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Should you be Sandwiching Your Retinol?

Is a retinol sandwich something you eat to improve your skin or is it a trend that you have been hearing about on social media? Retinol Sandwiching has been something that we have been recommending for years for our sensitive skin clients or those new to retinol use in their skin care program. Lately though it has come the latest social media trend, with the term having over 20 million views under #RetinolSandwich! We certainly did not name it but the technique for applying retinol has it's benefits!

If you are still learning about this all star ingredient for skin rejuvenation, we highly recommend first checking out our Retinol 101 article before you start making a retinol sandwich for yourself!

What is a retinol sandwich? It is the technique of applying moisturizer before and after your application of retinol hence the trendy term - sandwiching. The purpose of doing this is to buffer the effects of retinol to make it more tolerable for sensitive skin types that can be prone to irritation or a retinol burn.

 how to make a retinol sandwich

This sandwiching technique insures that the sensitive or new user of retinol does not get discouraged and avoid retinol if they initially develop irritation. Many people in our climate experience dehydrated skin. Improving hydration insures better results and a fresher looking and feeling skin.  It is like a slower entry into the world on retinol and it's benefits. We like slow for long term benefits.

When is a retinol sandwich not ideal? If you do not have sensitive skin and your skin is well hydrated then layer or buffering with your moisturizer will slow down the results you will want to see from your retinol. This might even discourage your use of this all star ingredient due to such slow results.

Key things to remember if you are going to sandwich your retinol:

1. Use only at night

2. Cleanse your skin well

3. With skin damp apply your moisturizer. 

4. Let your skin dry completely - retinol gets a little testy with water.

5. Apply your retinol avoiding eye area and lips.

6. Give retinol time to absorb and then apply another layer of moisturizer.

7. If you are adding retinol to your program do not wax in the area of use!!!!

As we all know, skin care is not one size fits all, so please seek assistance when making changes to your skin care program. Our Master Clinical Estheticians are here to help. Book a consultation or send us an e-mail at