Retinoids in Summer

Can I let you into a surprising secret?

I use my retinoid right through summer. No interruption in service. People who reside in hot countries make it happen so why should we abandon all of a sudden just because we’re going on vacation?

A few myths abound regarding retinoid use:

Myth 1) We use retinods at night because they make us burn during the day.  Not true. We use retinoids at night because most are UV sensitive, which means they might be rendered useless if applied as part of our morning routine. As for burning more easily, studies suggest that they don’t change the MED for a sunburn (the minimal amount of UV light required to redden the skin).

Myth 2) The changes in climate will reak havoc for a retinoid user.  Actually, your holiday destination might make using your retinoid dreamily easy. I have patients based in the Far East who can happily skip moisturiser, their skin is so dewy from humidity.

Myth 3) Retinoids might cause damage to the skin in the long-term.
Quite the opposite. We actually sometimes use oral retinoids to reduce the risk of skin cancer in those on immunosuppression and topical retinoids have been shown to reduce the development of actinic keratoses, a precursor of skin cancer.

So what’s the practical interpretation of all this?

Well, if you’re serious about your skin (and I assume any retinoid user is), then you’re going to be smart and have good sunscreen behaviour and use sunglasses/shade/proper hat to manage your UV exposure. Making sure you have proper water-resistant sunscreen for doing sports outdoors and that you apply it IN THE CORRECT QUANTITY is vital. If you’re doing all this, continuing with your retinoid is fine. My caveat would be for a new user – it can be hard to manage the dryness from initiating retinoid use whilst ensuring proper UV protection so wait till autumn if you’re not confident you can stick to the ‘rules’ above. Hopefully that’s reassuring to you.

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