Retinols, AHA’s, Antioxidants… Brain.Exploding.Now.

My skincare regime is always a work in progress.  Being the type of person I am, I rarely stick with one product – even if it’s working (which is kind of stupid, yes, but – there it is).  There’s just always something new to try, and my easily bored ways mean that I’m always drawn in by the latest and greatest.  However, there is a central idea to my madness, which is to say, there are certain types of products that I want to be sure to incorporate into my daily routine.  The biggest one that I’d like to pull into the fold are retinoids, a form of Vitamin A.  I have yet to dabble in the world of this heavy-hitting product (which has many types, including Retinol, retinaldehyde, adapalene, tretinoin, isotretinoin, and tazarotene – Skinacea has a great chart to explain them here). Retinoids are favored even over many of the more new-fangled (<– awesome old-person word) products of the day, because of their ability to multi-task: as they promote cell and collagen production, they diminish the look of lines and wrinkles and help improve the texture and clarity of the skin, while also helping to treat acne and clear blocked pores.  On top of that, retinoids help repair damage through their antioxidant component. Sa-weet!  Sign me up 🙂I’m not going to get too technical here because I’m not a dermatologist and I don’t know the science behind it all (though my pic above makes me look awfully smart!).  But I’ve been doing some research for my own cause, and I thought I’d share what I’ve learned with you!  Using retinoids isn’t a totally no-brainer situation.  There is a method to the madness that should be followed in order for you to get the maximum benefit from your products, as well as not causing unnecessary irritation to the skin.  Because my skin is so sensitive, this was a must for me to decipher.If any of you are like me, you use a multitude of treatment products in order to achieve the best skin you can.  I particularly try to ensure that I’m using something with antioxidants in it, as well as a chemical exfoliant of some kind (as I can’t use manual scrubs since they rough up my skin too much).  Here’s the lowdown on how to proceed with some of these products while still using retinoids safely and effectively:

Do not apply retinoid in the morning, as the sun will deactivate the product and cause the skin to be more susceptible to UV rays.

Do not apply glycolic acid/lactic acid (AHA’s) at the same time as retinoid product as they will cancel each other out (and cause some mega-irritation I would think!).

– Apply retinoids at night to bare skin, waiting 20 minutes after washing face (*If you experience too much sensitivity, you can apply a buffer moisturizer an hour before using the retinoid).

– Begin using retinoids over time; start by applying them once every three days for the first one or two weeks. After your skin adjusts to the product (or if you experience no irritation at all), bump it up to once every two nights for another few weeks. Then, use it every other night for another week and gradually graduate to using it nightly.

– Wait an hour after application, then use an anti-inflammatory moisturizer on top to prevent redness and flaking.

I have yet to incorporate a retinoid into my regime, but plan on picking one up within the next few months (likely one of the ones I’m showcasing here – perhaps right around my 30th birthday???) and slowly introducing it into my system over time .  Right now I’m using an AHA cream, which also helps to diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles, and helps exfoliate the skin – I apply it about every third evening just to keep my skin smooth as I’m not using much else in the way of exfoliation.  I probably won’t use both a retinoid and an AHA product at the same time; I’m sure it’s possible for some, but with my tempermental skin I’m not going to chance it!

Just to give you an idea, here’s what my ideal skincare regime will look like:

Gentle cleanser
Antioxidant serum
Moisturizer w/SPF (Winter) / SPF (Summer)
Eye cream with SPF

Oil-based makeup remover (Summer or for heavy makeup days)
Purifying cleanser
Retinoid serum
Eye cream

Nothing fancy by any means but I think it covers the bases fairly well – I think the simpler the better, to avoid irritating my skin (which can actually cause you to age faster).I hope this post was at least a bit helpful!  I’m confident that most of you already know what you’re doing with regards to skincare, but it can get a bit convoluted when you start to introduce more advanced products into the fray.  I’m looking forward to getting this down pat and hopefully seeing some results – not that I have a ton of visible aging yet, but I want to keep it that way!  And as much as I like trying new things, I want to find a solid regime that helps minimize any surprize rashes or breakouts, and have my skin calm down for a long stretch of time (which seems to have been AGES ago).

Do you use retinoids in your skincare?  What’s your current regime?  What products do you buy over and over (if any)? 

Last chance!  Enter my giveaway tonight by 11:59pm AST!!

