Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Ugly Side of Retin-A And How To Survive It!

Retinoids, a double edged sword. They are AMAZING at treating acne, smoothing skin texture, and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. However, in order to get to all that goodness you might have to endure the redness and flaky skin that occurs meanwhile your skin builds up its tolerance to the medication, a.k.a retinization. The good news is that not everyone goes through retinization; but if you are thinking about starting treatment, or even more-so if you are smack dab in the middle of the ugly phase, you need this post in your life. 


Rightfully dubbed "The Ugly Phase" of Retin-A, there is nothing cute about red, flaky, angry skin. Try to hide behind makeup and all you get is  aged, scaly, lizard looking skin... not kidding. Been there, done that. Luckily for all of us, there is a solution and it lies predominantly in the skin prep.  


Fake it till you make... through the ugly phase of Retin-A. This is what I do to achieve supple looking skin during retinization: 

  • Cleanse: If I have visible peeling going on then I will start off with a glycolic cleanser like this one by Mario Badescu. I suds up the the product and then leave it on my skin for about 5-10 minutes. I then go in with a damp warm cloth to remove the product. This acts as a chemical exfoliator and removes a lot of the dead skin.
  • Tone: I use this toner on a cotton pad all over my face to balance my skins pH. 
  • Moisturize: Skin is extremely sensitive during retinization so I like to use an alcohol free moisturizer like this one by Clinique, so my face doesn't sting during application. 
  • Seal In Moisture: you can seal in moisture through the use of occlusives, like this vitamin E & rose hip oil, or through humectants like water gel moisturizers (Clinique Moisture Surge, Neutrogena Hydro Boost, Tatchta Water Gel).  I tend to use the oils at night and the humectant during the day, but I sometimes use both if my skin really needs it. If you use an oil at night, be sure to apply it after the retinoid as the oil can create a barrier on the skin. Meaning if you put it on before the Retin-A, it will just block it from being absorbed into your skin. 
  • Prime: Areas around the mouth and nose can tend to dry out during retinization so it's important to apply a smoothing primer like this one by Tatcha


Conceal, don't feel... Sorry I had to. All my mommas or Disney fans will get it ;) There are only a couple of extra measures I take during my makeup routine, but they are crucial: 

  • Hydrating foundation or CC Cream: I am the first to go for a mattifying or satin finish foundation, however, steer clear from these during retinization. These will only make you look older, crusty, and scaly. Your best bet will be a moisturizing CC cream like the itCosmetics Your Skin But Better, and it even comes with SPF 50! By the way, you really should be wearing sunscreen during use of retinoids. 
  • Set Only the Absolute Necessary Areas: I am also one who usually sets her whole face with powder, however, this is something you definitely will not want to do during retinization. Steer clear of the trouble areas and only apply setting powder (very sparingly) to the areas of excess oil.

And that is it! That is how I create an optical illusion to survive the ugly phase of Retin-A. I can safely say that it is worth it. I love the benefits retinoids provide, and with a little extra care nobody will be none the wiser to the hot mess that lies underneath! 



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