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What should I know before using Retinol?

(22 Posts)
LunanMoon Thu 28-May-20 09:52:12

I'm about to start. I know I need spf in the day. What I'm unclear about is what will happen to my skin. Is it going to go through a bad flaky phase? Would love to hear others experiences!

OP’s posts: |
TheFlis12345 Thu 28-May-20 10:15:13

Been using a 0.5% one for a couple of weeks, no noticeable issues for me. No flaking or sensitivity.

LunanMoon Thu 28-May-20 11:14:34

Mine is 0.5 too!

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LunanMoon Thu 28-May-20 11:14:52

So that bodes we'll

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LunanMoon Thu 28-May-20 11:15:06

Well! confused

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SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Thu 28-May-20 11:35:48

Your skin will probably be a bit sensitive at first, so if you use any exfoliating acids etc maybe scale back a bit while you get used to it, and just generally make sure the rest of your skincare is really gentle. And yes, definitely make sure you’re using a decent SPF (at least factor 30, broad spectrum).

You don’t always get peeling/redness though, I didn’t. What I did get though was spots, so that’s something to be aware of. I’m not really acne prone, but I used to get spots when I’m my period was due. The retinol brought that all to a head, so for a few weeks my skin looked worse, but then it passed and my skin has been clear ever since. So if that happens to you keep the faith! Spots can also be a reaction to the product itself though, the way I told the difference was that the spots were on my jaw/chin, where I would tend to break out anyway. If it’s a reaction to the product they would have been in places I didn’t normally get spots in.

As well as the concentration of the product, the base it’s in can make a difference to how well you tolerate it, so an oil is generally better tolerated than a cream. But I didn’t know that and I started with a cream and it was fine! Just go really slowly at first, just a couple of times a week, and only step it up and use it more often if you’re tolerating it well.

Lelivre Thu 28-May-20 12:01:15

Is this prescription strength tretinoin because it took me many months before I could use 0.5 daily and my skin isn’t particularly sensitive

Lelivre Thu 28-May-20 12:02:21

I learned the hard way to be careful with any acid toners even now I wouldn’t use on the same day.

olivehater Thu 28-May-20 13:06:19

Personally I wouldn’t use in the summer. To really use spf effectively you have to put loads on and reapply meticulously every few hours throughout the day. I could nt honestly say I do that and I doubt most people do so save retinol for the winter.

Lelivre Thu 28-May-20 13:27:19

Yes that’s what I have done over the years although I’m using it a bit now as I don’t want to lose my tolerance but I am not so happy about it

LunanMoon Thu 28-May-20 13:41:33

Maybe I'll wait until winter then! It's just a retinol serum I've bought so no idea re prescription strength. I thought I understood but it sounds a bit scary! Useful info on the acids, I'll steer clear

OP’s posts: |
Cordial11 Thu 28-May-20 13:43:10

Don't use every day , gradually 2 or 3 times a week!

I am at the end of flaking now. I used a really gentle avene moisturiser the nights inbetween that calmed sensitivity.

Lelivre Thu 28-May-20 15:20:36

I only know about the pharmaceutical ones. These can’t be used when ttc for example, or that was the case when I had it on prescription. I have to buy it now. I would imagine the commercial ones are quite different. Is the insert helpful?

Ginfordinner Thu 28-May-20 15:24:11

I agree with olive that summer is probably not the best time of year to start using it.

SailingAwayIntoSunrise Thu 28-May-20 15:26:19

I use The Ordinary 5% granactive retinoid and my skin has never peeled.

I've been using it every second day for about 8 months and have just stepped it up to every day.

Parkandride Thu 28-May-20 15:26:50

Following, I just got the ordinary one, 0.2 to start low. I know nothing about skin care so don't think I need to worry about mixing with other products? I don't tone, serum etc.

My plan was to use that up then onto 0.5? No reactions so far after a week, had 1 day off

Will have to look up about ttc as I'll be having an embryo transfer at some point

Parkandride Thu 28-May-20 15:28:08

Oh and I'm fanatical about suncream, shade, huge hat so not too worried there...

Lelivre Thu 28-May-20 15:35:43

As I recall...The ordinary fb group has a thread on pharmaceutical retin a. All posts are supposed to go on the one thread for tretinon questions. That may help more.

Also you would get info on their serums from other consumers, whether their 0.5 is the same as the ‘drug’ I don’t know, I don’t think so. If it is it would be easier to get so I would like to know if you find out!

SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Thu 28-May-20 16:02:37

I actually think the summer can be a good time to try retinol, as long as you are diligent about SPF and aren’t sunbathing etc. A lot of people will find that their skin is less prone to sensitivity in the summer, compared to the winter when they’re dealing with the cold/wind/central heating etc. It’s a personal choice though, if you can’t keep up with the SPF it’s probably an idea to wait.

Caroline Hirons did a cheat sheet about different types of vitamin A and their relative strengths, which might be useful:

As for TTC, I know a lot of women do use retinol whilst pregnant without issues, but I personally wouldn’t. Vitamin A in high quantities is associated with birth defects, which is why if you use an oral retinoid (eg roaccutane) you must be on contraception. Obviously if you’re using a topical vitamin A like retinol the amount you actually absorb through your skin into your bloodstream is tiny, but because we don’t know how much is ok and how much is a risk the general advice is not to use it during pregnancy. But obviously you can speak to your doctor/midwife and do a bit of reading and make up your own mind.

SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Thu 28-May-20 16:05:32

That last bit was aimed at Parkandride btw, good luck with the embryo transfer!

Parkandride Thu 28-May-20 20:04:22

Thank you @SpuriouserAndSpuriouser smile

Russellbrandshair Thu 28-May-20 20:13:55

Most important thing is to wear sunscreen! Retinol can make your skin very sensitive to the sun so always wear high spf even on cloudy days

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