how to treat retinol burn

How to Treat a Retinol Burn – 11 Best Practices

In many cases, retinol can give you smoother, healthier-looking skin. However, before achieving this result, many people go through a difficult period where the product causes redness, pain, irritation, peeling, and even cracks in the skin. This effect is sometimes called Retinol Burn. This transition period usually ends after 4-6 weeks, but in the meantime, you can relieve symptoms with things like ice and aloe vera, change the way you use retinol, and take care of your skin. In case of a potential allergic reaction or severe burn, seek immediate medical attention.

Treat painful symptoms

Apply ice.

Put it on inflamed areas to reduce pain temporarily. Wrap a large bag of ice cubes or an ice pack in a soft, clean kitchen towel and place the compress on your skin for up to 15 minutes per hour. The cold will provide temporary pain relief, but will not treat redness or flaking. Don’t put an ice bag, ice cube, or ice pack directly on your skin, as you may cause further damage or even frostbite. Also, if it’s already peeling, it’s possible that ice will stick to it and tear it when you try to remove it.

Use a soothing product.

Apply aloe vera or hydrocortisone to dry or scaly areas. Try putting small dots of pure aloe vera gel on these parts as often as needed throughout the day. If that doesn’t work, you can try 1% hydrocortisone gel available without a prescription. Follow the instructions for application and frequency in the leaflet or consult your doctor on how to use it. Hydrocortisone can help soothe your skin’s inflammatory reaction to retinol. The latter activates the same receptor as capsaicin, a molecule that makes peppers hot.

Get your cracked skin healed.

In most cases, retinol burn causes irritation, redness, dryness and/or flaking. If your skin is so dry and irritated that it cracks and oozes or bleeds, stop using the product and call your GP or dermatologist. Do the same for moderate to severe pain. Your doctor may advise you to use a product that is less concentrated in retinol and/or to apply it less often. For some people with sensitive skin, this product is simply not a good choice.

Treat an allergy.

If you have symptoms, go to the doctor. Although rare, allergic reactions to retinol can be very serious. If you have pimples or swelling in the area where you applied the product, stop using it and contact your doctor as soon as possible, especially if these signs appear quickly. If you have trouble swallowing or breathing, call emergency services right away. If you’ve ever had to deal with allergies, take the usual steps that tend to work for you, like applying hydrocortisone or taking antihistamines. If you have an adrenaline auto-injector for severe allergic reactions, use it as needed and call 911. If you have a mild allergic reaction, you can try taking diphenhydramine right away.

Change the way you use retinol

Try an over-the-counter product.

There are many retinol treatments available with or without a prescription. Those that are available over the counter are generally less concentrated than those that must be prescribed. If you started with a product that was prescribed to you and had a lot of problems, ask your doctor if you can try a less concentrated formula. Even if you started with an over-the-counter product, you may be able to find one with a lower concentration. Ask your doctor or dermatologist for advice.

Reduce the frequency of application.

Use retinol only twice a week and gradually increase the frequency. If you started out applying it once a day or every other day, try doing it only twice or even once a week. Gradually increase the frequency as your skin gets used to the product. Try the following program. Apply retinol twice a week (one application each time) for 2 weeks. Apply it three times a week for the next 2 weeks. Continue adding one additional application per week after each 2-week interval. If necessary, slow down the process even more so that you add an additional application per week every 4 weeks.

Apply retinol at night.

Put a small amount on your clean and completely dry skin. Retinol goes a long way. A dot the size of a pea is enough for your entire face. Unless your GP or dermatologist gives you other advice, try the following. Wash the area to be treated (usually the face) about 40 to 60 minutes before going to bed and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Pat it gently with a soft towel and let it air dry for 20 minutes. Distribute a small amount of the treatment on your fingertips and spread it over the skin to be treated, massaging it gently. Let it dry for about twenty minutes before going to bed.

Tip: Always apply topical retinol at night, as sunlight can reduce its effectiveness.

Apply moisturizing lotion.

Choose a simple, milder product and apply it before or after the retinol. There are different opinions on the best way to use the lotion in combination with retinol. Experts agree, however, that if you use it, you should choose a simple and gentle formula without perfume or other unnecessary ingredients. Consult your dermatologist or doctor to determine the best way to combine it with your treatment. Some specialists advise against using moisturizer at the same time as retinol, but most recommend its use and recommend one of the following methods. Apply retinol, let it dry and then apply moisturizer. Apply retinol right after the lotion. Put on some lotion, let it dry, and apply the retinol. Apply the lotion right after the retinol.

Improving Your Skincare Regimen

Use a mild cleanser.

If you put retinol on your face, wash it off with a mild face wash twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening before applying the treatment. The more gently you cleanse your skin, the less retinol is likely to irritate it. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a special cleanser.

Avoid abrasive products.

Stop using scrubs, exfoliating items, and masks. Even if you used it regularly before, stop using it right away. Remember to treat your skin as gently as possible while applying retinol. Once your skin gets used to retinol (which usually takes about 4-6 weeks), you may be able to start using these products again, but your treatment will probably produce such good results that you won’t. no need. Also avoid harsh soaps, detergents and cosmetics while waiting for the burned area to heal.

Protect yourself from the sun.

Put on gentle but effective sunscreen every time you go out. Retinol makes the skin much more sensitive to the sun and it is essential to put on sunscreen, even when it is cloudy. As with the moisturizing lotion, choose a formula that is gentle, simple and does not contain unnecessary ingredients. Ask your GP or dermatologist for advice. Even when wearing sunscreen, it is advisable to limit your sun exposure, especially around noon, at least for the first 4-6 weeks of treatment.

Despite the unproven claims you can read online, drinking a lot doesn’t miraculously cure dry skin. However, it is important to drink plenty of water every day to keep your whole body (including your skin) well hydrated. Everyone’s needs vary depending on many factors, but if you’re often thirsty, you’re not drinking enough. The general rule of drinking eight glasses or 2 liters of water a day no longer has any scientific basis. If you want to set a daily goal, consult your doctor to determine a volume based on your specific needs. Try drinking half a glass or a glass of water when you get up and go to bed and before each meal. Also, drink a little water during the day before you feel thirsty.


This article contains medical information or advice that may affect your health. wikiHow strives to provide content that is as accurate as possible, but can in no way be held responsible for the result of the application (non-exhaustive list) of the treatments, techniques, drugs, dosages and/or methods proposed in this document. . The user assumes full responsibility. If symptoms persist for more than a few days, see a healthcare professional. He alone is able to provide you with medical advice, whatever your condition. If it is a young child, consult a pediatrician without delay.

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Josh Morgan

Josh Morgan is CouponAnnie's Contributing Writer. He lives life on the cheap, but that doesn't mean a boring existence. Josh loves helping people focus on frugality without giving up the things they enjoy. When he's not getting deals, he's probably drawing or writing something amazing.