What is the “retinoid sandwich”?

What is the retinoid sandwich?

Although this term may be something that became catchy on social media, it is a term and concept that us dermatologists have been using for years–the retinoid sandwich. This is an excellent way to use our granactive retinoid, Retinoath, if you are nervous to jump to a retinoid product or find yourself to have sensitive skin.

Why should we be using a retinoid in our skincare routine?

By now, most of us have heard the references to why everyone needs a retinol or retinoid in their skincare regimen. They offer an immense array of benefits including improving acne, hyperpigmentation, scarring, in addition to anti-aging effects. However, they can also take some getting used to due to the associated initial dryness, peeling, and purging that can occur with initial use.

How do I actually do this?

This “retinoid sandwich” term is one that is easy to introduce, and one many of our patients use as well. On a clean and dry face, apply your favorite moisturizer first, then a chocolate chip sized amount of retinoid, and reapply moisturizer on top. Ideally waiting for each step to dry will improve efficacy, but doing them straight through is okay as well. Don’t forget to apply your sunscreen in the morning. Our favorite is our mineral tinted Inzincable sunscreen which can also double as your morning moisturizer.

Are there other ways to use a retinoid if this still isn’t working for me?

Other ways to combat the initial retinoid irritation include:

  • Short contact method (apply, wash off after 15 mins, moisturize until tolerance achieved)
  • Start every 3rd night

I’ve tried all of these methods and STILL get irritation from any retinol or retinoid product. What else is out there for me?

If you still cannot tolerate a retinol or retinoid, consider an ingredient such as bakuchiol – our hero ingredient in our TBH serum, a plant based retinol alternative in the meantime.

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