Retinoids - Tips To Use Them Efficiently

By Marilynn Syrett Published 11/16/2009 | Beauty
Retinoids are powerful anti-aging ingredients that provide your skin with a whole range of benefits. It helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, fades away brown spots and pigmentation and makes the skin radiant and younger-looking. This is the reason why it is used extensively in anti aging skin care formulations. However, you need to be extremely careful when using retinoid-based products. Because they are powerful ingredients, they may also have side effects if not used cautiously.

Here are some tips on how to apply Retinoid based anti aging skin care products:

Let it Dry Out

When you start using a retinoid cream, your skin might dry out, peel and redden. Don't be alarmed because this is just a sign that the cream has started working. It is very common for the skin to look worse before it starts looking better. Continue applying the cream and your skin should be back to normal in about six-twelve weeks. Remember, it takes time for the ingredient to penetrate the skin surface and cause improvement.

Wait after Cleansing

Don't apply retinoids immediately after cleansing your face. Instead wait for about 20-30 minutes after washing your face and make sure your skin is completely dry. This will help to reduce the stinging sensation and skin irritation.

Apply a Small Amount

Retinoids are extremely powerful ingredients that can make the skin dry and cause irritation if used in high quantities. Therefore, make sure you apply only a small amount of the product. A pea-sized amount would be enough for your entire face. Applying more than the prescribed amount wont’t make your skin heal faster. Rather, it would only cause more peeling and increased skin redness.

Apply Sunscreens Diligently

Retinoids increase the skin's susceptibility towards sun exposure. As a result, the skin is more prone to sunburns and other forms of sun damage. Therefore, make sunscreens an integral part of your daily skin care routine. Apply retinoids at night and wear a broad spectrum sunscreen (with at least SPF 30) during the day. This will keep your skin protected when you venture outdoors in the sun.

Avoid using Harsh Exfoliants

Because retinoids increase skin sensitivity, it is not advisable to use harsh exfoliants and other potentially irritating ingredients. If you use other powerful products along with retinoids, it can cause intensify skin irritation and cause redness. Therefore you need to adjust your skin care routine and use only compatible products.

Don't use AHAs or BHAs

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are not compatible with retinoids and tend to make it less effective. If at all you need to use them, make sure you use these products at different times. For example, use AHAs and BHAs along with sunscreen during the morning and use retinoids at night.

Use Moisturizers Regularly

Since retinoids tend to make the skin dry, it is important to moisturize your skin intensively to combat the dryness and flaking. Use a mild moisturizer that is non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic and is free from any artificial fragrances and preservatives.

Start Slowly and Move Up

Don't use retinoids in a heavy dose. Instead start slowly and build on gradually. It is advisable to use the retinoid cream every third day during the initial two weeks and then for the next two weeks, use it every alternate day. When you feel that your skin has adapted to the ingredient, you can start using it on daily basis. Summer months are a good time to start using retinoids as the skin is less prone to drying out because of the humidity.

Don't Expect Immediate Results

Retinoids take time to show results. So be prepared to wait for about three to six months to see any significant improvement in your skin.

Avoid Waxing

Retinoids make the skin extremely sensitive and prone to peeling. Therefore, hair removal techniques like waxing and shaving with a blade might not go very well with the skin. Therefore, its advisable to avoid waxing while you are using retinoid products.

Dr. Marilynn Syrett is a dedicated researcher of skin care cosmetics and their effectiveness on the skin. She has authored several skin care articles and reviewed many anti aging and wrinkle products at her blog.