Each retinoids and exfoliants (like AHAs and BHAs) are very potent actives—and when used incorrectly, they will trigger main injury to the pores and skin barrier. However retinoids do perform otherwise than AHAs and BHAs, as they promote quicker skin-cell turnover fairly than exfoliating off the floor layer of extra useless pores and skin cells, the latter of which may really feel extra fast and gratifying.
Due to this, many are tempted to strive each—they’re doing various things to your pores and skin, no?
We despatched the query over to derms, and, nicely, it is not that straightforward. They weigh in beneath with professional suggestions to make use of them safely.
Are you able to add an exfoliant in the event you’re already utilizing a retinoid?
Quick reply: Assuming your pores and skin has absolutely adjusted to the retinoid (no itching, peeling, or burning), you can fold in a light exfoliator. However in the event you’ve simply embarked in your retinoid journey, you would possibly need to maintain off and stick to at least one energetic as you ease into common use. “In any other case, you may even see dry, crimson, flaky, irritated pores and skin develop within the subsequent day or two,” notes board-certified dermatologist Flora Kim, M.D., FAAD.
However as an instance your pores and skin can absolutely tolerate the product, with no indicators of “retinoid response” or retinoid-induced dermatitis—on this case, you possibly can embody a delicate exfoliant in your routine, as long as your pores and skin kind can deal with it. “They’ve totally different features so each could be useful as a part of your wholesome pores and skin routine,” says Kim. You simply have to make use of them accurately.
Suggestions to make use of each.
For those who select to make use of each, here is the way to be sure to’re not compromising your pores and skin barrier:
Discover your exfoliation candy spot.
“With exfoliation, there’s such a factor as an excessive amount of,” Kim notes. “For those who use too harsh of an exfoliant and too usually, you’ll strip, irritate, and injury your pores and skin as a substitute of serving to it.”
In the end, everybody’s pores and skin is totally different, so there’s not one cut-and-dried reply to offer—however simply know that you do not need to overdo it. And once you incorporate a retinoid into the routine, you will need to be additional cautious: Since they do promote mobile turnover, you won’t be capable of get away with as a lot exfoliation as you had earlier than.
Do not layer them on the identical night time.
On the night time(s) you do exfoliate, stow the retinoid. You do not need to use an AHA or BHA product after which apply a retinoid proper after (be it prescription-strength or OTC)—not solely can it result in irritation, however the components might also inactivate one another.
“Antioxidants ought to by no means be mixed with acids or pimples therapies like benzoyl peroxide, which may make them ineffective,” board-certified dermatologist Jennifer Herrmann, M.D., tells us about layering serums. Contemplating retinoids are vitamin A derivatives, you don’t need to combine them with different harsh actives and doubtlessly mess with their efficacy.
Plus, as board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., notes, “Extra merchandise aren’t essentially higher. Mixing two doubtlessly irritating merchandise could be overly harsh on the pores and skin.”
Take nights off for restoration.
Exfoliation does supply a gratifying, highlighter-like glow, sure, however your pores and skin does not must shed pores and skin cells that persistently. In reality, your pores and skin is meant to have useless pores and skin cells—they assist lock in moisture and maintain the valuable water from seeping out. It is the buildup of these pores and skin cells that may trigger dullness, clogged pores, and the like. You do not need to slough them off time and again earlier than they’re able to go—fast glow be damned.
That mentioned, you would possibly need to take some restoration time, much more so in the event you do incorporate a retinoid and exfoliator into your routine. “It is like once you go to the fitness center, you want days to get well. The identical factor holds true for the pores and skin barrier and the microbiome,” says board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D., on the well being information podcast. “You need to use a retinol? Go for it. You need to use an AHA, like glycolic acid? Go for it, however give your self two nights off once you’re simply utilizing nourishing, hydrating components.”
For instance, she suggests prebiotics, jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and aloe on restoration nights to replenish the pores and skin barrier.
We’re all for exfoliating responsibly, whether or not you employ a retinoid or not. However in the event you do use one, you would possibly need to proceed with additional warning. It is not remarkable to make use of each (assuming your pores and skin can absolutely tolerate the retinoid), nevertheless it’s necessary to maintain your pores and skin barrier prime of thoughts.
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