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The Truth About Retinoids: When To Start Using One and Why

By Cassidy Best | Nov 22, 2021
The Truth About Retinoids: When To Start Using One and Why

There’s no denying: retinoids are getting all the hype in the skincare world. And with good reason! Retinoids are the creme de la creme of over-the-counter anti-aging products - and one of the most powerful ways to turn back the clock for skin.

We know adding in an additional step into your skincare routine seems daunting, but I’m here to show you exactly when and how to add a retinoid in your routine, and prove that the hype is worth it.

What are Retinoids?

Basically, retinoid is just a fancy name for vitamin A, which is a key nutrient your body needs to boost cell turnover. You can find powerful versions created by some of your favorite brands, and even more potent solutions through a dermatologist. But for most, especially those who aren’t yet showing signs of aging, the less intense, over-the-counter formula is perfectly sufficient.

Because retinoids are so powerful, they can lead to flaky, dry skin as they work - which is why starting with an over-the-counter formula is the perfect entry point to retinoids’ powerful effects.

What Do Retinoids Do?

Retinoids boost the metabolism of skin cells, in turn causing skin cells to turnover faster. It also encourages the production of collagen. This keeps your skin full, vibrant, and tight. Simply put, it keeps you young. You may be wondering… what if I’m already young and vibrant? Well luckily, retinoids also help to unclog pores and keep your skin refreshed. Acne scars? Find those fading as you use your retinoid. So whether or not you’re worried about wrinkles, you can’t go wrong with using retinoid.

Why Should I Use a Retinoid?

Even if you don’t have acne, wrinkles, or fine lines, using a retinoid will help maintain even skin tone and vibrance. Healthy and glowing skin, complete with unclogged pores and anti-aging magic juice. Are you convinced yet?

When Should I Start Using Retinoids?

As long as you’re not overdoing it, it’s never too early to start thinking about anti-aging products, especially since we’ve been exposed to UV rays and blue light from our phones and computers since an early age. If you want to take the route of prevention, start a retinoid now, no matter your age. However, if you’re not ready to add another step to your skincare routine just yet, the prime age to begin a retinoid is your early thirties.

How Do I Use a Retinoid?

Retinoid formulas are all pretty intense (even if they’re over-the-counter), so it’s best to start slow. We suggest building up your tolerance by incorporating a pea-sized amount 2-3 times a week, increasing the application frequency as your skin adjusts. If you’re still worried about too much retinoid in your routine, you can mix your retinoid of choice with moisturizer to dilute. In general, treatments like retinoids should be one of the first products you apply in your skincare routine: I like to apply directly after I cleanse my skin, and right before I moisturize.

Additionally, there is an adjustment period for everyone, including those who don’t consider their skin sensitive. You may notice a change in coloration, texture, or breakouts in the first two to three weeks of usage. Luckily, this too shall pass: Your skin is working overtime to turnover skin cells. So just like the exhaustion you’d feel if you went from nightly Netflix binges to nightly SoulCycle classes, your skin is working hard, and it is tired. Don’t worry, your skin will be noticeably more vibrant and even after this adjustment period is over.

Balance is key here, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you notice your skin is red, itchy, or irritated, applying a retinoid may do more harm than good, or you may need to pull back on the amount you’re using. Listen to your skin! Start slow and steady.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

This is perhaps the most important step to anti-aging and protection: Use an SPF (of at least 30) every single day. Not some days, not most days - every day! Though it’s always an important step in your routine, it is crucial when you begin using a retinoid. Retinoids increase skin sensitivity to UV light and increases your chances of getting a nasty sunburn, which will lead to long-term skin damage (which is what we’re trying to repair).

Also, UV light is a silent killer when it comes to aging. The sun is the main cause of lines and discoloration with or without a retinoid. If you’re not applying an SPF daily, you will cause signs of aging that you’re working hard to reverse. Yikes!

Ready For Retinoids

Ready to get your hands on a gentle, but effective retinoid? Start with Do Not Disturb Overnight Repair Concentrate. We designed this formula to be potent with 1% retinoid, but balanced by gentle, moisturizing ingredients including plant-derived squalane and dragon’s blood. The result? You’ll get the power of retinoids minus the irritation, because of these skin-loving ingredients.

Get ready for your best skin yet: Shop Do Not Disturb Overnight Repair Concentrate.

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