, here is an example of the most effective way of using it in your everyday regime.

  • Start by applying retinol to the skin once a week.
  • Once the skin has built some tolerance you are able to increase to two applications a week, you can then increase this to the maximum of 3 times a week.
  • Always apply your retinol product in the evening as exposure to sunlight will make it lose its potency.
  • Follow your retinol product with a serum or moisturiser enriched in hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid to help counteract the drying effects of retinol.

Admittedly, it takes a lot of patience and time to use retinol in the most effective way, but you’ll be amazed with the results you see if you follow the advice I have mentioned. 

How do I prepare my skin for retinol?

As I have previously mentioned, the way you apply retinol will affect how it works on the skin. I’ll now share with you the best routine to follow when you incorporate retinol into your skincare routine. This is an example, everyone’s skin is different so if you have any concerns with introducing retinol into your routine, you should seek the help from your doctor or dermatologist to avoid any severe irritation and reactions.

Step one: Ensure your skin is cleansed and clear of any remaining traces of makeup or other skincare products.

Step two: Wait for your skin to become completely dry before applying your retinol product. This is important as applying retinol to damp skin will result in it penetrating too far into the skin and causing increased irritation.

Step three: Apply your retinol onto the face using a pea-sized amount and working it into the skin in circular motions.

Step four: Once the retinol is absorbed follow this with a moisturiser containing hydrating ingredients.

Step five: Come the morning, always apply a daily SPF of 30 and above to protect the skin from sun exposure. This should happen every day, even when it appears overcast and raining.

How long does it take for skin to adjust to retinol?

You can expect it to take roughly three weeks for the skin to adapt to retinol, you’ll also find that it would have built some tolerance to the retinoic acid during this time also. During the early stages of retinol application that you’ll experience some level of irritation, redness, peeling, and flaking. These side effects are often more commonly known as retinol uglies, (but more on those later!) and generally don’t last longer than a more three for four weeks. If you do find that they are remaining for a longer amount of time it may be a case of switching to a formulation containing a weaker percentage of retinol. If however, the side effects persist, you must stop using your retinol product and seek the help from a doctor or medical professional.

Should hyaluronic acid be applied before retinol?

Yes, it can be, this is considered a great idea to keep the protective skin barrier strong and able to protect itself from exposure to free radicals, such as UV rays, pollution, and other environmental aggressors that can cause long term damage to the skin. You will also find that hyaluronic acid acts as a humectant drawing water into the skin surface and locking it into place combating the drying effects of retinol.

If you wanted to know more about using hyaluronic acid and retinol together, there is a dedicated blog post that goes into a lot more detail about using these powerhouses together.

Can you put serum on top of retinol?

Yes absolutely, just bearing in mind it’s best to avoid serums containing ingredients that will cause increased skin irritation. Avoid using serums containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid or any other chemical exfoliants.

I have mentioned the basic skin rule in previous blog posts, but it is something that needs to be considered when applying your skincare routine. To reap the rewards of the active ingredients found in various formulations you should apply your products from the thinnest to thickest consistency. This stops any physical barriers forming on the skin and prevents the active ingredients from penetrating into the different skin layers.

What is retinol uglies?

Retinol uglies is the name given to the common side effects that occur when you first introduce retinol into your skincare routine. These can be a variety, from redness, flaking, rashes, itchy and flaking patches of skin. Every user of retinol experiences a certain degree of these side effects, and they generally only last a maximum of three to four weeks. 

There you have a little more information about how to make your skin better whilst waiting for retinol to work. If you have any more skincare questions, come and follow us on Instagram, you can find me in the direct messages!


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