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“How do I avoid retinol Irritation?”
This has been the most frequently ask question so far.
Apart from Vitamin C, Retinol or Retiniods has always been recommended by dermatologists as a must have in every skincare routine. Not only does it fight acne, but also reduces aging signs such as wrinkles and fine lines by accelerating skin renewal process, encourage cell turnover and stimulating collagen production, oh, not to forget it also enhances better absorption of skincare products into the skin. But sadly retiniods has their downside which is irritations. While applying topical retiniods, the skin goes through a purging phase called “retinization“. which includes micro-peelings, flakes, burning sensation and redness.
What is Retinization.
Retinization is the adjustment period in which the skin adapts to a retinoid treatment. During this time, skin may become irritated, resulting to dryness, scaling, redness or a burning or stinging sensation.
But the good news is, there is surely a way to avoid retinol Irritation or curtail the occurrence of retinization.
The Trick Is Called The Buffering Method.
How is it done?
It’s simply done by applying a moisturizer before your retinol at night.
Apply a gentle moisturizer first before putting on your retinol, why? The reason is because the moisturizer will serve as a layer between your skin and retinol which will in turn dilute the effect of retinol making it tolerable to your skin thereby reducing possible occurrence of purging or irritations. Layering the retinol over a moisture-rich moisturizer will help subside the harshness of the retinol and limits the occurrence of irritations.
Look for a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, antioxidants, or redness-relieving peptides. We recommend cereVa moisturizing lotion ($13 Dermstore). As it’s infused with 3 essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid (a moisture magnet) which all works together to pull moisture from the atmosphere and retain into the skin, keeping the skin soft, supple and optimally hydrated.
The whole idea is adding a extra layer to your skin, preventing retinol from hitting your skin directly. This trick is more suitable and recommended for individuals with sensitive and dry skin type.
To walk you through the process on how to properly get it done.
- Step 1: Wash your face with an alcohol free and gentle facial cleanser.
- Step 2: Pat your face dry with a clean towel (Pat, don’t rub to avoid irritation)
- Step 3: Apply a thick coat of your moisturizer on your face, spread it evenly to cover your entire face. Wait for a minute while you allow your skin to fully absorb it.
- Step 4: Then apply a pea size of retinol (or other retiniods) to your face. Spread it evenly on your entire face.
You can go ahead with your other skincare routine and don’t forget to also moisturize afterwards to seal off moisture.
You can as well make a mixture of retinol and your moisturizer on your palm and apply to your face just to quicken the whole process. Also apply extra moisturizer afterwards too.
Wrapping It Up.
To avoid retinol Irritation is very much possible, but chances has it that you “may” still experience a slight irritation, which won’t be as bad as it would have been without the “buffering method“. Individuals with dry and sensitive skin type are most suitable to use this technique to lessen the retinization phase and to save themselves the stress of undergoing the purging stage. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen during the day to shield your skin from the dangerous UV rays of the sun. Remember “The sun is the devil“.
Possible Questions & Answers.
Q: Will this buffering method reduce the potency of retinol (and other retinoids)?.
A: Not at all. The whole essence for the buffering method is to add an extra-layer of barrier to your skin to prevent retinol from hitting your skin directly which may cause irritations to your sensitive or dry skin.
Studies have shown that this base layer of moisturizer does not dilute or reduce the efficacy of the retinoid and helps with tolerability.
Q: Does this buffering method applies to all retinoids in general?
A: Yes. It doesn’t only apply to retinol but to all retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) in general.
Q: Does this method applies to all skin types?
A: The intent for this technique is to prevent the occurrence of retinoids irritations. So, if you have been applying your retinoids the usual way without experiencing the peeling and burning effects you should stick with it. But if you do experience irritations then use the buffering method.