Retinol: How to Fix Skin Irritation From Retinol

Retinol is a powerful cell-turnover agent that demands your respect. One minute it is delivering up baby soft skin, the next minute it looks like a bad sunburn. What happened? This article is about Retinol and How to Fix Skin Irritation From Retinol.

What to do about Sudden Retinol Irritation

Retinol irritation often occurs even if you apply only the directed pea-sized amount. Irritation occurs even faster when more than the prescribed dose is applied.


When first beginning retinol, skin likely has a good layer of dead skin to slough. When it sloughs away, beautiful young baby soft skin underneath is revealed. But that new skin is about as sensitive as baby skin and it’s not ready to be exposed to excess retinol. When more retinol is applied, your lovely skin suddenly becomes irritated and burns.

Skin builds a small retinol tolerance after a few weeks. Skin cell turnover occurs at a slower rate. The same dosage of Retinol suddenly causes surface irritation.

LAW OF THE BEAUTY UNIVERSE: Pure Retinol must be buffered. If it is not buffered, one must take constant breaks due to irritation. When in doubt, buffer.


Apply retinol first, and a gentle cream afterward. I prefer one with few additives or chemicals like Clinique DDML or Cerave. If you are VERY sensitive, apply a heavy cream first, wait ten minutes, then apply Retinol. Buffering retinol lets skin tolerate the change in skin cell turnover rate.


Always buffer retinol and apply as sparingly as possible. Wait 30 minutes after washing before applying retinol.

Was How to Fix Skin Irritation From Retinol useful? You may also like 5 Tips for Better Retinol Application


Got a good retinol use tip? Tell us in the comments below!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Ellen Winston says:

    My skin always gets irritated by retinol

  2. Sandy Piesse says:

    I like the sandwich method.

  3. Shalanda Levy says:

    Go slow and you don’t get irritated from Retinol.

  4. Evie Cooch says:

    Retinol is the best thing to ever happen to my skin!

  5. Della says:

    I heard squalene is a good buffer for retinol

  6. Dani Dorron says:

    It really helps to have a gentle SPF.

  7. Lynette Schubbe says:

    Hi, i found this article very useful.
    It has helped me a lot.
    I and my friends Danny has been using it for years and her skin is gorgeous!

    Kiss you All!

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