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  1. #1 by judit1661 on March 26, 2012 - 9:58 pm

    Take it from someone almost 60 years old, the BEST thing for your skin is SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN, and more SUNSCREEN! Don’t forget your neck and back of hands. For someone not yet 30, you seem to have it down. Your ideal plan looks good. When you are 40 I would start incorporating vitamin C. By time you are 40, I’m sure there will be a magic cream developed. I wish I would have used sunscreen when I was 30 like I do now. :((

    • #2 by Latoya on April 2, 2012 - 7:29 pm

      I completely agree Judi, sunscreen is where it’s at! I’ve been dedicated to wearing sunscreen since I was a young teenager, but just recently I’ve been doing research on the combination of sunscreen ingredients and which work and which don’t, which is sort of scary b/c I think I’ve had faulty products in the past!! But, I hope it didn’t do too much damage! That’s a great tip about the Vitamin C, thanks for the info! I guess it probably helps to build collagen and brighten the skin right? Fingers crossed that there IS a magic cream when I’m 40!!!

  2. #3 by Loodie on March 26, 2012 - 11:08 pm

    Retinoids are the best roids ever! I’m all about Retin-A, as strong as they can make it. It makes skin truly amazing and is worth every penny. I find the prescription strength stuff better than most over the counter formulations.

    • #4 by Latoya on April 2, 2012 - 7:30 pm

      LOL! I bet your skin looks damn fine Anna! If I thought my skin could tolerate it, I’d be all over the ‘hard’ stuff, but I’m going to have to ease my way in and see how much it can take. Let’s hope I can work my way up to where you’re at! 😀

  3. #5 by Larie on March 27, 2012 - 11:59 am

    Oh my god, this post has scared me, lol. As a chemist, I…guess I should be able to understand all this science-y talk, and I suppose I would if I actually put some thought into it, but I DON’T WANT TO LOOK AT MOLECULES AFTER I LEAVE WORK. Hahaha. You know??? Although it does make me roll my eyes when I go to counters and the SA is like “oh this has magical mushroom extract in it which reacts with your skin through some chemical blah blah and it’ll make you look 50 years younger.” Which at thispoint would make me negative twenty some odd years.

    Okay. Rant over. I appreciate this post! I will come back to it and give it a more thorough, science-y read when I feel the need to incorporate these things into my skincare routine. Should that be soon? Oh god,I have no idea and now I feel old and stupid.

    • #6 by Latoya on April 2, 2012 - 7:34 pm

      HAHAHA I totally get where you’re coming from Larie – please, relax your intelligent brain when coming to this blog, and don’t listen to my rambles…I’m mostly just talking out loud LOL!

      I myself need to read over this information several times, as it IS a lot to take in, there’s so much to remember! I don’t really know at what point anyone should incorporate serious anti-aging products; From what I can tell, you don’t need much of anything! I’d say whenever you start to worry about aging maybe? LOL I don’t have serious concerns yet but I really want to make sure I keep the youthful look for as long as I can, so I guess you could say anti-aging is on my mind.

  4. #7 by Eugenia on March 27, 2012 - 5:53 pm

    I sure wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self how to best take care of my skin, but since that’s not going to happen any time soon, the next best thing is how to proceed from this point on. While I’m way more vigilant now, I can always use some more information on what else I can incorporate into my skincare regimen, and I’ll have to re-read this highly informative post of yours a few times to really let it sink in. I don’t use any cream with retinoids at the moment, although I think it’s high time I started! Thanks for all your hard work here, Toya!

    • #8 by Latoya on April 2, 2012 - 7:36 pm

      You’re most welcome Eugenia!! I realized that I spend a lot of time doing research on this kind of stuff and that maybe I should be sharing it! I agree that the best thing you can do for your skin is treat it well, RIGHT NOW – none of us can go back in a time machine, so we have to be happy with what we’ve got and only move forward. I suspect you probably looked after your skin fairly well, more than you’re giving yourself credit for, so I wouldn’t worry too much 😀

  5. #9 by Alexis on December 12, 2014 - 4:42 pm

    I rarely stick with one product even if it’s working ? Hmmmm spoken like a true damn Gemini ! Sorry I had to say that because like I change the channel on the television even it’s something I want to watch ! Same with products !! So Gemini . We don’t want to miss out !! Ok go on . No now I’m going to read the rest of your post ! It’s just thst is so me what you said so is Gemini !

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