So you recently started using retinol to treat your acne, and lo and behold, it made the situation even worse! You might feel like you’re breaking out even more. But don’t worry! Getting started with retinol does not have to be scary.
Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, has been a hot topic in the skincare community for quite some time now. Anti aging cream with retinol has become quite the rage. To name a few of the benefits, it reduces acne breakouts, improves texture and fine lines, increases skin hydration and elasticity, and reduces oil production. Even so, the road to a noticeable difference is long, as well as bumpy. Cue the retinol purge!
Besides breakouts, a retinol purge may also cause dryness, irritation, and skin peeling. This article will help you understand the retinol purging process, how long it lasts, and how to deal with it.
Why does retinol burn your skin?
When you first start using a retinol product, like a retinol anti aging cream, your skin gets accustomed to its effects. Retinol, in theory, speeds up skin cell turnover. Dead skin cells are temporarily shed due to the increased cell turnover.
It takes time for new, healthy cells to reach the surface of your skin. When your new skin is exposed before it is ready, it causes redness, discolouration, and discomfort. Or what we know now as retinol purge. Retinol burn might also happen depending on the product you're using and how frequently you apply it.
5 ways to treat retinol purge (burn) and irritation at home
1. Try a cold compress to soothe your skin
Like with any other type of burn, a cold compress also helps with retinol purges. Wrap an ice bag or an ice pack in a clean, soft towel and apply to the affected area for up to 15 minutes every hour. But remember that icing the region will provide some pain relief in the short term, but it won't help with the redness or peeling.
Never apply ice straight to your skin, whether in the form of a bag of ice, an ice pack, or an ice cube. You risk inflicting skin injury or even frostbite if you do so. Additionally, if your skin is already peeling, the ice may stick to it and pull it away when you remove it.
2. Discontinue using the products that contain retinol
After noticing the signs of retinol purge, stop using retinol and stay away from skincare products with acids and exfoliators. Also, try to avoid any other skincare products that can irritate your skin. Keep in mind that whatever you put on your skin now has the power to penetrate considerably deeper than before, so stay away from anything scented.
3. Follow a basic and gentle skincare routine while your skin is healing
While you're healing from retinol burn, be aware of other products in your skincare routine that may aggravate your condition.
For six weeks, only use a gentle cleanser and sensitive skin moisturizers, and refrain from using any harsh products. This means avoiding peels, exfoliating scrubs, and anything containing salicylic or glycolic acid.
4. Use a moisturizer that contains barrier repair ingredients like Ceramides and Madecassoside
Using a ceramide-based moisturizer on a daily basis can help in repairing the skin and restoring the skin barrier. Madecassoside is a great ingredient to look for in moisturizing creams since it can reduce inflammation by decreasing cytokine production during acne flare-ups.
5. Shield your skin from sun rays
The use of retinol will make your skin more sensitive to light - especially during the initial few days. This means that if you're using retinol or tretinoin, you might burn more easily in the sun. Hence, it's critical to apply SPF 50 every day and keep your skin out of the sun as much as possible while it recovers.
Although retinol can cause acne breakouts to get worse, causing peeling, dry skin, and irritation in the short term, these effects are only temporary. Remember that you are playing the long game with retinol. Most OTC products need at least three to six months (and sometimes longer) to show results.
4 important tips for using retinol in your skin care routine
The most effective method of preventing the side effects of retinol is to use it properly on your skin. Follow these tips if you are a first-time user of retinol on your skin:
1. Start with the lower concentration of retinol
Start with a low concentration of retinol, preferably with 0.1% concentration, when you're using it for the first time. High concentration retinol can cause irritation at first, which is why this is important. Start with 0.1% retinol and increase the percentage over time.
Moreover, a study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that a 0.1% retinol formula appeared to reduce the appearance of photodamage with continued and prolonged use.
2. Introduce retinol slowly into your skincare regimen
If it is your first time using retinol cream or if your skin is still getting used to applying it on it, avoid using it every day. Initially, the skin has trouble adapting to the application of retinol every day.
We recommend starting with a retinol anti aging night cream and using the product only once or twice a week at night at first. Once your skin adjusts, you can increase the frequency of application.
3. When using retinol, always wear sunscreen
Due to the increased turnover of dead skin cells caused by anti-aging products with retinol, your skin becomes more sensitive than usual. Sunburn only occurs when new cells are exposed, not because retinol itself increases your risk of burning. To prevent sun damage, always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
4. Opt for hydrating retinol
Most people get confused between the different types of retinol products, particularly retinol cream vs retinol serum. Despite having retinol as their base, they differ in a variety of ways.
Retinol cream contains moisturizing ingredients, while retinol serum is water-based. Since retinol makes your skin dry and sensitive, a hydrating retinol cream might be the perfect choice for avoiding retinol purge.
The Bottom Line
When you're starting with retinol, skin purging can seem impossible, and you can't do much about it. Nevertheless, purging is a good thing! When this happens, you know the product is working, and you'll soon have clear skin.
Many skin conditions can be resolved when retinol is used properly - whether it's to slow the aging process, reduce acne, or simply make your skin look more radiant. The use of retinol sooner (rather than later) can help prevent the effects of aging for those in their late 20s or early 30s, although it is amazing for all ages!
Just remember that using retinol is like running a long marathon, not a sprint. It can take a while to see results, but the waiting is surely worth it. Just make sure you choose the right retinol products with ingredients suitable to your skin type. Check out Re’equil’s collection of retinol anti aging night cream and other retinol products now!