Retinol is a hugely important ingredient in skin care and I think we all know why. It's anti-aging capabilities are hard to match. It combats issues such as fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and texture. Even though this is a highly sought after ingredient, there is some confusion over how to use it. Here we're going to de-mystify this ingredient and shed some light on how a retinol is best incorporated into your skin care routine.
Can I use Retinol During the Day?
One of the most widely misunderstood concepts surrounding retinol is whether it should be used during the daytime.
Many think that using a retinol during the day is risky because it may make the skin more prone to sunburn.
The truth is that retinols themselves do not change the amount of sun the skin can take before it burns. Retinols work by increasing skin cell turnover and increasing collagen production. It does not necessarily make the skin more sensitive to the sun, although the new skin cells may be more prone to sun damage than the old ones. Therefore it's best to cover your bases with added protection if you do wear a retinol during the day.
Still, should you use a retinol during the day? The answer is probably not. The main reason why you should avoid using a retinol during the day is that you will not be getting the full benefits. First off, retinol breaks down in sunlight which is why you'll notice that the packaging of products containing retinol aims at protecting the contents from sun exposure.
It's also important to note how your body works during the day versus at night. During the day, your skin is exposed to sun and pollutants so you'll want to focus your daytime skin care on protection, using products that contain antioxidants, sunscreen and vitamin C.
At night, your skin is undergoing deep reparative processes. Your skin will be working to repair any damage that has occured during the day. In order to aid in that process, you'll want to use active ingredients such as retinol or acids (glycolic, lactic, salycilic...etc.).
Should I stop using it if Irritation Occurs?
Another misunderstood concept in skin care is that you should immediately discontinue use of a product if your skin becomes irritated. If the irritation is extreme, prolonged and demonstrates signs of a skin allergy or sensitivity, then by all means, discontinue use and consult your dermatologist. But certain ingredients such as retinol take time for the skin to adjust to. Slight irritation such as redness or peeling after introduction of a retinol is to be expected. The skin will adjust after a few weeks of consistent use. If the irritation is prolonged or very uncomfortable, then you should switch to a gentler formula and decrease your use to once a week. Overtime, your skin will adjust to the ingredient and you can increase the strength.
That's about it in a nutshell. There is a lot of confusion over this tried and true skin care ingredient, but hopefully this helps clear some of it up for you.