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How to Manage Sensitivity from Retinal

Why adaptogens are the perfect complement to retinal. 

Vitamin A—also referred to as retinoids, retinal, and retinol—is one of those ingredients that seems like a dream come true. For starters, it’s one of few that’s clinically shown to improve the signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and sun spots. On top of that, it can help reduce congestion, unwanted skin texture, and the visible appearance of enlarged pores. All sounds amazing, right? There’s just one caveat: As Jacob Tomas dél Rosario, Youth To The People’s Director of Field Sales + Education, explains, using vitamin A can result in irritation, flakiness, and increased sensitivity, which are obviously the exact opposite of what you want when using retinoids. But managing sensitivity from retinal can absolutely be done.

So, how does one avoid the side effects of retinal?

By using retinoids correctly, of course. 

“Always take baby steps when it comes to retinoids,” says del Rosario. “This means starting off slowly and only using it once or twice a week to let your skin adjust and pairing your retinoid of choice with calming and nourishing ingredients that protect your barrier.” Once your skin tolerates twice weekly use, work up slowly to every other night. 

He also notes that you should steer clear of combining your retinoid with other actives like alpha and beta hydroxy acids on the same nights, as this can be too harsh for most (if not all) skin types. 

[Click to learn more: Can I Use Retinol + Salicylic Acid Together?]

Next to consider: what else is in the formula?

Youth To The People’s brand-new Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum is made with .15% retinaldehyde—aka the most potent non-prescription retinoid available—and this new powerhouse treatment helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, large pores, and skin texture, while aiding in skin firmness and brightening, too.

What makes this formula so revolutionary, del Rosario explains, is the addition of 5% niacinamide, three essential ceramides, and a next-gen adaptogenic mushroom complex, which when combined into this one formula, can help the skin literally “adapt” better to retinal, and in turn, help to reduce the chances of experiencing adverse side effects. 

“Adaptogens have been known for centuries for their calming properties and come from a long history of being used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and all across Asia,” notes del Rosario. “They help with calming and soothing the surface of the skin and visible signs of irritation, which is ideal when using a retinoid.” The aforementioned mushroom complex contains shiitake, maitake, and reishi, and as if that wasn’t enough, it also contains ashwagandha, a famed, antioxidant-rich adaptogenic herb that aids in warding off oxidative stress caused by environmental aggressors, while simultaneously supporting healthy looking and feeling skin. 

The MVP ingredients don’t stop there, though. The Youth Serum also contains a blend of hyaluronic acid, squalane, and vitamin E to help replenish hydration and nourish. Ultimately, by combining retinaldehyde with these proven skin soothers and hydrators, you can count on reaping all of the incredible benefits that vitamin A has to offer—with a much lower risk of irritation. 

A final pro tip? 

Consider pairing YTTP’s new Youth Serum with Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream for added skin-loving support. The ultra-gentle, rich-yet-not-greasy formula contains calming ingredients like squalane, ashwagandha, fermented reishi, and aloe vera (to name just a few). It can be applied before or after Youth Serum for an extra dose of soothing moisture—or applied before and after to create a sandwich-like effect. Regardless, you can’t go wrong when pairing these two gems together. For an added moisture boost, add 2-3 drops of the Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Oil before hitting the pillow for the night.

Written by Kaleigh Fasanella for Youth To The People

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