Yes, you heard me right. I am deeply and profoundly in love with retinol at this moment. I am hereby taking the liberty of assuming that all skincare addicts and aficionados are pretty much aware of retinol. For those who are still uninitiated, retinol is a derivative of vitamin A (aka retinoids) which is revered for its anti aging actions and is a constituent of most of the heavy duty anti aging creams. Retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde and retinoid acid are all closely related retinoids (read “siblings”) with similar anti aging properties.
Retinol is often badly reputed for not being for everyone and every time. Thats true indeed. So when I was pregnant and breastfeeding, it got removed altogether from my vanity table and medicine closets. Also, when my skin behaves erratically dry or sensitive, I have to shy away from it, much to my dislike. But I always come back to it. Almost always. Why?? You’d ask. Because it has a vast array of scientific data behind it supporting its anti aging claims and the results are quite fast, lest used smartly.
So, coming to my experience with retinol. I started with RoC Anti Wrinkle rejuvenating Concentrate for face and the corresponding RoC eye cream for periorbital and perioral areas on alternate days. On day 3, the eye cream stung me really hard and I had to stop it. I tried diluting it with a hyaluronic acid moisturizer (Clinique moisture surge gel creme) but there was something in the eye cream that my eyes were reacting badly to ( redness and burning). So I switched to Estee Lauder Advanced Night Recovery serum( has retinyl palmitate, the milder retinoid) for periorbital areas and I was good to go. Come day 5 and the facial skin started drying up, yay, retinol was working. I loaded up on moisturizer & started using the retinol cream in 1:1 dilution with moisturizer. Day 8, my skin started looking and feeling better and I decided to use retinol cream mixed with moisturizer on daily basis. Day 14, my skin was less oily and smoother. Yes, two weeks and you start seeing results. Day 20, I decided to use retinol cream straight ahead with moisturizer layered atop. Come day 25, the skin started feeling stretchy ( classical side effect of retinol), so I increased the moisturizer application to three times a day and started giving my skin a day off retinol every 3rd day and I was good to go again. For eyes, I switched to Dermalogica Age Reversal eye complex cream (retinol with vitamin C & niacinamide) which is suiting my eyes brilliantly; pointing that it wasn’t retinol I was reacting to, but some other ingredient in the RoC eye cream.
Ahh. sounds like too much of work.. It is indeed and trust me its totally worth it. Because in a matter of 4 weeks, my skin was smoother and my pores looked tighter, without breaking a bank. All I had to do was be a little more mindful and listen to my skin better, rather than mechanically opening the jar of a pricey anti aging cream and just slathering it on. While being a dermatologist, these tweakments with retinol are easy for me, you can do it too if you keep few points in mind. Remember, skincare is not a rocket science but it is a science nonetheless.
- Use tiniest amount to start with, on twice or thrice a week basis.
- Remember to use a specifically formulated eye product for periorbital and perioral areas, they are most sensitive and have special needs.
- Moisturizing skin is of utmost importance when using retinol. Try finding a good one before you embark on using retinol or ask your dermatologist if you can’t.
- Step up on frequency if you don’t see effects building up in a week. Once you do this, look for any redness, irritation, dryness or stretchy skin & step down on retinol if needed, along with frequent moisturizing.
- If you experience any stinging in eyes or lips on initial 1-2 applications it might be an allergy ( as it happened with me). Stop application and see a doctor if it’s too severe.
- Never use retinol on a skin that has been bleached, threaded, waxed, shaved or chemically/ physically exfoliated in last 72 hours.
- You should ideally start retinol especially the first time under guidance/ supervision of a dermatologist or else seek opinion if you feel stuck anywhere.
So you’d see that its actually not that difficult with retinol and once you would see the results you shall be hooked on forever, just like me.