Retinoids are a class of compounds derived from vitamin A, which play an essential role in a range of biological processes. Retinoids are known for their ability to regulate gene expression and control cellular differentiation and proliferation. They are involved in many physiological processes, including vision, reproduction, embryonic development, and immune function.
Retinoids are commonly used in skincare products and pharmaceuticals due to their ability to improve skin health and treat various skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and wrinkles.
Based on our dermatologists and skin experts, we can tell you that retinoids are a powerful class of skincare ingredients that can help improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and acne. While retinoids can be highly beneficial, they can also have side effects, including skin irritation, dryness, redness, and sensitivity to sunlight. It is important to use retinoids as directed and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. We've created a detailed skincare routine for retinoids that will help you prepare your skin for them, use them effectively, and reap their benefits.
Step 1: Cleanse your skin
Start your skincare routine by cleansing your skin with a gentle, non-foaming cleanser. Look for one that is fragrance-free and doesn't contain any harsh surfactants, as these can strip your skin's natural oils and make it more susceptible to irritation. Using an oil cleanser would be the best. Gently massage the cleanser onto your skin for about 30 seconds, then rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
Step 2: Apply a hydrating toner
After cleansing, apply a hydrating toner to your skin. Toners can help to balance your skin's pH and prepare it for the next steps in your skincare routine. Look for a toner that contains soothing ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, or green tea. Apply it to your skin with a cotton pad or your hands, and let it absorb for a few minutes before moving on to the next step.
Step 3: Apply a moisturizer
Next, apply a moisturizer to your skin to help lock in hydration and create a barrier between your skin and the retinoid. Look for a moisturizer that is lightweight, non-comedogenic, and free of fragrance and other potential irritants. Apply a pea-sized amount to your face and neck, and let it absorb completely before moving on to the next step.
Step 4: Apply retinoid
After your moisturizer has absorbed, it's time to apply your retinoid. Start by using it once or twice a week, gradually increasing the frequency as your skin becomes more tolerant. Apply a pea-sized amount to your fingertips and gently massage it into your skin. Avoid the eye area, as retinoids can be irritating to the delicate skin around the eyes. If you experience any redness or irritation, reduce the frequency of use or take a break for a few days until your skin calms down.
Step 5: Apply moisturizer after - sandwich method
The "sandwich method" it’s relatively straightforward, you apply a thin layer of moisturizer, then your retinol, followed by another coat of moisturizer says Dr Derrick Phillips. Retinoids (and any form of vitamin A) has a reputation for causing irritation and the theory of this method is that ‘sandwiching’ your retinol in between two moisturizers should minimize any potential irritation or dryness. The retinol sandwich method is a spin-off of the moisture sandwiching trend that went viral a couple of years ago. Moisture sandwiching is all about layering your serum and cream onto damp skin to trap the water and keep hydration levels high.
Step 6: Apply sunscreen
Retinoids can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so it's important to wear sunscreen every day. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and apply it liberally to your face and neck. Reapply every two hours if you're spending time outdoors or sweating.
Benefits of retinoids
Retinoids work by increasing cell turnover and stimulating collagen production in the skin. This can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, as well as improve skin texture and tone. Retinoids are also effective at treating acne, as they can unclog pores and reduce inflammation. However, they can be irritating to the skin, so it's important to start slowly and gradually build up your tolerance. With consistent use, retinoids can help you achieve smoother, brighter, and more youthful-looking skin.