Vitamin A derivatives, such as retinol, have been known for decades as the gold standard in effective skincare ingredients. It’s been used since at least the 1980’s for its ability to improve many common skin concerns (i.e. fine lines, pigmentation, and decreasing collagen production). Unfortunately, it’s also gained a bit of a reputation in that time for the potential to cause irritation and dryness.
We’ve been made to believe the stronger the retinol, the better. The truth is that using a gentler retinol product your skin can tolerate on a daily basis can help you achieve solid results. It also allows you to use a wider variety of additional skincare ingredients to support the skin and enhance efficacy. Here are a few combinations that we like the most.
Better together: top ingredients that complement retinol
Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Extract - This orange and yellow perennial has long been used in ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties. This same benefit is found when it’s included in skincare products — it can help soothe and has a healing effect on the skin. This is highly beneficial when first starting a retinol product, as some with more sensitive skin may initially find it slightly irritating before the skin acclimates.
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) - Niacinamide is known for its ability to manage inflammation and strengthen the skin’s barrier, two very important attributes when using a retinol product. Both ingredients tackle hyperpigmentation in different ways and are often recommended to be used together to achieve the best results.
Chondrus Crispus (Irish Moss) Extract - A type of red algae, Irish sea moss is loaded with vitamins and minerals that aid in skin hydration. It is also rich in sulfur, which is helpful for acne prone and sensitive skin. When combined with retinol, Irish sea moss can soothe redness that may occur as well as aid in healing breakouts.
Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil - Rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fatty acids, jojoba seed oil is highly similar to our skin’s own naturally produced oil. It is important to ensure your skin is well lubricated when integrating retinol into your routine to prevent potential skin dryness.
Sunscreen - We simply cannot talk about retinol without also recommending a sunscreen with a broad spectrum SPF of at least 30 every morning. Like many active skincare ingredients, some retinol products could make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays. That’s why it’s important to shield your skin daily with a good broad-spectrum sunscreen that will block both UVA and UVB rays. If you’re going to invest in the health of your skin, make sure it’s well protected!
Consider using a custom retinol formula
By adding retinol into your customized Atolla serum, we make sure your formula is balanced with other ingredients your skin may need. Rather than having to buy multiple products to add supporting ingredients into your routine, we simplify the process by combining them together in a daily-use serum. Just like a diet, you can’t expect to see improvements by relying on only one type of food; it takes a well balanced nutritional plan and consistency to reach your ultimate goal.
Dylan Mustapich is a NYC-based lead esthetician who has been featured in New Beauty, Teen Vogue, Wired, and The Huffington Post. With a lifelong love of all things skin, he is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare ingredients, routine refinement, and personalized skincare, and follows emerging technology closely.