How To Protect Your Skin From Waxing When Using A Retinol

Younger-looking, plump, and smooth skin is a skincare goal that many strive to achieve, and retinol is a skincare staple that can give you fresher, dewy-looking skin. Per Cleveland Clinic, retinol increases skin cell production, exfoliates your skin, and increases collagen production to give you glowing skin. But while retinol can be a great anti-aging product, it should be used with caution, especially when it comes to waxing. When you go for an eyebrow wax, you probably don't think much about the skincare products you use, but if you use retinol every day, you should be careful. Mixing your best retinol serums with waxing could be a very bad idea.

"One of the side effects of retinols or retinoid is that the skin cells become sensitive, which can cause the skin to separate deeper than it should during waxing," Dr. Joel Schlessinger, founder of cosmeceutical site LovelySkin, tells SheKnows

Retinol removes the protective layer of your skin

Since retinol removes dead skin cells, it exposes your epidermis to the elements and can also make the skin even more sensitive. According to board-certified dermatologist Tiffany L. Clay, M.D., "Retinoids decrease the thickness of the stratum corneum which is the outermost layer of the skin. If you are missing some of this protective layer, your skin may be damaged by the waxing process" (via Well+Good). Waxing the skin involves removing hair from the face, but it also removes skin cells. Mixing retinol use and waxing together can cause the skin to tear off, darken, burn, and in some cases even scar — which you definitely want to avoid.

"Usually what happened was the skin was ablated — when the wax was removed, it removed a few cell layers, but it was too much for their skin, and it became painfully exposed," Laurie Neronha of Viriditas Beautiful Skin Therapy tells SheKnows. 

How to limit the side effects of retinol use and waxing

Fortunately, you don't have to completely ditch your regular waxing sessions to continue using retinol in your skincare routine. According to Dr. Coyle S. Connolly, if you're planning on getting a facial wax, you should stop using any products with retinol in them for several days to a week before your appointment. This will prepare your skin for the waxing and help avoid any adverse reactions (via SheKnows).

Another way you can help minimize the side effects of retinol and waxing is to use a moisturizer before you apply retinol to create a barrier that allows for less absorption of retinol into the skin. You can also opt for a waxing alternative and book yourself in for a threading appointment. Eyebrow threading is a technique where the esthetician uses cotton thread to clean up and shape the eyebrows. This could potentially cause less tugging and harm to your skin. It's best to speak to your esthetician beforehand and be honest about your retinol use to get the best advice possible.