What Is The Retinol Sandwich Method?
It’s relatively straightforward, you apply a thin layer of moisturiser, then your retinol, followed by another coat of moisturiser. Retinol (and any form of vitamin A) has a reputation for causing irritation and the theory of this method is that ‘sandwiching’ your retinol in between two moisturisers should minimise any potential irritation or dryness. The retinol sandwich method is a spin-off of the moisture sandwiching trend that went viral a couple of years ago. Moisture sandwiching is all about layering your serum and cream onto damp skin to trap the water and keep hydration levels high.
The Pros and Cons Of The Retinol Sandwich Method
The majority of TikTok videos are pro this skincare trend, but what do the experts say? “The “retinol sandwich” method does protect against potential irritation caused by applying retinol to the skin,” says Dr Phillips. “Applying retinol over moisturiser can help prevent dryness, itching, redness, and flaking.”
While the method clearly has its benefits if you’re new to retinol or have sensitive skin, if you’ve used vitamin A before you might want to give this one a miss. “Overall, retinol sandwiching is very safe, the only potential side effect is reduced efficacy of retinol,” Dr Phillips tells us. “Moisturisers contain occlusives, which are great for locking in moisture, but they may also block the penetration of the retinoid and could make the product less effective.”
What Are The Best Products For The Retinol Sandwich Method?
If you want to put retinol sandwiching to the test, opt for a lightweight moisturiser such as Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Gel Crème Calmant à l'Herbe du Tigre, 32,00 £, Augustinus Bader La crème légère, 135,00 £ or Charlotte Tilbury Crème magique légère, 26,00 £. Whether you’re planning to sandwich your retinol or not, if you haven’t used a vitamin A product before you should start with a lower percentage – we recommend Medik8 Sérum de nuit rétinal stable Crystal Retinal 1, 45,00 £ which contains 0.01% retinaldehyde. If you’re on a budget, look to The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid in Squalane formulas.
Final Word On The Retinol Sandwich Method
“This method can act as a baby-step into using retinol in your routine, but it is not a necessary step,” concludes Dr Phillips. “I always recommend introducing retinol slowly – start with 1-2 nights per week to gradually build up your skin’s tolerance, and always follow the next morning with an SPF30.”
Retinol is often referred to as a skincare powerhouse and when used correctly it can help boost plumpness and smooth fine lines. It’s a confusing ingredient to get your head around though. ‘Retinol’ is the most commonly used term for vitamin A products, but there are retinoids, retinaldehyde, retinoic acid et cetera. In you’re not sure where to start, head over to our guide on What Is Retinol and read our edit to find the Best Retinol Serum For Every Skin Type.
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