Whether you’re a well-seasoned Retinol user or a newbie, there’s one thing we can all be sure of – Retinol is an amazing ingredient for the skin. Thanks to its ability to fight signs of ageing, boost collagen, fade dark spots and even help to combat acne, it’s pretty much a must have in any skincare routine. However, there are some not-so-great side effects that can come with overusing or misusing this potent active. Here’s how to identify those telltale signs of Retinol misuse and how to treat them…
What causes Retinol side-effects?
When applied to the skin, Retinol encourages cell division in the deepest layer of the cells and when an excessive amount of it is applied, the rate of this division becomes too much, leading to large numbers of immature cells to rise up to the surface of the skin without the proper bonds to hold them together. When this happens, the skin can start to peel and the skin can be left uncomfortable and red. Without these protective bonds, other active ingredients in your everyday products can penetrate deeper into the skin, resulting in sensitivity, inflammation and stinging.
How can I combat these side-effects?
If you’re noticing any peeling or discomfort, don’t panic. Stop using the Retinol in your routine and avoid any other potent products that may aggravate your skin such as acids and physical exfoliators. Remember that anything you now use on your skin has the ability to penetrate much deeper than usual, so avoid fragranced or strong formulas and look for something that is going to calm instead, such as BABOR’s SKINOVAGE Calming Cream which contains Panthenol and Allantoin to comfort the skin and reduce unpleasant feelings of irritation.
Another great ingredient to use on the skin to help it heal after overdoing it with Retinol is Cica, which can be found in Make P:rem’s CICAPRO Revitalizing Cream. This soothing ingredient has been used for centuries to treat burns, redness and irritation, making it perfect to calm sensitised skin.
Retinol also makes your skin extra-sensitive to UV rays so make sure you’re wearing an SPF every day. We love Heliocare’s Gel SPF50 because of its lightweight formula which offers high levels of UVA and UVB protection thanks to a combination of chemical and mineral filters.
Can I reintroduce Retinol into my routine?
It’s important to give your skin a break from Retinol but you don’t have to eliminate it forever. When your skin has healed and you’re not noticing any irritation, peeling or discomfort, start with a lower-strength product and build up your skin’s tolerance gradually over time. We’d recommend starting with a 0.1-0.3 percent Retinol twice a week to allow your skin to get used to this active ingredient again. A great starter product would be the SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 which also contains calming and soothing ingredients like Bisabolol to minimise irritation and inflammation.