Surviving Retinol’s Brutal Adjustment Period

*be forewarned* when you start retinol for the first time, your skin will go through a brutal adjustment period called “retinization.” during this time, you can experience peeling, dryness, and irritation, but don’t give up! this is normal and means it’s working! once your skin becomes acclimated, you’ll start reaping the benefits of this “cure-all” superhero ingredient…

 

what is retinol

 

retinoids (AKA retinol and retin-A) are derived from vitamin A and the #1 anti-aging ingredient on the market. They also fight acne, fade hyperpigmentation, and resurface the skin’s texture for a smooth, even-toned complexion. they boost your cell turnover by stimulating the production of fresh, new skin cells and encourage aging/damaged cells to speed up their renewal process

 

what to know before getting started

 

  • retinization starts a few days after you first start applying retinol and can last around a month. during this time, your skin is officially classified as sensitive, so steer clear of using abrasive scrubs (per usual) or exfoliating acids (such as peel pads) as they can be too harsh on your skin during retinization
  •     Start SLOWLY. you have to work your way up gradually as retinol can be very irritating if used too frequently or if the formulation is too strong. we recommend applying 1-2x/wk with a lower concentration. as your skin builds up a tolerance, you can start using more frequently/increase your percentage strength. remember, the higher the concentration, the more likely you are to experience irritation
  • only apply retinol at night as sunlight deactivates retinoic acid and will make your skin extra sensitive
  • be consistent. If you stop in the middle of the retinization process, you’ll have to go through it all over again

 

 

how to make the adjustment period more bearable

 

  • moisturizer will become your best friend. we recommend using a ceramide moisturizer to help restore and reinforce your skin’s protective barrier. cermadies are lipids that make up 50% of your barrier to prevent moisture loss and outside irritants
  • supplement lost hydration with a hyaluronic acid serum, a powerful moisture-binding acid that can hold 1,000x its weight in water
  • use a calming serum to combat sensitivity and provide relief. Dermalogica’s ultra calming concentrate helps soothe and defend irritated skin to ease sensitization

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