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Can You Still Use Retinol in Summer?

Here’s What You Need to Know

Retinol is a powerhouse in the skincare world, known for its ability to tackle wrinkles, fine lines, and acne while promoting cell turnover for a brighter, smoother complexion. However, with the summer months comes an increase in sun exposure, raising the question: can you still use retinol in the summer? The answer is yes, but with a few precautions to ensure your skin remains healthy and protected.

Can You Use Retinol in the Summer?

Absolutely, you can use retinol in the summer. However, retinol makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays, which means you need to be extra cautious with sun exposure. The key is to balance the benefits of retinol with diligent sun protection.

Tips for Using Retinol Safely in the Summer

Before diving into deciphering labels, it’s essential to familiarise ourselves with common skincare ingredients and their benefits: (Links to recommended products also shown)

1. Apply Retinol at Night:

Retinol should always be part of your night time skincare routine. Applying it during the day can increase the risk of UV-induced skin damage and decrease its effectiveness. By using retinol at night, you give your skin time to absorb and utilise the ingredient without the interference of sunlight. Some day time moisturiser contain retinol so check the ingredients and ask your facialist if it’s ok to use during the summer months.

2. Use Sunscreen Religiously:

Sunscreen is non-negotiable when using retinol, especially in the summer. Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Apply it every morning and reapply every two hours if you’re spending extended time outdoors. Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV rays and prevents the photo-sensitivity caused by retinol. We recommend the NOON Brush and Go SPF 50 perfect for reapplying on the go and over your makeup.

3. Start Slowly:

If you’re new to retinol, start with a lower concentration (around 0.25% to 0.5%) to allow your skin to acclimate. Using it every other night initially can help minimise irritation. Once your skin builds tolerance, you can gradually increase the frequency. We recommend every 3rd night for the first 2 to 3 weeks then increasing as the week progresses. Remember Retinol is a long term investment so slow and steady!

4. Hydrate and Moisturise:

Retinol can be drying, so ensure your skincare routine includes hydrating and moisturising products. Look for a gentle, hydrating cleanser and a rich moisturiser to keep your skin balanced and prevent irritation. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides can help maintain hydration levels. Think of feeding your skin with all the goodness to prevent a retinol response. That is where your skin can shed like a snake!

5. Avoid Other Irritating Ingredients:

Steer clear of other potent actives like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), and vitamin C *(do not use both at the same time. Use your Vitamin C in the morning and Retinol in the evening) when using retinol. These ingredients can increase the likelihood of irritation and sensitivity. Instead, focus on soothing and barrier-strengthening products.

6. Monitor Your Skin:

Pay close attention to how your skin reacts. If you notice increased redness, peeling, or sensitivity, consider reducing the frequency of retinol application or switching to a lower concentration. It’s crucial to listen to your skin and adjust accordingly.

7. Protective Clothing and Accessories:

Beyond sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses can provide an additional barrier against UV rays. Opt for wide-brimmed hats and UV-protective sunglasses when spending time outdoors.

8. Stay Indoors During Peak Sun Hours:

If possible, avoid being outside during peak sun hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). This practice not only reduces the risk of sunburn and long-term damage but also complements your skincare routine by minimising sun exposure

Benefits of Using Retinol in the Summer:

While extra caution is necessary, continuing retinol use in the summer can keep your skin looking its best. Retinol helps to combat the increased oil production and potential breakouts that often come with hot, humid weather. Additionally, it aids in the continuous fight against signs of aging and uneven skin tone.

Retinol can be a part of your summer skincare regimen with the right precautions. By using it at night, applying sunscreen daily, hydrating your skin, and avoiding peak sun hours, you can enjoy the benefits of retinol without compromising your skin’s health. Remember, consistency and protection are key to achieving a radiant, youthful complexion year-round. Happy summer, and happy skincare!

If you have any questions regarding what products are suitable for your skin reach out to me on my social media channels, I am always happy to talk skincare!

Sarah McGarry, Owner of Skin Aesthetics



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