A skincare method known as “retinol sandwiching” has been trending lately on TikTok. Skincare junkies swear by this hack, which they say allows you to enjoy the benefits of using retinols without any draw-backs.
Sounds good? But hold on for a moment – there are actually a few reasons why you should avoid this method.
Read on to find out why.
What are retinols?
Retinol is also known as vitamin A. It is a highly raved about skincare ingredient that can reduce the appearance of fine lines, reduce scarring, improve your skin’s texture, diminish enlarged pores, and also unclog pores to prevent acne breakouts.
Retinol usually comes in the form of serums and creams for you to apply to your skin during your nighttime skincare routine.
However, all these benefits come at a price. Using retinol products can be slightly drying and irritating for some of us.
This is because retinol speeds up the process of your dead skin cells shedding, which is what helps give you the appearance of clearer skin. However, as there may be a delay between the shedding and the time when your newer skin cells can come to surface, your skin is exposed, which can lead to redness and irritation.
That is why retinols should always be applied in moderation and if you’re starting out for the first time, it would be wise for you to observe and take note how your skin reacts to this skincare ingredient.
Related reads: 16 best retinol creams that smoothen wrinkles, fade dark spots, and clear acne scars
What is “sandwiching”?
“Sandwiching” is a skincare method often used to give your skin a boost in hydration. This is achieved by layering your skincare products between damp skin and a thick layer of moisturiser.
When doing this method, you’ll be encouraging your skin to absorb your skincare products better so you can max out all the benefits they can give.
As always, everything must be done in moderation and this is exceptionally so for the “sandwiching” method.
Always apply thin layers of skincare products on damp skin before following up with a richer formula. Should you overwhelm your skin and overload it with various products, the active ingredients in each products might cancel each other out.
This will nullify your entire routine or even trigger skin irritation.
Related reads: If your dry, dehydrated skin’s hungry for hydration, make it a “moisture sandwich”!
Why you should NOT be hopping onto the “retinol sandwiching” trend
Now that we have a clearer understanding on what retinols and “sandwiching” are, it’s time to share what a “retinol sandwich” is all about: this refers to applying a layer of moisturiser before and after your apply retinol.
Skincare enthusiasts claim that this method gives your skin added hydration to battle irritation and redness caused by retinols.
Sounds good, right?
But after further inspection, you’ll see that there is a huge issue with this method.
Moisturisers have occlusives that will create a barrier for your skin. If you “sandwich” your retinol in between layers of moisturiser, you’re preventing retinols from being absorbed into your skin.
This will cause them to remain at the surface of your face without ever penetrating through.
So, in order to get the results that retinols promise, you should always apply it on clean dry skin.
If you have sensitive skin, don’t be disappointed by the let-down of “retinol sandwiching” as there are many other ways you can enjoy retinols.
The first way is to apply your retinols in moderation and slowly condition your skin to adapt to their harshness.
You can apply retinols one to three times a week or even carry out the “skin cycling” method, which is a four-day routine that uses retinols and exfoliants to help tame breakouts and even out skin texture.
By doing the routine over a span of four days, you’re giving your skin time to get used to retinols and reduce the chances of irritation.
Retinols can be harsh for your skin so we want to remind you once again that the girlies who ace skincare are the ones that monitor their skin after every harsh product or a new routine.
Everyone’s skin is unique and it’s difficult to give a broad-based recommendation at times especially when it comes to the stronger ingredients.
When you’re using retinols, it’s all about experimenting. If your skin gets too irritated, hold off on it for a while and monitor how long your skin takes to recover.
Take note of how often you’re applying and the amount you use each time. Fine tune your routine until you get the results you want.
Alternatively, if you really want to reap the benefits of retinol without any harshness, consider going for a bakuchiol serum instead.
Featured image credit: @themashedpotatoes/TikTok, @hello.glen/TikTok, and @tissam.e/TikTok