It’s time your bedtime skincare routine got an upgrade.
An upgrade that involves retinol and all the steps around it that optimizes retinol’s skin-transforming effects.
A skincare product’s performance depends greatly on how you use it and what you do before applying it. As awesome as retinol is at addressing skin concerns like acne, fine lines, and pigmentation, it still needs to be used correctly in order for it to be effective.
Below, you’ll discover how to enhance retinol’s effects with just a few bedtime skincare routine alterations and additions.
Beauty sleep is a real phenomenon. By practicing good skincare habits every evening, you can capitalize on beauty sleeps’ powers.
“Your skin is in repair mode every night,” says board-certified dermatologist Deirdre Hooper, MD. “Unlike the day, you’re not sweating off what’s on your skin, so products can be nicely absorbed.”
Dermatologists also advise against using retinol in the daytime because it makes the skin more sensitive to UV rays.
By committing a few spare minutes every night to a dedicated nighttime skincare routine, you can wake up every morning to a healthy, youthful, glowing complexion.
Cleansing your skin every night should be just as natural as brushing your teeth. It removes the day’s grime and makeup, keeping pores clear and creating the perfect foundation to apply additional products – like retinol.
“If you use topical acne or anti-aging creams, serums or gels, washing your face before applying them will enhance their penetration and efficacy,” says Dr. Heidi Waldorf.
Starting with a squeaky-clean face can also maximize the effects of retinol serum. It won’t penetrate the skin and be absorbed as well as on dirty skin as it would on thoroughly cleansed skin.
So if you want your retinol to work twice as hard in the night, be sure to remove every scrap of dirt and grime from your face before using it. Even better, wash your skin in a retinol-formulated face wash like Truly’s Vegan Collagen Facial Cleanser.
Now you’re ready to apply retinol serum. There’s no better time to apply it than right before you go to bed. This gives it time to sink into your skin as you sleep and let it works its magic. If you’re a retinol newbie, dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall advises slowly introducing the ingredient into your nightly regimen. Start with twice a week for the first week and increase it from there.
“I would then add an extra one to two nights per week until you can tolerate it daily,” she explains.
Apply 2-3 drops of a soothing retinol like Truly’s Vegan Collagen Facial Serum and massage it into your face. The formula uses retinol, organic coconut, and plant-based collagen to hydrate, firm, and plump your skin.
You should be moisturizing daily, both morning and night – but especially at night when the skin works its hardest. Besides keeping your skin soft and hydrated, a moisturizer locks in all the goodness from your retinol serum.
“A moisturizer not only infuses your skin with hydration but also helps trap in all the products underneath it to make the ingredients even more effective,” says Dr. Shereene Idriss.
“Your skin goes into repair mode at night, working extra hard to fix damage and boost regeneration,” says dermatologist Dr Mona Gohara, MD. “So your night moisturizer should be filled with all of the things your body naturally produces and can use more of, like hyaluronic acid, lipids, and proteins.”
Try Truly’s Cream Skin Face Moisturizer to keep your skin protected and hydrated as you sleep.
The key to achieving flawless skin from retinol is to be consistent. If you’re not applying it every evening, you won’t see the kind of results you’d see on someone who does.
“Retinoids—the general term for vitamin A derivatives, like retinol and adapalene—sink into your skin to speed up cell turnover, causing your body to churn out fresher, smoother, less wrinkled skin over time,” says Dr. Gohara.
She adds that you’ll see results within four to six months of consistent use. If that means keeping a bottle of retinol serum by your bedside, go for it.
While you might need to wait half a year to see your wrinkles shrink down, there are certain immediate results you can enjoy.
“Retinoids trigger collagen production and cellular exfoliation, which means they’ll also fade dark spots, smooth scars, clear pores, prevent breakouts, and brighten skin,” she says. Sounds good to us!
Starting too strong can lead to unwanted effects.
“Retinol can be very irritating if used too frequently or if the formulation is too strong for your skin,” says New York City dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD.
She suggests starting off with a pea-sized amount of a low percentage formula from .01% to 0.03%. You can gradually work your way up as your skin adjusts to the product.
Bowe also recommends limiting skin exfoliation to twice a week to prevent further irritation.
“Exfoliating is abrasive and irritating, and you do not want to compound the skin irritation by heightening your skin’s sensitivity.”
Alternatively, add a few drops of retinol to your night moisturizer to dilute the formula and reduce the risk of irritation.
When applying a retinol-infused serum, don’t stop at your face. Your neck and décolletage are prone to showing signs of aging, so focus on them too.
“If those zones seem too sensitive for your current formula, add a squirt of ceramide-enriched moisturizer before smoothing it on, or pick up a separate retinoid made specifically for the area in question,” says Bowe. “They typically contain a lower dose of vitamin A, zero fragrance, and loads of soothers.”
With just a few additions and adjustments to your nighttime skincare routine, you can really amp up the effectiveness of retinol. And believe us, you really don’t want to miss out on all those increeeedible retinol benefits.