Dr. Ryan's Mailbag: Can I Use Retinol If I Have Sensitive Skin? Plus More...

Mar 21, 2024
Dr. Ryan's Mailbag: Can I Use Retinol If I Have Sensitive Skin? Plus More...


Hello and welcome to another Friday mailbag! If it’s your first time here, my name is Dr. Ryan Shelton, and every Friday, I answer two questions from customers who need my help answering some skincare questions that have them stumped! The first question of the day comes from Laura in Eugene, OR.

Q: Hi Dr. Ryan! Can I still use retinol if I have sensitive skin?

drops of serum

A: Hi Laura! I’m so glad you asked this question because there’s a lot of misinformation about when you should and should not use Retinol. The short answer to your question is yes, you can still use Retinol even if you have sensitive skin, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind before you get started with this incredible ingredient…

The key to using retinol if you have sensitive skin, or even if you’re just starting out with it, is to start nice and slow.

Start with a lower concentration of retinol and use it less frequently, allowing your skin to get used to it.

Consider applying it every other night or even every third night to start, and once you have an idea of how much your skin can take, you can start to use it more often.

For beginners, I suggest something with a retinol concentration of anywhere between 0.01% and 0.5%.

For example, My Retinol PM Booster has 0.05% and my Retinol Defense Cream has 0.125% Retinol, making it perfect for beginners and experienced Retinol users alike!

Another tip is to pair your retinol with a soothing and hydrating moisturizer to help avoid potential irritation.

My Repair and Release Cream would pair beautifully with any Retinol product since it has powerfully hydrating ingredients like Shea Butter and squalane.

My last and maybe most important tip for you is to remember to always do a patch test on the inside of your wrist when you’re trying out new products that you think may irritate your skin.

That way you can be sure to use products that will not hurt your skin!

I hope this helps, Laura! I’m so excited for you to get started with Retinol - I know you’ll love it!

Our next question is from Cynthia in New Orleans, LA.

Q: Hi Dr. Ryan. I’m 54 but I still get breakouts more often than I’d like to admit. Is there anything I can do to help stop them?

popping a pimple

A: Hi Cynthia! Breakouts are certainly something that everyone expects to grow out of after a certain age, but the truth is that many people actually still see these blemishes pop up from time to time. No matter the cause of your acne, I have a few tips that can help you make the situation a little better…

Whatever the cause of acne, there’s one goal you should have when you see a blemish appear on your skin - keep it as clean as possible.

Acne can be made a whole lot worse by bacteria and dirt, so you’ll want to avoid touching your face too often, and you’ll need to make sure you’re washing your face at least twice a day.

Try using a cleanser that has a couple of antibacterial ingredients as my Lavender Oil Cleanser does.

It has Tea Tree Oil which helps to fight bacteria, and Peppermint Oil which is known for its ability to help wounds heal faster, which would be a big help for your acne!

My Lavender Oil Cleanser also has AHAs and BHAs which help to exfoliate the skin.

Exfoliation should be a top priority for you because it can help to clear out some of the acne and also get rid of any dead skin and dirt that would otherwise clog your pores, making your acne worse.

Consistency is key, but be mindful not to overdo it with excessive cleansing or harsh treatments, as this can strip the skin and lead to further issues.

Just keep to a twice-daily routine and you should start to see some differences in no time!

Remember, Cynthia, skincare is a journey, and treating age-related acne requires a thoughtful and patient approach.

Tailor your routine to your unique skin needs, and you'll be on your way to achieving a clear and radiant complexion.

Let me know how it goes!