I'm Allison. Style obsessed, lipstick loving, freelance writer. 

My Prescription Retinol Skincare Routine

My Prescription Retinol Skincare Routine

For dry AF winter days and nights.


This post contains PR samples and affiliate links.

Holy flaky skin. This winter has been a tornado of weather change for us in New Orleans. It was way too warm for way too long, then at the drop of a hat it was freezing. My skin? Not happy about this. Add in a little holiday travel and I could have painted myself green and cosplayed a moulting snake. 

It was a very cute look.

My skincare routine has been somewhat pared down to accommodate the weather change as well as my prescription retinol. My derm set me up on basically the lowest dose of retinol possible to help my skin adjust. It's been a couple months now and we're still not 100% there yet.


Prescription Retinol

I was prescribed a retinol product to help with my adult acne. This post makes me seem very attractive, right?

It basically helps to keep cell turn over running at top speed as well as keeping those pores clear to help them from turning up the next day as a pimple. I've been using this every other night for a few months and I'm still having some flakiness that is to be expected from starting retinol. Maybe not this long, but it is expected, so I had to make some skincare routine changes. 

Pat Pat Pat

I think probably the most important part of my skincare routine how each product is applied. Instead of scrubbing at my face and slapping on layers of moisturizer, I try to be as gentle as possible. This is helpful not only because my skin is still not 100% used to the retinol, but also to help push the product into my skin. 

The thing about starting to use proper retinol products is that it makes your skin aggravated at the drop of a hat. Okay, so I took a bath the other day, and I gently cleansed my face and moisturized before hopping in. Everything was fine and dandy till I actually got in the tub. Even though the water wasn't super hot and my face never got in the water, the skin on my face was red, hot, and angry. Literally any little thing can set it off. 

So we pat.

Literally I massage with cleanser, rinse, pat off the excess water. Pat on the retinol. Pat on every other step following. Pat pat pat.


Daytime Skincare Routine

Every morning I use a few more skincare steps than I do at night because I'm not using any heavy hitter active ingredients in the AM. The routine looks a little like this:

  1. Vanicream Gentle Foaming Cleanser - to gently remove skincare/sweat/oil from the night before. I like the vanicream cleanser because it's gentle and doesn't strip my skin of what precious oils it has left at this point.
  2. Klaris Supple Preparation Facial Toner - I jump right into hydrating with this Klaris toner. It's not the most hydrating toner in the world but it corrects the pH after the foam cleanser and sets up my skin for the rest of my AM routine.
  3. Bioderma Hydrabio Serum* - For that always needed hyaluronic acid. I use just half a pump and really pat this into my skin so I can soak in all the moisture possible.
  4. Dr. Jart Waterfuse Eye Gel* - I love a light eye gel (as opposed to eye cream) for my sensitive eye area. This Dr. Jart lovely hits the right balance of hydration and heaviness. 
  5. Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel - This moisturizer is my all time favorite although it's not very heavy for this winter dry spell.
  6. Pure Squalane Oil - I follow up the Benton gel (or just mix right in) my favorite oil of all time, Squalane. This ups the hydration considerably. 
  7. Skin 79 Super+ BB - I love that this has SPF 30 and the color perfectly matches my pasty winter skin. If I'm going outside I may use another dedicated SPF but I don't use one every single day.

Nighttime Skincare Routine

At night I like to keep things lighter and just focus on taking off my makeup and applying that prescription retinol. I take a good ten minutes between washing my face and applying the retinol. Apparently, having any water left on the skin or your hands can make sensitivity worse so I give both a good long time to dry out before application. I also give my skin at least twenty minutes to hold onto that retinol alone before applying moisturiser on top. I 100% need that PM moisturizer while using this retinol because it makes my skin so dry. Like, desert dry with little tumbleweeds of dead skin cells. The evening routine goes like this:

  1. Bioderma/Banilla Clean it Zero - To take off my makeup. Depending on how heavy the day's face is, I'll go for a light swipe of bioderma or a full on makeup removing massage with Clean It Zero. 
  2. Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser - I always do a double cleanse and this cleanser makes it easy to not over-do it and upset my skin.
  3. Prescription Retinol - Even though it's taking a lot more effort, I'm loving the effect of using a proper retinol. My skin is so much clearer than it's been in years which has made it so worth the extra time (and flaky skin).
  4. Dr. Jart Waterfuse Eye Gel - Works for both AM and PM.
  5. Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel mixed with Squalane Oil - Eventually I'll find a heartier night cream but until then I'm still loving this mix.

Do you use retinol products? What does your winter skincare routine look like?

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