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How To *Properly* Add Retinol To Your Skincare Routine

It's the secret to a ~glowing~ complexion.
skincare with retinol
PHOTO: (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT) Instagram/kiehlsphilippines, Instagram/olayphilippines

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If you're a skincare junkie, you've probably come across retinol. It's undeniably one of the most *popular* skincare ingredients right now, and for good reason! 

What is retinol?

Retinol is a type of vitamin A that's commonly found in rejuvenating skincare products, from serums to eye creams. ICYDK, vitamin A is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in various bodily functions, including vision, immune system function, and of course, skin health.

What are the benefits of retinol?

  1. It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles - Retinol is known for its anti-aging properties, as it can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging by stimulating collagen production.

  2. It improves the skin's texture and tone - Retinol promotes cell turnover, leaving you with a ~smoother~ and more even complexion.

  3. It fights acne - Retinol can be an effective treatment for acne, as it helps unclog pores and reduce inflammation, leading to fewer breakouts.

  4. It increases skin hydration - Retinol can also help improve the skin's moisture levels by boosting the production of hyaluronic acid, a.k.a. a natural hydrator!

  5. It enhances skin brightness and radiance - Retinol can help improve the overall brightness and radiance of the skin by reducing the appearance of dark spots and promoting a more even skin tone.

What are the possible side effects of using retinol? 

While retinol can be a highly effective ingredient for improving the appearance of the skin, it can also cause some side effects, especially when not used properly. Here are some of the most common side effects of retinol:

  1. Dryness and flakiness - Retinol can be drying to the skin, especially when used in higher concentrations or too frequently. This can lead to flakiness and peeling, particularly in areas where the skin is already dry or compromised.

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  2. Redness and irritation - The skincare ingredient can also cause redness, itching, and irritation, especially in those with sensitive skin. This can be exacerbated by using too much product or not starting with a low enough concentration.

  3. Sun sensitivity - It can increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun, making it more prone to burning and other forms of sun damage. It's important to use sunscreen during the day and to limit sun exposure as much as possible.

  4. Acne breakouts - While retinol can be effective in treating acne, it can also cause initial breakouts as it works to unclog pores and remove dead skin cells. However, this usually subsides after a few weeks of consistent use.

P.S. It's important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, and they can often be mitigated by using retinol properly and gradually increasing usage. If you do experience significant irritation or discomfort, it's best to stop using retinol and consult with a dermatologist.


How To Add Retinol To Your Skincare Routine

Step 1: Start slow!

As mentioned earlier, retinol can be irritating to the skin, especially if you're new to using it. To avoid any adverse reactions, start by using it once or twice a week, and gradually increase frequency as your skin adjusts.

Step 2: Choose the right product

When choosing a retinol product, look for a formulation that's appropriate for your skin type and concerns. Some retinol products are geared towards anti-aging, while others may be more suitable for acne-prone skin.

skincare with retinol
Kiehl's PH

Khiel's Retinol Daily Micro-Dose Serum, P1,500,

skincare with retinol

Olay Retinol 24 Face Cream, P1,999, Lazada

Step 3: Apply retinol at night

Retinol is best used at night, as it can increase sensitivity to the sun. After cleansing and toning your skin, apply a pea-sized amount of retinol to your face, avoiding the eye area.


Step 4: Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! 

Retinol can be drying, so it's important to follow up with a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated. Look for a moisturizer that's gentle and non-comedogenic. (READ MORE: 10 Gentle, No B.S. Moisturizers That Won’t Irritate Sensitive Skin

Step 5: Use sunscreen

Retinol can increase sensitivity to the sun, so it's crucial to wear sunscreen during the day to protect your skin.

What skincare ingredients can't be used with retinol? 

Retinol is a *potent* ingredient, and as such, it should be used with caution, especially when it comes to combining it with other active ingredients. Here are some of the skincare ingredients you should avoid using with retinol:

  1. Vitamin C - While both retinol and vitamin C are potent antioxidants that can help brighten and even out the skin, they can also cause irritation when used together. It's best to use them at different times of day, or to alternate between them.

  2. AHAs and BHAs - Alpha and beta hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid, can be beneficial for exfoliating and unclogging pores. However, when used with retinol, they can cause dryness, irritation, and sensitivity.

  3. Benzoyl peroxide - Benzoyl peroxide is a common ingredient in acne treatments, but it can be too harsh when used with retinol. It's best to use benzoyl peroxide in the morning and retinol at night, or to use them on alternate days.

  4. Physical exfoliants - Physical exfoliants, such as scrubs and cleansing brushes, can be too harsh when used with retinol, leading to irritation and sensitivity. It's best to use a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser and to avoid using physical exfoliants when using retinol.

By avoiding these skincare ingredients when using retinol, you can minimize the risk of irritation and sensitivity, and ensure that you're getting the most out of your retinol skincare routine! 

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