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Should You Moisturize After Retinol?

Should You Moisturize After Retinol? | does moisturizer come after retinol, how long should I wait to apply moisturizer after retinol, what to use after retinol

Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, is a skincare superhero known for its ability to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. It accelerates skin cell turnover, which helps shed damaged skin cells and reveal fresher, younger-looking skin. However, retinol can be quite potent and may cause dryness, redness, and peeling when first introduced into your skincare routine. This is where hydration and moisturization come into play. 

Today, we’re going to chat about what to use after retinol in your skincare routine – and why you should be doing it every single time. Let’s get started.

Does Moisturizer Come After Retinol?

Absolutely, yes! Moisturizer should be the final step in your skincare routine, especially if you are using retinols or retinoids. Here's why:

Moisturizers are formulated to hydrate and lock in moisture, creating a protective barrier on your skin's surface. This barrier not only helps to prevent moisture loss but also shields your skin from environmental stressors.

When you use retinol, your skin may experience increased sensitivity and dryness. Applying a moisturizer immediately after allows you to replenish the lost moisture and soothe any potential irritation.

How Long Should I Wait To Apply Moisturizer After Retinol?

Ideally, you should wait for your retinol product to be fully absorbed before applying moisturizer. This typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Allowing the retinol to penetrate your skin first ensures its effectiveness. Applying moisturizer too soon may dilute the retinol's potency, reducing its efficacy.

Is There Ever A Reason To Apply Moisturizer Before Retinol?

While the general rule is to apply moisturizer after retinol, there are exceptions. In some cases, you may benefit from additionally using moisturizer before applying retinol, particularly if you have sensitive skin.

If you find that using retinol alone is causing excessive dryness or irritation, a thin layer of moisturizer applied before retinol can act as a buffer. This can help minimize the side effects while still reaping the benefits of retinol. However, keep in mind that this approach may slightly reduce the effectiveness of the retinol.

Learn More: Why Does My Skin Hate Retinol? Meet the Gentle Alternative

Still Having Problems With Retinol-Related Dryness?

If you’re following all of these pointers and still having a hard time staving off the dryness and irritation that retinol and retinoid products tend to cause, you might have sensitive skin. In this case, we highly recommend a gentle, botanical, natural retinoid alternative like our Retinoid Face Serum and Retinoid Eye Cream (see the packaged duo here). We even developed a Facial Moisturizer to be used specifically with these two products to help you further reduce the likelihood of redness and irritation.

So, first and foremost, make sure you’re using these types of products in the right order. However, if you’re still having trouble with your retinol being too strong, give our Dermacosmetics line a try – we’re sure your skin will thank you.