BEAUTY IN THE FRIDGE

6 Ways Your Skincare Routine Should Change When You Start Using Retinol

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There’s a reason retinol is still a star of the skincare world and the go-to recommendation of derms everywhere, even after more than three decades in the mainstream market: It works. “I always say if there are only two things you’re going to use as part of your regimen, it should be sun protection and retinol,” says Peterson Pierre, M.D., a dermatologist in Thousand Oaks, California.

Retinol is the cousin of prescription retinoids, such as tretinoin. Both are retinoids and therefore both a vitamin A derivative. “Tretinoin was first used primarily to treat acne, until we saw that it also improved tone and texture and stimulates collagen, which helps with fine lines and other signs of aging,” he explains. Tretinoin and other prescription retinoids, however, aren’t for everyone; they can make skin extremely dry, red and sensitive, plus they require a derm visit to get an Rx. Retinol became popular and continues to be because it’s an effective alternative.

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While retinol can still cause some skin discomforts, including some initial dryness, redness and peeling, they’re typically not as severe as with the Rx version. Plus, most people can manage them by making a few simple changes to your skincare routine. Here’s where to begin:

Start incorporating retinol into your routine slowly

You’re probably used to applying treatment products daily, or even twice a day, but when it comes to retinol, slow and steady wins the race. “One of the things retinol does is help with gentle exfoliating; it accelerates the natural process of skin sloughing off its top layer so the softer, smoother skin underneath is visible,” Dr. Pierre says. “So people naturally think, if a little is good, more is better. But that’s not the case.” Practice restraint: Apply only a pea-sized amount (yes, only that much for your entire face, dividing it equally on cheeks and forehead before rubbing in). The key is to slowly build up your skin’s tolerance.

If you’re new to pure retinol, Mary Kay has you covered. The iconic beauty brand just launched the Mary Kay Clinical SolutionsTM Retinol 0.5 Set, which includes its Mary Kay Clinical SolutionsTM Retinol 0.5 and Mary Kay Clinical SolutionsTM Calm + Restore Facial Milk. The retinol product is powered by pure, high-concentration retinol, so it’s important to get your skin used to it gradually. That’s why they’ve developed their unique retinization process in association with dermatologists to simplify the search for an effective retinol with minimal discomforts. Follow it below to acclimate your skin to this powerful skincare ingredient.

  • Weeks 1 + 2: 1x per week, on the same night, diluted with Calm + Restore Facial Milk
  • Weeks 3 + 4: 1x per week, on the same night, followed by Calm + Restore Facial Milk
  • Weeks 5 + 6: 2x per week, followed by Calm + Restore Facial Milk, as needed
  • Weeks 7 + 8: 3x-5x per week, followed by Calm + Restore Facial Milk, as needed
  • Weeks 9+: Once skin is retinized, usage is based on skin tolerance. Product may be used as often as every evening, if desired.

    Try: Mary Kay Clinical SolutionsTM Retinol 0.5 Set

    Load up on moisturization

    Since it does have a tendency to cause skin dryness, pair your retinol with moisturizing products, like the Mary Kay Clinical Solutions™ Calm + Restore Facial Milk. This product is not only used throughout the retinization process, but it can also be used to nourish and soothe skin whenever needed even when skin is retinized. “Moisturizers with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalene or ceramides help keep skin hydrated and minimize irritation and decrease peeling,” Dr. Pierre says. “If your skin is super sensitive and gets irritated even when following all the appropriate steps, try applying moisturizer first, then retinol, then more moisturizer—so it’s like a retinol sandwich—which has worked for my patients.” He also recommends using a gentle moisturizing mask three times a week if needed.

    Try: Mary Kay Clinical SolutionsTM Calm + Restore Facial Milk

    Make SPF a must

    Mary Kay® CC Cream Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15*

    marykay.com

    $22.00

    Sun protection should always be a non-negotiable part of your routine, but it’s even more critical when using retinol. We even recommend doubling up: a sunscreen or SPF moisturizer, followed by foundation or tinted coverage product with SPF. Why is it so important? Retinol’s ability to slough off the top layer of skin cells makes skin more sun-sensitive and vulnerable to sun damage, Dr. Pierre says. “Also remember why you’re using retinol in the first place—presumably for smoother, clearer skin and fewer wrinkles,” he says. “If skin is baking in the sun, it won’t matter how much retinol you use, it won’t counteract that constant damage. You need to protect your investment.”

    Try: Mary Kay TimeWise® Age Minimize 3D® Day Cream with Mary Kay® CC Cream Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15 layered on for coverage that has additional SPF protection.

    Dab on a hydrating eye cream

    The skin around eyes tends to be thinner, dryer and more sensitive than elsewhere on your face. As such, even mild retinols can be irritating in that area, Dr. Pierre says. Solution: Dab on a hydrating eye cream first to help protect the area and keep it moisturized. Think of it as a protective barrier between your fragile eye area skin and the powerful retinol cream. Be sure to always apply eye cream before retinol to avoid any product transfer to the eye area.

    TimeWise Repair® Volu-Firm® Eye Renewal Cream

    marykay.com

    $42.00

    Try: Mary Kay TimeWise Repair® Volu-Firm® Eye Renewal Cream

    Temporarily shelve other skin treatments

    While your skin adjusts to retinol, the only other things you should be applying include a gentle cleanser, moisturizers and SPF. “You don’t want to ask your skin to do too much all at once,” Dr. Pierre says. “Plus, if you’re putting on four or five different things, and your skin is on fire, you won’t know which one is causing the problem.” Be especially careful to avoid glycolic, salicylic and other acids as well as manual scrubs. One of the things that’s so great about retinol is how it removes the top layer of dead skin cells. Additional exfoliation with hydroxy acids or even a mild scrub only leads to additional potential skin discomforts. If your skin is peeling, use only a soft, wet washcloth in light, circular motions to gently remove the visible dead skin, says Pierre.

    Add in antioxidants

    TimeWise® Age Minimize 3D® Night Cream – Normal/Dry

    marykay.com

    $32.00

    Once skin acclimates to retinol and you’re able to use it nightly without any major irritation or sensitivity, gradually re-introduce other treatment products, one at a time. One thing to try: A lotion or serum containing vitamin C, vitamin E or other antioxidants. “When skin is exposed to sun, it causes free radicals that, if left unchecked, can attack collagen and lead to discoloration and other signs of aging. Antioxidants provide extra protection against that damage,” Dr. Pierre says.

    Try: Mary Kay TimeWise® Age Minimize 3D® Night Cream

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