|Photo: Brennan Vargas|
Retinol generally has a 2-3 week break in period, so when I first began using it, I was quite surprised at how well my sensitive skin reacted. I had just a little peeling, and basically no irritation or redness to speak of. Fast forward to a week ago, when I finally renewed my prescription after being off for around 6 months. One week (2 treatments) later and my skin is peeling in fine sheets all over my face, complimented by lovely red splotches from forehead to chin. Mind you, I'm using the same exact form and concentration of retinol, so what gives? Well, apparently, the weather. Blame it on El Niño, climate change, or just ol' man Winter, but it seems January is not the best time to start a course of treatment.
Skin in temperate climates naturally has less moisture in the winter time- there's simply less moisture in the air for your skin to drink in. Thing is, you may not necessarily notice this shift if you have naturally oilier skin, or if, like me, you're using skin care products that address your dryness. But add some retinol into the mix and that lack of moisture will become more than apparent. My trial-and-error advice? If you're looking to start a retinol treatment program, wait until Spring hits. The increase in humidity will boost your skin's natural defenses (more moisture in the skin=healthier skin barrier) and you'll probably see less irritation as a result.