Retinoids. We recommend them all the time. It’s because these topical formulations, when used correctly, are skin rejuvenators. Our skin, unlike other organs in our body, is always regenerating. The problem is that often our old cells are in the way of the new ones and sometimes, especially as we age, our skin doesn’t rejuvenate at the rate it once did – it starts to slow down. Retinoids help our skin to turn over new cells more quickly. So, learn a bit more about how to safely integrate retinoids into your skin care routine.
– Dr. Tan
YOU SHOULD KNOW
- The term retinoid describes a large class of drugs, all derived from Vitamin A.
- Topical retinoids were traditionally used to treat acne, but are now much more broadly used because incorporating one into a skin care regimen will lead to younger looking skin.
- Retinoids help to minimize the look of pores, improve uneven pigmentation and stimulate collagen production to help prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
- The major downside: retinoids can be irritating, causing redness and flaking, especially in the first few weeks of use.
- Topical retinoids are considered unsafe in pregnancy, and women should discontinue use of a topical retinoid at least one month before family planning.
Over the Counter Retinoids
Over the counter retinoids are less effective than prescription retinoids because they contain retinol, which is a weaker retinoid. But these can still be effective and worth using. Differin gel is now an FDA approved over the counter medication.
HOW TO BEST USE A RETINOID
1 / Use at bedtime after using a gentle cleanser or micellar water to clean off everyday dirt or makeup.
Retinoids are most evenly effective on clean skin.
2 / Start by applying it only once or twice a week and build up tolerance.
Some people’s skin may not be able to tolerate retinoids more than once or twice a week (your face stays red, flaky and irritated), and that’s ok. You’ll still see and feel the benefits if you only use it once a week. If you don’t have irritated or dry skin with once or twice weekly use, try increasing to every other day, or even everyday use.
3 / Apply a thin layer over the entire face.
Place a pea-sized amount of cream/gel onto your index finger and dab onto the forehead, cheeks and chin, then smooth out over the entire face to create a very thin layer that acts equally on all parts of your skin.
4 / Apply it along with a moisturizer.
Try mixing your retinoid with an equal amount of moisturizer, or apply the retinoid and then put moisturizer on top – it won’t impact the effectiveness. Almost everyone will need a facial moisturizer to combat the drying nature of topical retinoids.