How to Apply Retinol Serum Correctly for Maximum Effect

Having beautiful skin that is free from any form of blemishes is the ultimate goal of every skincare lover. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that works on the skin to rejuvenate the skin and clear off anti-aging signs such as wrinkles and aging spots. 

Retinol serum is one of the most effective topical anti-aging skincare products to ever exist. Using a retinol serum diligently in your skincare routine will help to promote cell reproduction in the skin, along with healing the skin of any damage. 

However, it is also important to learn to apply retinol serum correctly. This will assist you in getting your desired result. Also, applying retinol serum wrongly can irritate and burn your skin. Ahead is a guide to help you apply retinol serum on your skin the correct way. 

How to Apply Retinol Serum in Your Skincare Routine 

How you apply retinol serum to your skin is very important and it greatly affects the result you get from using the serum on your skin. Learning to apply the serum correctly will help you to use your retinol serum effectively to repair skin damages and clear off blemishes. 

Below is a guide to assist you in applying your retinol serum correctly.  

1. Do a Patch Test

It is always advised to run a patch test on your skin when you are trying out any new product. This is done to look out for any skin allergic reaction to the product and this will help to determine if you can continue using the product or not. 

Do your patch test on your wrist, the sensitivity of the skin that covers the wrist makes it easy for the skin to react to any product that doesn’t work well with it. 

How to do it: 

  • Start by cleaning your wrist with a gentle cleanser.
  • Rinse with cool water and dry your wrist using a clean cloth.
  • Use your dropper to squeeze out a tiny bit of the retinol serum on your inner wrist.
  • Massage the oil into your skin with your palm or fingertips.
  • Allow your skin to absorb it and leave it on your skin for few hours.

If you notice any allergic reaction or irritation on your skin such as; hives; rashes; and swelling, do not go on to use retinol serum on other parts of your skin. You should also contact your dermatologist on other possible ways to use retinol in your skincare routine.

You can continue to the next step if you are not allergic or sensitive to the retinol serum.

2. Cleanse Your Skin

It is in no way cool to apply your skincare products on unclean skin. Therefore, you have to clean your skin with a gentle cleanser or soap before you begin to apply your products to your skin. 

Do this by sprinkling clean water on your skin, and then take out an adequate amount of cleanser and massage your skin with it. Massage the cleanser into the skin for about 30 seconds to one minute and proceed to rinse it off with cool clean water. 

To avoid irritating your skin, ensure that you use a cleanser that works for your skin. Do not use a cleanser that contains ingredients that may irritate your skin. 

3. Use Your Toner

After washing your skin, you want to clean it with a dry clean towel. Use your towel or any clean cloth to dry the water on your skin. You can now apply your toner to your skin and wait for a few minutes to allow your skin to absorb the toner.

Applying your toner before the serum is important as it not only helps to prepare your skin for the application of your serum, it also helps to keep your skin refreshed throughout the process. 

Before you proceed to the next step, ensure that your skin is completely dry. Applying retinol serum on wet skin will allow the serum to penetrate deep into the skin layer and that can trigger the skin to react with irritation.

SEE: Does Retinol Work? Learn the Facts 

4. Apply Your Retinol Serum

As a first-time user of retinol serum, don’t start by too much of it on your skin. To avoid irritating your skin, start by applying a drop of retinol serum and then gradually increase the number of drops to two and then to three. 

However, do not apply more than three drops of serum to your skin. To apply retinol serum on your skin, follow the steps below. 

How to do it:

  • Use your dropper to squeeze out a drop or two of your retinol serum into your palm.
  • You can use your palm or fingertips to apply the retinol serum to your face. 
  • Massage the serum on your skin by rubbing in a circular motion.
  • Leave your skin to absorb the serum.

5. Apply Moisturizer on Your Skin

The next step to take after applying your serum to your skin is to moisturize. After applying your serum, wait for about 10 to 15 minutes, then apply your favorite moisturizer on your skin.

Ensure that you allow your skin to absorb the retinol serum before you apply moisturizer to it.

SEE: What Is Face Serum? A Complete Guide for Skincare Beginners

6. Apply Sunscreen

Using retinol on your skin will increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. To protect your skin from sun damage, ensure that you apply a sunscreen of SPF 30 or above after moisturizing. It is important to do this if you are applying retinol serum to your skin in your morning routine. 

You can skip this step if your moisturizer contains a broad-spectrum sunscreen of 30 or higher.

How Often to Use Retinol Serum on Skin

If you are just trying out retinol serum on your skin, it is best to start by applying it to your skin once every week. This is to help build your body’s tolerance to retinol. Applying retinol on a daily basis can irritate your skin, especially if you have dry and sensitive skin. 

Upgrade your usage every month, that is, for the first month, only apply the retinol serum once a week. After the first month, you can move on to applying retinol serum to your skin twice every week. Keep upgrading till you reach the stage of applying the serum daily.

How to Tell if Retinol Serum Is Working

It is easy to tell if retinol serum is working on your skin as you will notice your skin improve over time. Comparing your skin to how it was before you started using retinol serum on your skin is a good way to tell if the serum is working for you.

Retinol helps to boost cell-reproduction and this, in turn, sloughs off dead skin cells to reveal a fresh new layer of skin making your skin look fresh and radiant. With regular use of retinol serum, your skin should look fresh and radiant too. 

If your skin becomes smooth and clear after using retinol serum, then it is working well for your skin. 

SEE: What Does Retinol Do? See the Benefits and Side Effects

Side Effects of Retinol Serum

As effective as a retinol serum is, it has side effects that may surface when it is not used correctly on the skin. Below are the most common side effects of retinol serum.

  • Peeling and redness of the skin may occur if your skin is sensitive. 
  • Retinol can cause the skin to dry out, and that is why it is important to moisturize your skin after using retinol serum.
  • Using retinol serum on your skin can cause you to have a lighter skin tone. This is due to cell turnover.
  • It increases the skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Using retinol on your skin can make your skin prone to sunburn and other damages. This can be avoided by applying sunscreen on your skin after applying retinol serum.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should you apply your retinol serum?

You can apply your retinol serum in the morning or the evening. 

If you have sensitive skin, it is best to use your retinol in your bedtime skincare routine. Also if you will be using your retinol serum in the morning, ensure that you use sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun.

What does retinol serum do for the skin?

Retinol serum helps to boost skin cell reproduction and this results in the turnover of the old skin layer to reveal a new skin layer. This as a result helps your skin to look fresh and radiant.

It also boosts collagen and elastin production in the skin and this helps to keep your skin firm and smooth.

Should you moisturize before or after applying retinol serum?

Moisturize your skin after applying your retinol serum to lock in hydration on your skin.

This will help to prevent the skin from the drying effect of retinol serum.

Conclusion

Having beautiful skin that is free from any form of blemishes is the ultimate goal of every skincare lover. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that works on the skin to rejuvenate the skin and clear off anti-aging signs such as wrinkles and aging spots. 

However, it is important to learn to apply retinol serum correctly on your skin as this will help you achieve the best possible results. Also, applying the serum wrongly can irritate your skin and lead to some side effects. 

Apply your retinol serum correctly on your skin and enjoy the incredible benefits that come as a result of it.

Thanks for reading.

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