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Retinol before or after moisturizer – What’s better for your skin?

Retinol is derivative of vitamin A in scientific language & an ingredient to solve aging, acne, pigmentation issues in our language.

Retinols are frequently confused with retinoids (also a derivative of vitamin A) but in easy language retinols are comparatively mild to retinoids hence they are easily available over the counter, while retinoids need prescription. Because they’re mild, they work slower compared to retinoids yet quite effective.

A girl moisturizing her skin after using retinol

Moisturizing is a must

So, Is Retinol used before or after moisturizer?

  • It’s honestly your preference. I mean you can put retinol first, then a moisturizer or you can follow the ‘sandwich method’ of layering moisturizer -retinol -moisturizer.
  • If you have sensitive skin, a beginner or just want to be extra cautious while using retinol, ‘sandwich method’ will be safer for you.
  • Moisturizer will help soothe any potential dryness first & create an extra layer between your skin & retinol for extra safety including the retinol benefits.
  • If you’re a retinol pro, wash your face, pat it dry & voila go ahead with applying retinol followed by moisturizer.

How to apply the Retinol ‘sandwich method’?

  1. Wash your face.
  2. Pat it dry
  3. Apply Moisturizer, let it absorb completely into the skin.
  4. Apply a pea sized amount of retinol.
  5. Finish with another layer of moisturizer.

What are the benefits of Retinol for our skin that people rave about so much?

See for yourself

  1. It is mind blowing in boosting Collagen production by speeding cellular turnover.
  2. Solving acne problems & acne scars.
  3. Works wonders for fine lines.
  4. Takes care of ageing & wrinkles
  5. Works great for hyperpigmentation and discoloration problems.

How does Retinol actually work on your skin? (Pretty Interesting part!)

  • When we start ageing, our cells don’t regenerate as quickly as they used to, when we were young, sadly.
  • Now, Retinol directly affects our gene expression, regulating all our age-related issues by eliminating dead old cells & allowing fresh, young skin cells to come up to the surface.
  • Unlike other ingredients in the market, it goes deep into the layers of the skin & exfoliates it from within. It also clears up acne because it cleans up the pores & eliminates bacterial growth. Amazing right!

Retinol stages of usage month wise

Retinol Stages

Are there any side effects of Retinol?

Nothing this amazing comes with a little bit of side effects but that’s majorly when you don’t use retinol carefully

Side effects can be,

  • Increases photosensitivity of the skin. This means your skin becomes highly sensitive towards UV radiation of the sun & can give you bad sunburn or irritation.
  • In the start, it might take time to build your retinol tolerance & you might face effects like scaliness, redness, irritation, tightness, even mild burns.

How to take care or avoid Retinol side effects (You don’t wanna miss this!)

Over peeled skin of a woman in the picture when the application quantity of retinol exceeds

Over peeled skin when the application quantity of retinol exceeds

  1. Always wear sunscreen in the daytime to avoid photosensitivity.
  2. Start with a low concentration of retinol like 0.1% – 0.25% and gradually increase to max 1%.
  3. Never exceed the quantity more than a pea size. Too much does more harm than good.
  4. Never forget to use it on the neck as well. Weird skin contrast looks bad.
  5. Don’t forget to layer it with a non-comedogenic moisturizer.
  6. If you’re a newbie, start by using it twice a week & then gradually increase to every other night.
  7. Try & avoid using any other acids or chemical exfoliants in your beauty routine when you’re beginning your retinol journey. This can minimize your excess flaking, over exfoliation & burns.
  8. Always GO SLOW with the amount & usage to avoid flakiness, irritation or any burns.

Extra tip when using Retinol? (Only for experienced pros)

In order to experience the deepest level skin penetration, you might want to use it after you exfoliate, so your skin is maximum receptive to it.

Who should not use Retinol?

  1. If you have Rosacea or Eczema, unfortunately retinoids are not a great choice for your skin.
  2. If you’re trying for pregnancy, are pregnant, breast feeding. DO NOT use retinoids of any sort.

Overall is Retinol safe for you?

Absolutely Yes! It’s a superb scientific dig for acne prone skin & all its anti-ageing advantages. Just be sure to follow all the rules while applying it.

How long does Retinol take to work?

Between 4 Weeks – 12 Weeks, depending on each person and skin type.

Now, if you get retinol burn or irritation, you should know how to tackle it without getting stressed! (Everyone has it some day or the other day, even the experts) Skin will eventually come back to normal, but you can help it heal faster. See how

Retinol Burn Care Tips

A picture of a girl with happy healed skin after retinol irritation

Healthy healed skin

  1. Don’t use fragrance cleansers or moisturizers.
  2. Stay away from makeup for a while.
  3. Use Thermal spring water to calm the skin (Try from La Roche Posay)
  4. Take cold showers or ice (Wrapped in a thin cloth) your face. Avoid hot showers at all. It will irritate the hell out of skin.
  5. Use mild facewash & don’t use any exfoliating fancy gadgets to wash the face, simply hands.
  6. Now give a lot of moisture and hydration to the skin for it to feel better. Like moisturizers loaded on ceramides (Helps in skin barrier) and Hyaluronic acid.
  7. After Moisturizer, seal the skin with an occlusive like Vaseline. It locks in all the goodies you just applied & heals the skin faster.
  8. Stop using any other exfoliants, acids, AHA’s, BHA’s, peroxides, salicylic acid until you are completely healed.
  9. Cica Balms, Glycerin & Aloe vera, are great soothing and calming agents for the skin.
  10. Product suggestion- Try Avene- Cicalfate + restorative protective cream
  11. DO NOT forget to apply sun block before stepping outside. Remember your skin is already in a vulnerable state. UV rays at this point can make it worse.

I am very hopeful that you’ll know how to handle Retinol in your skin care journey now with minimum backfires! Ha-ha. Love~ Beauty Stroll

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