The older I get the more and more skin obsessed I become. I find myself laying in bed at 1 in the morning Googling "before and after Retin-A photos", next thing you know it's 3 a.m. and I have found 15 new products to try and 46 new methods to make the transition to using Retin-A somewhat bearable... Am I loser for doing so? Probably! Will we all have better skin because of it? Probably!
So, I took the plunge and tired a Retinol, which is different then Rentin-A... baby steps. And trust me this is no easy task for someone who shoots photos of their outfits for a living, or anyone who has to interact with another person from time to time, anyone that has to leave their house... ever. BUT, I knew this was going to be the case... I was heavily warned by everyone (including my mystery friends who write reviews all over skin chat rooms and realself.com). It's a well-known fact that the process of starting Retin-A or a Retinol is NOT an easy one. And so it began. I started Retinol and was beyond dry, blotchy, pink... so gross. And it felt like it would never end. The worst part, IMO, was not being able to wear makeup. I mean, you can, and I did, but it sort of sits on top of that dry layer of skin and actually makes you look worse. Fun times!
Anyway, my favorite routine (out of the 10 or so combo's I tried, with some of the most recommended products) was this:
First two weeks:
-EVERY OTHER DAY:
AT NIGHT: Start with clean/DRY SKIN (you want a normal PH balance) and apply a thin layer (pea sized amount) Skin Laundry Retinol 0.02%. Next, add a layer of Ling Dual Moisture Emulsion (you will love this super, hydrating serum!!). Followed by a healthy layer of my new favorite moisturizer IS Clinical moisturizing complex. I am literally the driest person ever and this product blew my mind. I don't know how I ever lived without it. Lastly, eye cream. Right now I am using Khiels.
- IN BETWEEN DAYS: Skip the Retinol and apply your first serum to a wet face.
After the first two weeks, I stepped up my game and replaced the Skin Laundry 0.02% Rentinol with Skin Ceuticals 0.05%, which sounds ridiculous, but trust me... it's a big step and just like that you are a monster again. To help ease the pain you can mix the Retinol with the Lotion before applying.
To appear somewhat presentable during all of this you need to use products to exfoliate the dead skin that the Retinol is creating, but you don't want to use anything too harsh (products with glycolic, etc.) during your adjustment period. I like using Ling Rescue Peel once or twice a week (good before you go somewhere and need to put makeup on). To use it you put a layer on your skin and rub it in circles it then grabs the dead skin, which then appears in little balls in your hand. It sounds much more disqusting than it actually is. I also used this enzyme mask, a Clarisonic once a week and I know I will get a lot of shit for this because I know it can be a bit drying, but I used the Freeman's Peel off-mask, combined with the IS Cream I was ok.
After 4 weeks of using the Skin Ceuticals (first two weeks mixing it with the SI lotion, the second applying it directly, 6 weeks of Retinol total) I am starting to see results. I am still dry, but some days my skin looks super tight and glowy... almost glass like. Basically it really sucked but I pushed through and so far it seems as though it is going to be worth it. And I was like....get involved! Xxb. P.S. Would love to hear your retinol/Retin-a stories below!
Photos by Allie Beckwith