I posted on my Instagram curiously to see if anyone would want to hear about my retinoid journey thinking only a few people were going to respond but when I was bombarded with messages I thought it would be better to do it as a proper blog post instead of on Instagram which you can follow me here >>> @theskincaresaviour
I feel like when talking about retinoids a lot of the time people just want to use the strongest retinoid out there first go and while you can do that but the downside is the peeling, the irritation and the very stripped back skincare routine you’ll have to do for quite some time.
Now anyone who knows me will tell you that im the least patient person about but i wanted to do this properly with as little irritation as possible.
The way i went around retinoids wasnt an overnight thing it was over the course of a few years and im going to explain to to you how i did it.
When I first decided I wanted to use retinol I knew I wanted to try the lowest strength I could find that would still give results. The first two retinoids I used where Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil this was around 2016 when I first started getting into skincare. For about 9 months of 2016 I used Luna which was a really gentle retinoid that contained Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, I like to think of this as the cousin to pure retinoic acid (If you want to learn how to choose the best-starter retinoids check out my post HERE)
In 2016 I used 2 retinoids the Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil and the Pestle and Pestle & Mortar Superstar Night Oil which was very similar to Luna. At the start of 2017, I switched things up and started using stronger retinoids still over-the-counter but punchier formulations. This is when I first discovered the Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum at the time this was a really strong retinoid then I moved on to the Verso Super Facial Serum. It must have been about 9 months later into 2017 when Paulas Choice sent me their Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment which was the strongest retinol I used to date.
Come August 2018 I had been using the Paulas Choice 1% for white some time now I had used at least 3 bottles of it at this point. I stopped using the PC retinol when I got the chance to try out a new brand that had launched in the UK called Dermatica (full review here) this was the UK’s first online dermatology service where you are able to get prescription-strength skincare products for £19.99 a month. Now, this is where the game changed, I had never used a prescription-strength before and I was worried that I would get a lot of irritation and peeling but thank god I didn’t. While I did get some sensitivity I couldn’t use acid exfoliators for the longest time but eventually, my skin acclimatised to the Adapalene and my skin has never been better.
2 years would pass of me using Adapalene every other night and I honestly thought I would be happy with that but then another new brand came onto the market called Skin & Me but they blew Dermatica out of the water. This was another online dermatology service but the difference was so apparent from the customised packaging, the daily doser packaging to the number of different drugs they could compound with. I got to try out something from Skin & Me and now in October 2020, I am using tretinoin. Whilst I might be using a lower dose, you know I want to take things slow to get the best results. I’ve been using tretinoin for about 2 weeks now and I’ve had no dryness so irritation and no peeling.
I will always tell you to go low and slow this way you’ll get the easiest time with your retinoids with little to no side effects.
Just as a little note on the end that the use of retinoids is a serious thing, it’s a big decision to make. When using retinoids you NEED to wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and reapply it throughout the day. Retinoids make the skin more sensitive to the sun so if you can’t stick to wearing sunscreen every day then retinoids are not for you. There is no point in years of work if you aren’t going to wear a sunscreen as you’re just wasting money and undoing all the hard work
Some of my favourite sunscreens are the La Roche Posay Anthelios Shaka Fluid SPF 50+, Lagom Cellus Sun Gel SPF 50 and the new Ambre Solaire Ultra-Light Sensitive Face Fluid SPF 50+ (It’s basically Anthelios but more affordable)