Flaking Skin from Retinol

Hi! I have a great skin care routine that has been working extremely well for my dry skin. However, I am using retinol once a week and at times my skin is sort of flaky/peeling. I am not sure how to minimize how this looks, I have some gentle scrubs that I use but don't want to get too aggressive and irritate my face. I have to use powder foundation as opposed to liquid because powder hides it better. Now that I think about it, some weeks I use AHAs mid-week and I think I actually have less peeling then...should I make sure to always include the AHA exfoliation mid-week when I'm using retinol? Would that make that much of a difference? Would love any thoughts from the experts or others who have experienced the same. Thanks! Smiley Happy

Re: Flaking Skin from Retinol

Thanks, beautylovingirl!  There is someplace local I could get a sample from to try it out.  Smiley Happy

Re: Flaking Skin from Retinol

Your welcome sorry it took me so long to reply back. Just ask any thing,any time.

Re: Flaking Skin from Retinol

Yes! I just finished my bottle a few weeks ago. I do think the Oilless Oil provides a bit my hydration though 

Re: Flaking Skin from Retinol

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I think everyone's skin is different. I just love this stuff but if we all got the same results on every product things would be pretty boring!Smiley Wink

Re: Flaking Skin from Retinol

Oh it's a great product, like I said, I just finished my bottle, it was actually my second bottle. But I tried something else that works even better for my dry skin. 

Re: Flaking Skin from Retinol

Oh I used the SkinCeuticals 0.5 before I found the PTR retinol fusion PM (It's a serum & easier for me to apply) 

I take a break every summer from retinol because I get really sensitive to the sun from it. But I'm slowly working my way up to every other night right now. I alternate with the SkinCeuticals Retexturizing Activator. 

I actually stopped using Bare Minerals completely when I started using retinol a few years back. I found BM to be really drying and always made me look terrible. I still use powder foundations and cream to powder... just always pack on the moisturizer beforehand. 

I also keep a small tube of First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair Cream. I mainly use it on my hands or arms, but if I start to flake during the day then I pat a tiny bit onto the dry spot without disrupting my makeup. 

You're skin should balance out after a few weeks if you're adequately moisturizing your skin. Which is why most retinol products say to start 2x a week and gradually increase to nightly. This takes me about a month or two, but I'm used to exfoliation. I doubt I'm going to use it nightly now that I've been using the Retexturizing Activator. 

Re: Flaking Skin from Retinol

dannyc, I appreciate the feedback on Bare Minerals, that may be part of my problem. Also nice to know my skin will balance out in a couple of weeks, not sure I could deal with this every day!  Smiley Happy  I used AHAs last night, scrubbed this morning and put on two layers of moisturizer before starting my makeup.  LOL  So worth it though if it means it's working.


Re: Flaking Skin from Retinol

Hm, I tend to be on the dry side of combo & love exfoliation. But I've been exfoliating for a while and build my skin up to it. Are you using prescription Retinol, or something from a beauty counter? 

I find the AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel works well for me in the morning to help eat away at dead skin cells. 



I also increase my moisturization while using retinol. I recently got the PTR oilless oil and pat a drop on my dry areas or mix a drop with my moisturizer. 




You can also try using a hydrating mask like OH Blue/Black



Re: Flaking Skin from Retinol

What retinol based product are you using, as well as what AHA product are you using mid-week?


When and how often do you apply the retinol in a day (just at AM, just at PM, twice a day, etc.)?


Give us some more info in terms of the specific products used so we can get a better idea of formulations to be sure you won't overload your skin.


What powder foundation do you use?


Though powder foundations have come a long way, if your skin tends to naturally be on the dry side plus experience peeling/flaking due to your skin care regimen, try to be sure the powder foundation being used is finely milled and as smooth as possible in texture to prevent it from emphasizing issues further. You might look into hydrating formulas like Smashbox's HALO Hydrating Powder (which has encapsulated water molecules along with a long slew of nourishing vitamins, minerals, and amino acids), Laura Mercier's Smooth Finish Powder Foundation (which uses vitamin E and shea butter to moisturize), or even top skin off with a hydrating finishing powder that is translucent like Urban Decay's Razor Sharp (also contains encapsulated water molecules in a high definition, silica based formula that helps diffuse light over texture imperfections).


Flaking is quite common with uses of retinol or even chemical based exfoliations, after applying your moisturizer before make up, use a silicone/dimethicone based primer to smooth over skin and form a "cushioned" barrier over your skin's texture and make up to prevent it from caking, settling, and drawing the issues more to light. The S/D based primers have a silky, slippery texture and is also helpful if skin gets wind or sun chapped and needs some "protection". Try Hourglass' No. 28 Serum Primer (super lush and fortified with nourishing ingredients), Too Faced's Primed & Poreless (pink tube), Smashbox's Photo Finish primers (they also have a hydrating formula which is blue to impart more moisture to skin), or Benefit's Porefessional.


Re: Flaking Skin from Retinol

totally unrelated: 

i saw your avatar and i was all HOLY CRAP I LOVE YOUR HAIR. and then i saw your name. and realized that was jennifer garner in a wig. haha. so, i guess... HOLY CRAP I LOVE YOUR AVATARS WIG! Smiley Happy

Re: Flaking Skin from Retinol

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Yes!  I second chemical exfoliation for avoiding too much scrubbing and scrub irritation.  This is what AHAs and other chemical exfoliators are good for - from Glycolic acid, to enzymes, to BHAs.


I find I flake/redness/peel/soreness&irritation incredibly from prescription retinol, even the supposedly buffered kind.  Dr. Dennis gross Alpha Beta pads help, as does a ton of moisturizer every night.


I haven't tried Retinol since getting my Clarisonic Aria, but I bet the aria will help SOME with flakes, as well.


I find Philosophy Microdelivery (it's bright pink) works really well to banish flakes for me.


Good luck!

Re: Flaking Skin from Retinol

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I realized after I reread this that the DrDG pads might be too drying for you -- if you have very dry skin to begin with.  But definitely use acid products to help take care of flakes.  Microdelivery is a good one.

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