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Retinoids in summer?

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

Here is Why You Can and Should Use Retinoids in Summer

It’s a beauty myth that retinoids should be avoided during summer to prevent irritation. In fact, they can – and should – be used all year round. Retinoids [an umbrella term for all vitamin A-derived skincare ingredients] are key for preventing and combating signs of aging, and are excellent additions to most skincare routines year-round. But despite being one of the most researched and revered ingredients in skincare, misconceptions persist. Read on to find out why you don’t want to miss out on all the amazing benefits of retinoids for half the year.


Retinoids actually prevent sun damage

One of vitamin A’s incredible benefits is that it can block collagen breakdown, which is increased in summer due to extra sun exposure. By using retinoids in the summer it can begin to counteract some of the sun damage that occurs throughout the sunny months. Applying a retinoid in the evening is useful to correct any damage that has been caused throughout the day. Retinoids are also helpful in preventing skin cancer. The usage of topical retinoids to treat and prevent skin cancers has been backed by numerous studies. Topical retinoids are normally used to treat actinic keratoses and prevent basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.


Retinoids thicken (not thins) the skin

Another big summer retinoid use myth is that vitamin A thins the skin, but it actually does the opposite. Retinol stimulates collagen and elastin production, making the dermal layer thicker, firmer and stronger over time. That means a healthier, bouncier, firmer complexion, and ultimately more glow when it comes to summer skin. Retinoids will make skin more sensitive to UV Rays Studies show that increased susceptibility to sunburn occurs only in a small percentage of patients prescribed isotretinoin* AKA oral Accutane and that any increased sensitivity is as likely to occur in winter as in summer. As long as you protect your skin with sunscreen daily and avoid prolonged exposure during peak sun hours, your risk of retinoid-related sunburn is minimal. SPF should be a must daily during summer and year round is essential to preventing age-related concerns.


There can be some photosensitivity associated with retinoid therapy if irritation occurs such as when first starting a retinoid. If you are new to retinoids, begin application every other night or every 3rd night to reduce any temporary irritation.


Sunlight Reduces Retinoid Efficacy This concern is limited to retinoid daytime use and applies only if you apply the retinoid and expose your skin to the sun immediately. Once retinoids are absorbed by the skin, efficacy is unaffected. Summer Rules for Retinoids 1. Use SPF daily and reapply frequently 2. Limit sun exposure during peak hours 3. Use in the PM if you’re new to retinoid therapy 4. Allow product to absorb before any UV exposure If you still have concerns, Clinical Mandelic acid is happy to step in and play the leading role of the renewer and brightener in your regimen. This multi-tasking AHA is a gentle resurfacer that includes anti-bacterial properties to enhance acne-fighting activity. Its large molecular structure slows absorption into the skin, making it gentle enough for all skin types, including hyperpigmentation-prone and rosacea-affected skin. Starting a Retinoid in Summer

1. Use in PM and begin slowly using every third night. Move to every other night use in 2 weeks, followed by nightly use in 4-8 weeks. We love Vivant Derm-A-Renew with a combination of Retinyl Propionate and wrinkle-smoothing peptides or Truth Treatments Resurfacing1% Retinol light.

2. Use a calming hyaluronic-based hydrator to keep skin water-levels up to reduce irritation and dryness. We love Vivant Totaloe Calming + Hydrating Gel

3. To avoid dryness and irritation, mix a pea size of Vaseline or Glymed Cell Balm into your moisturizer during the day or replace your moisturizer with Glymed Comfort Cream.

3. Apply your SPF daily.

The powerful benefits of retinoids make this ultimate renewer a must-have all year round. And because effects are cumulative, regular usage is critical. For instance, taking a summer hiatus would stop your progress if you are using retinoids to treat acne, wrinkles or skin elasticity.


Skip the seasonal doubt. Keep using your products and use your sunscreen for healthy skin without interruption.


*We'd like to thank and credit @vivantskincare for this valuable information.

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