Using Retinol skincare in the summer? Should you stop? Absolutely not!
It's like telling yourself to stop exercising, going to the gym, working out etc
In a few weeks time, you would be able to see the difference in your fitness level, yes?
Retinol in a nut shell makes your skin STRONG
Retinol remains one of the most discussed, searched, loved, and feared ingredients in skincare. If you’re in the nervous camp, I get it.
Retinol comes with a reputation for being a rockstar kind of ingredient, which is probably why there’s a misconception about binning it over the summer months. Controversial, I know, but let me explain…
Retinol is a complex molecule that results in a massive change in the skin, but it comes in fancy dress as a harmless serum, so it’s easy to go too hard and fast without realising. This is something that I affectionately call 'operator error'.
A heavy-handed approach can lead to the over-shedding of dead skin as retinol has an exfoliating effect (amongst its long, long list of benefits) and ANY kind of over-exfoliation will leave the skin feeling exposed and sensitised. This has led to the 'bad boy' reputation you probably know about retinol and why lots of people will advise approaching it with caution and ditching it during the summer. But this kind of 'off and on' relationship (further solidifying its bad boy rep) can mean the skin is only getting the benefits of retinol SOME of the year.
What is retinol?
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A. Yes, it’s a vitamin. It’s recognised by the skin and put to use for a seemingly endless list of benefits including the reduction in the appearance of discolouration, lines/wrinkles, and blemishes, the improvement in the appearance of pore size, skin texture, plumpness, and hydration – as well as improving skin health, resilience and even (hold onto your chair) the appearance of redness-prone skin long term.
When you start using retinol, it is like a wake-up call for the skin, which is why you need to start slowly and go gently. Retinol is like a spin class for your skin – you can’t go from doing 0 spin classes to 7 spin classes in a week. You do 1 spin class, and you can hardly walk for a couple of days, and everything hurts. You let yourself recover – then you do your next spin class, and your recovery is a little bit shorter. Then, you do your next spin class, and your recovery is shorter still, and eventually, you get to the point where you can do a spin class 4 times a week with no problem because your fitness has improved, and your body is now keeping up with the challenge that the spin class has presented. It’s the same with retinol. You can’t go from never using retinol to using retinol every night – your skin would be in the same state as your over-spun body!
So, you need to go slow and let your body get used to the power-up that retinol gives it. Start on a low percentage of retinol,use it once in the evening, let your skin recover for a few days, then use it again. Build up slowly – the recovery time will keep getting shorter.
For personalised guidance on starting retinol, a full skincare review, and recommendations, book in with me for a personalised skin care consultation
and I can guide you every step of the way.
Continuing retinol use during the summer.
If you are already using retinol, are militant with your broad-spectrum sunscreen, and love shade-bathing, you carry on!
If you’re worried about the heightened environmental factors, there are a few steps you can take to ease the action of retinol, rather than halting it altogether – You could drop it down to a lower dose. Lots of people will use Retinol Resurfacing Serum 1% during the winter and 0.5% or 0.25% during the summer. You could skip a day in between uses. Currently using retinol every day? Try every other day. You could also try a retinol sandwich.
What is a retinol sandwich?
One of the latest skincare trends, the retinol sandwich started on TikTok, and it’s a decent technique for applying retinol with a moisturiser so that the associated effects are minimised. Simply cleanse skin as usual, afterwards, applying a thin layer of moisturiser. Give it a couple of minutes to do its thing and then apply your retinol on top.
Again, wait a few minutes before applying another layer of moisturiser, sandwiching the retinol between the two layers of moisturiser. Keep in mind that buffering your retinol this way will minimise side effects, but it will also minimise good effects, so if you’ve already built up to applying retinol directly to your skin with no issues, stick with that. Sandwiching is a great way to start retinol, and you can build up slowly by applying less moisturiser on the first layer as your skin becomes more comfortable with retinol, and eventually, moving to applying directly to the skin.
As always, feel free to reply to me with any questions