Skin Health Magazine Issue #6 / Winter 2018 - Page 7

up on the ingredient on the first try. The secret is to play the long game. Start with a low, tol- erable concentration of Retinol – we’re talking 0.1-0.3% – to get your skin used to the ingre- dient and how it works. That tingling sensation is the ingredient stimulating your cells, but it needs to err on the side of noticeable not painful. New users should try a product like the Medik8 3 TR serum or the PCA Skin Retinol Treatment for Sensitive Skin to get a taste of what the ingredient can do, without any of the major side effects. Unlike many other skin care products, formu- las enriched with Retinol need to be introduced to the skin slowly. Instead of applying it every day, take a two-day break between applications for around three weeks before increasing how often you apply it. Rule #3: Stick to a Schedule We all have those products in our bathroom cupboard – let’s call them problem solvers – that only get used when our skin needs them, such as during a nasty breakout or after a par- ticularly stressful week. Retinol is not one of those kind of products. It needs to be applied regularly, in the evening, and it needs to be monitored. Once you have built up to nightly application, you need to keep using it in order to improve or maintain the results you are seeing. Using it once a week when you remem- ber to won’t get you anywhere. Rule #4: Don’t Mix it with Acids While there is no concrete scientific evidence to say that combining Retinol and AHAs in the same routine is detrimental for the skin, it can prove too intensive for most users. Retinol speeds up the skin cells’ natural renewal pro- cesses – hence the peeling and flakiness during the first month – and acids like Glycolic Acid exfoliate the surface layer of dead cells. Mix the two together and your skin can quickly become overwhelmed by the desire to shed, which can lead to increased sensitivity, pro- longed redness and a burning sensation. However, you can use both ingredients in the same routine by giving them some distance. On the evenings when you don’t use Retinol, apply an AHA-based mask or overnight cream or, alternatively, use an acid in the morning and a Retinol in the evening. Rule #5: Know When to Push On or Not There comes a time in every Retinol user’s life when they have to make the decision to either carry on with the ingredient or to stop and call it quits. This usually happens after around two or three weeks, when the skin is still flaky and a little delicate, but the visible rejuvenation is yet to impress. If you haven’t suffered any major reactions to the ingredient, carry on using it for another couple of months and, if after increasing the number of nights you apply it hasn’t worked, take the executive de- cision to try something else. Not every skin type will love Retinol, so don’t feel bad if the ingredient hasn’t worked for you. If all is good, keep going! Rule #6: Take the Next Step After around six months, your skin will be used to Retinol and will start to become lazy and stop responding the way it used to. This is when you can take the next step and move on to a product with a slightly stronger concentration of the ingredient, such as 0.5% and, eventual- ly, 1%. Try the ZENii Advanced Retinol Complex or the Reform Skincare Retinol 1% Crème. Rule #7: Don’t Neglect the Basics You’ve heard them time and time again, but sticking to the basics is essential for continued Retinol success. Whether you are using the ingredient for the first time or taking the plunge and switching to a stronger percentage, start off with minimal applications in the evening while your skin adjusts. Be consistent and always, always, always use a sunscreen during the day. Retinol, on any scale, thins the top layer of the skin and makes it prone to sun damage, so sunscreen becomes an even more important part of your routine. So don’t forget it, or any of these rules, if you want to achieve a complexion free of fine lines, pimples and dark spots. ISSUE #06 | 2018 | 7