Winter is a great time for Chicago women to try adding a retinol anti-aging skincare product to their routine. The reason for this is that retinol can increase skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Since Chicagoans see much less sunlight during the winter months, adding a retinol can be easier this time of year. However, sunscreen should always be used when adding a retinol, regardless of the weather.
What is retinol and why should you add it to your anti-aging skincare routine? Keeping it simple, retinol is basically a vitamin A derivative. It helps diminish dark spots and wrinkles, effectively exfoliates the skin allowing healthy baby cells to come forth, and it’s a potent antioxidant–fighting off those nasty free radicals that can break down collagen. However, in order for retinol to work its magic, it has to be at a high enough percentage–most dermatologists recommend at least 1%.
So, why purchase an over-the-counter product instead of just going to the dermatologist? The answer is to go ahead with the prescription if your skin and your pocketbook can stand it. While prescriptions are stronger and work faster than an OTC product, they also come with more side effects and a much heftier price tag to boot. Such side effects can include redness, dryness, itching, and peeling skin. OTC retinol products are not as strong, so results will take longer to see. Count on at least 12 weeks of use. However, they are also more gentle on the skin and do not cause as many issues for most users. Therefore, many women prefer the more gentle approach–and their skin and wallets thank them.
A few retinol products that have received favorable reviews on Sephora.com are Peter Thomas Roth’s Retinol Fusion PM, Philosophy’s Miracle Worker Retinol Pads, and the new Glow Ruby Laser Technology Kit by Dr. Brandt.. All of these products can help skin to become more radiant and assist in diminishing the appearance of fine lines and age spots. Yet, there are plenty of drugstore brands to try as well, just remember to look for a product with more than 1% retinol and you should be glowing in no time!
A few important considerations:
- Skip retinols all together if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- If you use alpha hydroxy products, use your AHA in the morning and your retinol at night as layering can reduce the effectiveness of each ingredient.
- Don’t use a retinol for several days before waxing as you risk excessive redness and irritation
- If you’re extra sensitive, you might find that any amount of retinol causes irritation. In this case, gently exfoliating twice a week with an enzyme mask can keep your skin healthy and glowing.