Few skincare ingredients have come close to matching the anti-aging (and anti-acne and anti-dullness-we could go on, but you get the picture) wonder that isВ retinol. вЂњRetinol helps to diminish and smooth fine lines and wrinkles, reversesВ sun damage and photo aging, and evens out dark spots and rough skin tones,вЂќВ dermatologist and Goldfaden MDВ founder Dr. Gary Goldfaden says. The onlyВ issue is that as a powerfulВ active ingredient, it can be irritating. When used in theВ wrong strength, retinols can be irritating and ineffective. Which is precisely whyВ we called in the pros to help us determine what strength of retinol we all shouldВ be using.
Scroll through for all the details!Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol $32Shop
вЂњDue to the irritation factor, the skin needs to acclimate slowly, particularlyВ sensitive skin,вЂќ says dermatologist and SkinfluenceВ founder Dr. Marina Peredo. вЂњByВ using varying concentrations of retinol, we can acclimate the skin safely andВ effectively with little to no irritation.вЂќ Dr. Goldfaden and Dr. Peredo agree fair,В thin, and sensitive skin types with no history of retinol use should start with a lowВ percentage, like 0.025%. Try Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Super AntioxidantВ Concentrate Serum With Retinol ($32), with 0.03% retinol, and if your skin is tolerating the product wellВ after severalВ weeks of use, you can move up toВ something stronger.
Normal and combination skin can start at a higher concentration. TryВ SkinMedica's Retinol Complex 0.25 ($60), which contains 0.25% retinol. AndВ depending on your skin's reaction, work your way to something stronger in a fewВ months. вЂњWhen starting out, always watch for side effects, which can includeВ redness, dryness, itchiness, or overall sensitivity,вЂќ Dr. Goldfaden says. WhenВ you're ready for more retinol, we recommend SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 ($57) withВ 0.5% pure retinol.Dermadoctor Poetry in Lotion Intensive 1% Retinol $75Shop
вЂњSkin types that are darker, thicker, and tougher will be a bit more tolerant whenВ starting use,вЂќ Dr. Goldfaden says. Start out with RenГ©e Rouleau's AdvancedВ Resurfacing Serum ($84). It has a concentration of 0.4%. Once your skin hasВ adapted, try something with 1.0% retinol, like DermadoctorВ Poetry in Lotion Intensive 1% RetinolВ ($75).В
вЂњIt goes without saying that the more skin damage (wrinkles, sun damage, etc.),В the higher the percentage you eventually want to use,вЂќ Dr. Goldfaden says.В The highest concentrationВ of retinol you can get without a prescription is 2.0%. If you get to that point, tryВ Dr. Brandt's Overnight Resurfacing Serum ($85).В And we'd be remiss if we didn't include this important note from the doctors: Always wear your sunscreen.ВLa Roche-Posay Redermic R Eyes $47Shop
вЂњRetinol can be used all over the face, but pay specific attention to eyelids,В corners of the eye, and corners of the mouth, as it can burn and cause irritation in those places,вЂќВ Dr. Goldfaden says. If you want to use retinol near your eyes, use oneВ specifically designed for your eyes, like La Roche-Posay's Redermic R EyesВ ($47), which contains 0.01% retinol, making it non-irritating for the delicate skinВ around your eyes.В
Another factor that can impact your skin's sensitivity is the climate you live in. IfВ you live in a cold, dry climate, Dr. Goldfaden says you should switch to a retinolВ cream (like Dermalogica's Overnight Retinol Repair, $85) to avoid excessiveВ drying.В
Do you have any other retinol-related questions? Ask away in theВ comments below!