The “Retinol Sandwich” Method Is Your Ticket To A Drama-Free Glow

Robert Hundley

Retinol generally seems like a great strategy right until it turns your experience into a flaky, dry desert. Though the pores and skin care component is esteemed for its long listing of gains, it is also typically notoriously tough to include into a natural beauty routine, primarily if you have delicate pores and skin. But if you “sandwich” the retinol amongst two moisturizers, it might be a smoother system.

Acknowledged as the retinol sandwich approach, this trick combines the electricity of retinol with the nourishing houses of a moisturizer. The latter item performs to offset the irritation and other skin reactions that can take place when you first begin to use a retinol.

Why is these types of a renowned ingredient so problematic, you talk to? It’s a vitamin A derivative which is included to lotions and serums to aid regulate skin cell turnover, describes Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., FAAD, a board-qualified skin doctor and clinical assistant professor at Cornell. This helps avert clogged pores and pimples, she tells Bustle, and it also will work to increase collagen to enhance the visual appearance of your skin’s texture. When made use of on a standard basis, retinol can rework a dull complexion into the glowy pores and skin of your dreams. But there’s surely an adjustment interval.

Even when you follow the directions, it’s tremendous common for retinol to result in skin dryness, peeling, redness, and discomfort, suggests Dr. Brendan Camp, M.D., FAAD, a board-certified skin doctor with MDCS Dermatology in Manhattan. “This sort of response is in some cases referred to as retinol dermatitis,” he tells Bustle. “Retinol dermatitis happens since of injury or discomfort to the skin barrier.”

Though they can occur to anybody, retinol’s harsh side results are much more most likely to crop up if you have sensitive skin or are vulnerable to rosacea, Garshick claims. You can wait around a few months to see if these symptoms subside on their personal as your confront adjusts, or aid things along by making an attempt out the retinol sandwich method. Here’s what to know about the expert-accredited magnificence hack.

Rewards Of The Retinol Sandwich Strategy

Think of the retinol sandwich approach as a way to strategically layer your pores and skin care products and solutions. Instead of smearing retinol immediately on to your pores and skin, the plan is to lay down a moisturizing buffer very first. “A retinol sandwich can limit the facet outcomes of retinol by creating a protective barrier in between the solution and the skin,” Camp states. Not only does the 1st layer of moisturizer supply hydration, but it also will help limit the amount of money of retinol that absorbs into your pores and skin, which in flip guards the skin barrier, he describes. Basically, it’s a way to introduce a small less products so your skin has a prospect to alter.

This process is notably valuable for people today with dry and delicate skin as it makes it less complicated to tolerate retinol, suggests Dr. Lauren Penzi, M.D., a board-licensed skin doctor with MDCS Dermatology. “The first layer of moisturizer can act as a barrier that can stop the retinol from penetrating the skin into the further dermal layer,” she tells Bustle. “Then the prime layer [of moisturizer] helps stop probable irritation these types of as dryness, itching, redness, and flaking.” And there you have it: the perfect skin care sandwich.

How To Do The Retinol Sandwich System

Action A single: Cleanse & Moisturize

Right after cleansing and comprehensively drying your experience, Penzi endorses implementing a slender layer of a standard, lightweight moisturizer like Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion or Vanicream.

Action Two: Use Retinol

Smooth on a skinny layer of retinol, avoiding your eyelids and lips. A pea-sized total is all you will need.

Phase Three: Moisturize Once again

For the 3rd layer, go for a marginally thicker cream or gel to seal in your retinol and safeguard your pores and skin barrier. Penzi suggests La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Barrier, the Laneige Drinking water Sleeping Mask, or Summer time Fridays Jet Lag Mask. And there is your sandwich.

Are There Any Downsides To The Retinol Sandwich Technique?

It’s crucial to note that implementing moisturizer alongside with your retinol can make it fewer strong, claims Dr. Kseniya Kobets, M.D. a board-accredited dermatologist and director of Beauty Dermatology at Montefiore-Einstein. But which is variety of the issue Kobets claims much less is much more when you initial start off incorporating retinol into your plan. “It’s superior to go slow and work [retinol] into your routine than owning to cease applying it completely because of to discomfort,” she tells Bustle.

It’s also probable you will not need to have the major layer of the sandwich. If it appears to be like your pores and skin is nicely hydrated immediately after you apply the retinol, Kobets implies skipping the third layer. “Over-moisturizing can surely be a issue,” she claims. “Some components in moisturizers, like dimethicone, could feel really easy, but overdoing it can clog up pores and trigger bumps like milia all around the eyes.” Customize it as you need to have — just as you would with an edible sandwich — and you’ll be nicely on your way to glowier skin.

Experiments referenced:

Becker, LC. (2014). Protection Evaluation of Dimethicone Crosspolymers as Applied in Cosmetics. Int J Toxicol. doi: 10.1177/1091581814524963.

Kafi, R. (2007). Advancement of naturally aged pores and skin with vitamin A (retinol). Arch Dermatol. 2007 May perhaps143(5):606-12. doi: 10.1001/archderm.143.5.606.

Kim, BH. (2003). The mechanism of retinol-induced irritation and its software to anti-irritant growth. Toxicol Lett. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2003.09.001.

Szymański, Ł. (2020). Retinoic Acid and Its Derivatives in Pores and skin. Cells. doi: 10.3390/cells9122660.


Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., FAAD, board-licensed dermatologist, clinical assistant professor at Cornell

Dr. Brendan Camp, M.D., FAAD, board-qualified dermatologist with MDCS Dermatology

Dr. Lauren Penzi, M.D., board-licensed dermatologist with MDCS Dermatology

Dr. Kseniya Kobets, M.D., board-accredited skin doctor, director of Cosmetic Dermatology at Montefiore-Einstein State-of-the-art Care

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