Question: I’ve been using a 1% retinol serum, 15% vitamin C serum for my face and another 5% vitamin c serum for my eyes for two weeks and now my skin is a mess! It’s red, peeling, super dry and wrinkled. It even hurts when I wash my face and put on sunscreen. I’m so scared and don’t know what to do.
Answer: These are strong and genuinely effective formulations, but you overdid it a bit. According to the wizard of Park Avenue, Dr Albert Lefkovits, stop using all current products. He recommends soothing the skin with a milk compress. Soak a man’s hankerchief in a mixture of 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 room temperature cup water, wring it out a bit and apply it to face and neck. Wash your face with a super gentle cleanser like Cetaphil or Dove soap.
At night try a mild moisturizer like Ponds cold cream or Aquaphor. If redness persists apply .05% cortisone cream available at a pharmacy without a prescription. In the daytime, use a mineral based sunscreen like SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion. If the skin does not calm down within a week, you should check in with a doctor. There might be something besides an irritation reaction going on.
When your skin recovers, you can start slowly resuming the same products . Use the retinol every other day and the vitamin c eye serum only at night. In the daytime, use the vitamin C serum every other day and top it with a mineral based sunscreen. Gradually work up to using retinol every night and vitamin C serum every day, but never at the same time. At the first sign of irritation, cut back to using products several times a week rather than every day.
I suspect that some manufacturers formulate weak products because they want to avoid this type of situation. I can totally understand that approach , but I believe that better consumer information would prevent this type of skin melt down. If the sales literature gave more extensive info, these episodes could be avoided. Better information will allow us to use effective products to get maximum results– very much the fundamental mission statement of No-Nonsense Beauty Blog.