In accordance with board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, these dangers are highest throughout the first two to 4 weeks of use, because the pores and skin adjusts to the highly effective ingredient. However even after the pores and skin acclimates, there’s nonetheless the potential for irritation and different uncomfortable side effects—even after two to 6 months, when customers sometimes begin seeing seen outcomes, the dangers proceed to loom giant.
Whereas a rocky first month of use is par for the course, any uncomfortable side effects or irritation after that interval have a tendency to come back as the results of modifications in pores and skin well being or skin-care routine—maybe you’re utilizing an excessive amount of retinol or over-scrubbing your face, or perhaps your pores and skin barrier’s been compromised by ultra-cold climate. In different phrases, as soon as your pores and skin has had the time to acclimate to retinol, any lingering uncomfortable side effects are seemingly the results of exterior sources.
And, in keeping with each Dr. Zeichner and board-certified dermatologist Ranella Hirsch, MD, there’s one sneaky mistake they’re seeing an increasing number of with regards to retinol irritation. Enter slugging.
For the uninitiated, slugging refers to a skin-care method during which moisture and hydration are locked into the pores and skin by way of a heavy occlusive (like petroleum jelly) that is utilized because the final step in a nighttime skin-care routine. This boosts water retention, restores the pores and skin barrier, and leaves pores and skin trying plump and supple. The phenomenon went viral on #beautytok a number of years in the past, and has since spawned a completely new skin-care class.
Whereas it solely not too long ago reached virality on-line, slugging is nothing new: In actual fact, it’s been in follow for the reason that fifteenth century, and has been a mainstay in Okay-Magnificence for many years. Dermatologists have lengthy thought-about it an efficient technique to restore the pores and skin barrier and supply deep hydration, particularly for dry pores and skin.
Given retinol’s tendency to go away pores and skin dry and flakey, many have turned to slugging to fight that irritation and enhance barrier perform. Whereas, in principle, this logic appears sound, it ignores some main crimson flags—and might finally make issues worse in your pores and skin as a substitute of higher.
How does slugging have an effect on retinol?
It’s vital to do not forget that slugging doesn’t lock solely moisture and hydration into the pores and skin; it additionally enhances penetration and boosts the efficiency of any merchandise layered beneath that thick occlusive layer, Dr. Hirsch explains. And that’s not all the time a great factor, particularly with regards to the already-omnipotent retinol.
In actual fact, slugging over retinol typically yields the precise reverse of the supposed results. As an alternative of strengthening the barrier and giving pores and skin a lift of hydration, retinol’s results—and uncomfortable side effects—grow to be even stronger when sealed with a heavy occlusive, practically guaranteeing irritation and dryness.
“Sealing retinol in with an occlusive is irritating to many—even those that can tolerate a retinol when used correctly,” Dr. Hirsch says. “I virtually by no means have sufferers do that. It’s tremendous imprecise, not with out threat, and provides restricted advantages, if any.”
And Dr. Zeichner agrees: “Within the case of retinol, layering petroleum jelly on prime of it boosts efficiency, but it surely additionally boosts potential irritation on the similar time. It’s typically not one thing I like to recommend doing. As an alternative, I like to recommend combining retinol with a moisturizer to take care of pores and skin hydration and reduce potential irritation.” That’s to not say you may’t slug on nights if you aren’t utilizing retinol—actually, it may be an effective way to fight a few of retinol’s extra finicky results. However for the sake of your pores and skin, maintain retinol and people heavy occlusives separate.