How To Safely Use Retinol in The Summer and Avoid Harming Your Skin

Many experts recommend against using retinol in the summer due to increased sensitivity to sunlight and the risk of skin irritation. However, with careful precautions and adherence to certain guidelines, it is possible to safely incorporate retinol into your summer skincare routine. Here’s how you can continue to enjoy the benefits of retinol while protecting your skin from potential harm.

  1. Ensure You Have Sunscreen Handy: Always be ready to reapply. When using retinol, choose a sunscreen with at least SPF 50. Even with sunscreen, try not to leave the house without a wide-brimmed hat if the UV index is above 6-7.
  2. Watch Out for Retinoid Dermatitis: Sunscreen itself can sometimes trigger retinoid dermatitis, especially on the neck, often due to a high alcohol content in the sunscreen or, in rare cases, niacinamide.
  3. Avoid Spraying Perfume with Alcohol: Do not spray alcohol-containing perfume on your neck in spring or summer if you apply retinol there. Instead, spray perfume on your back.
  4. Use Retinol Cautiously If You Have Type I Skin: Be extremely careful with retinol in spring or summer if you have the first phototype (very fair skin that burns easily).
  5. Be Cautious with Photosensitizing Medications: If you are taking or applying medications that increase photosensitivity, you must stop using retinol. This exclusion does not apply if topical retinoids are part of a prescribed treatment plan approved by your doctor.

If you use this kind of medications in the summer, you should temporarily stop using not only retinol but also all acids except PHA. This is especially important for glycolic acid and even natural cosmetics preserved with citric acid.

  1. Verify Your Medications: If you regularly use other medications, check to ensure they do not increase skin photosensitivity.
  2. Discontinue Retinol Before Light-Based Procedures: Stop using retinol at least 3 weeks before any broadband light (BBL and IPL) treatments on the same area. Stop at least 1 month before any focused light treatments (such as laser procedures, tattoo removal, and laser hair removal).

Enjoy retinol all year round!


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