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Post in Acne-Prone Skin
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Best Retinol Products for mild Adult Acne?

Recently I’ve heard amazing things about adding both Retinol-based products and high quality sunscreen to your routine. I’ve invested in both Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 as well as the Dr Dennis Gross Retinol + Ferulic Texture Renewal Serum in hopes that it’ll help me attain more smooth skin / nicer complexion. I already use various products like Omorovicza Refining Facial Polisher twice a week, Belif Toner, Eye Cream and Moisturizer, along with a few other products to help reduce my adult acne as a mid 20s man, but I’m hoping to find the right products and routine to keep it under control without having to resort to medicated creams. Any Retinol-based and/or products in general that you recommend for combination skin prone to mild acne would be much appreciated. Price isn’t really a concern so please feel free to suggest anything. Thank you in advance!  

Re: Best Retinol Products for mild Adult Acne?

I know that you said you don't want medicated creams, but over-the-counter retinol is 20% less effective. And sometimes way more expensive. I think it's totally fine to start out with an over-the-counter and move to a prescription-strength or alternate them nightly. I am in my early 20s and have been using retinol (tretinoin) for over ten years (I had acne as a tween). It keeps my skin clear and evens out the tone. I don't find it harsh, but I have been on it a long time. If you start with over-the-counter retinol and it's fine, I would suggest going up to a prescription. If not, try buffering the retinol. I buffer my neck with a hydrating serum (Aveeno Calm and Restore or Estee Lauder ANR). I exfoliate 2-3 times a week with (Paula's Choice) glycolic acid and retinol (I don't have issues with using both), and it rid my skin of any hyperpigmentation. For hyperpigmentation/clearer skin you might like using azelaic acid. I find using it with retinol helps a lot. I think the max strength you can get over the counter is 10%. I use 15% and it does take a while to see results but it has helped a lot for me as niacinamide does not work with my skin well. Paula's Choice, Natrium, and The Ordinary sell it. 

 

I will not say too much about SPF since you seem to have one and use it regularly. However, I do find SuperGoop chemical sunscreens to be irritating to the eyes. If you do, at some point, use a retinol eye cream, make sure to put sunscreen around your eyes, and wear sunglasses. I prefer mineral-based sunscreens because they don't burn my eyes. SuperGoop has a good one called Sheer Screen that I like and does not have any weird smell. My top choices, though, are Colorescience Total Protection Face Shield and Australian Gold Botanicals tinted sunscreen. I prefer the latter because it's a matte finish, while the former is more natural. I also carry Tarte Sea Set and Protect SPF 30 powder in my bag in case I forget to bring my sunscreen with me (I use this over my primary sunscreen or to reapply over makeup). SuperGoop also makes one. 

 

Also, since you use sunscreen, make sure to double cleanse. I like the Then I Met You Living Cleansing balm, but Belief also has a good one called AquaBomb that I have tried. I swear it will help with any bacteria from clogged pores and remove your sunscreen. Just cleansing does not really take off the sunscreen. Even though cleansing balms and oils market themselves as a makeup remover, they're critical to getting sunscreen off at night before putting on night products. You could use micellar water if you prefer it, but I find them to be harsher on the skin because of the need to use cotton pads. It feels a lot more wasteful too because it usually takes 2-3 pads to get off the sunscreen if I cleanse with micellar water before my actual cleanser. Cleansing balm you can use a lot less of and it is more of an enjoyable process. The Belief one is good especially if you do like their other products, but I prefer the Then I Met You balm just because of the smell and the texture (it's thicker). To use a balm apply it to your skin when it's dry then rinse off and cleanse with your normal cleanser. 

Re: Best Retinol Products for mild Adult Acne?

@Johnny9506  I use the supergoop sunscreen and love it as well. I know tower 28 is launching what I believe is a new sunscreen tomorrow and I haven’t tried any products from them I haven’t liked. I haven’t tried the DDG retinol but all his products I have tried are good. Hopefully you love them. Sounds like you have started on a good path!

Re: Best Retinol Products for mild Adult Acne?

Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll have to keep an eye out for Tower 28 having never heard of it before. DDG Retinol Eye cream was a solid product for me, but having next to no wrinkles or crows feet, I felt like it wasn’t worth the price. If you haven’t tried any Belif products yet I highly recommend. Fairly priced Korean-based brand that I’ve fallen in love with. Their Eye Cream / Dive into Hydration package with the travel size toner, moisturizer and cleanser was money well spent to say the least. I’ll report back on the DDG Face Retinol and hope for results similar to the pictures. Love this community! 

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