How to Apply Retinol
Retinol has long been lauded by the skincare industry as an anti-aging essential. As a derivative of Vitamin A, retinol is a key nutrient that encourages cell turnover. When used correctly, it can promote skin cell renewal, boost collagen production, and brighten your overall skin tone. Retinol is a powerful ingredient and should be used carefully.
At Senté, we educate others about proper skincare to ensure you maintain healthy skin for longer. So, what is there to know about retinol? Explore this blog for all the details, including where, when, and how to apply retinol.
1. Start Early
If there’s one thing we hear all the time, it’s to start a skincare regimen as early as possible. Initially, dermatologists considered 30 as the banner year for introducing retinol to your routine. Today, however, people find themselves motivated by early signs of aging and are eager to get a headstart on learning when and how to apply retinol. Your early 20s could be the time to start using retinol as an anti-aging aid – as long as you’re under the eye of a dermatologist.
2. Start Slowly
If you’ve decided to start using retinol in your skincare routine, it’s important to note that it is a very powerful ingredient that can result in irritation if used too frequently or if used with a product with an overly strong formulation. Learn how to apply retinol slowly with OTC lotions and creams that have a small dose of retinol first.
We recommend using no more than a pea-sized amount at a time with a formulation that uses between .01% and .03% retinol. Your skin needs time to acclimate to this ingredient, and you should search for retinol products designed for sensitive skin.
3. A Little Goes A Long Way
Most dermatologists will recommend that you start applying retinol twice a week with your evening skincare routine. After a few weeks of use, if your skin is responding well to the products, you can start using them more frequently. Eventually, you should be able to use retinol products nightly.
What else do you need to know about retinol? We like using retinol products the day before exfoliating to ensure you’re not overdoing it with too-frequent abrasive or aggressive treatments.
4. Keep Side Effects in Mind
As your skin adjusts to how you apply retinol, there’s almost always some reaction to new skincare ingredients, like dryness, mild redness, or sun sensitivity. These are normal, and you should expect them. However, if you start seeing intense flaking or redness, as well as burning, you should be wary of retinol. Stop using new products right away until the symptoms subside. Consider starting with a gentler, lower retinol strength formula, like the Bio Complete Serum, if you are new to retinol or have sensitive skin and gradually transition to a higher strength retinol dose like our Intensive Bio Complete Cream.
While it’s rare, sometimes retinol products just aren’t meant for extremely sensitive skin. In these cases, there are anti-aging alternatives with ingredients like peptides and HSA that don’t result in any irritation or sensitivity.
5. Use it Only At Night
When you apply your retinol is just as important as how you apply retinol. One of the effects of retinol is almost always sun-sensitivity, which is why skincare experts recommend it for your nighttime routine only.
Furthermore, sunlight reduces the efficacy of retinol products – making them useless in daylight. More importantly, you should introduce a stronger sunscreen into your morning routine to mitigate any lasting sensitivity to UV rays. We suggest broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher at all times.
6. It’s Not Just for Your Face!
Retinol elixirs and creams aren’t strictly for your face. You should use them on your neck and décolletage, as well. This isn’t just what you should know about retinol, either. In fact, your entire face care routine should extend to these areas to ensure that you’re not overlooking any other signs of aging.
Introducing Retinol to Your Routine
Now that you know how to apply retinol, it’s time to decide which products fit in best with your routine.
Explore our retinol-focused products for sensitive skin to dive right in, or take our skincare quiz for more precise recommendations. We also encourage you to reach out to our experts if you need additional guidance and support.