Retinol Details

Oh, sometimes in beauty, as in life, it’s the little details that make a difference.

I’ve been using French retinol A313 for 3 years now. I use it every night.

Of late, I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on my skin. A woman who helped me move my vast wardrobe wanted to know my secret; then whilst chatting to a charming grey-haired gentlemen about his rare BMW he out of the blue, mentioned my “beautiful complexion” (!!!); and my sister, who comes to visit once a year, said I am getting younger- and younger-looking every time she sees me. Ah, you can always trust your sister to “tell it like it is” …ha ha.

Since I haven’t changed my products, I can only attribute this improvement to a refinement of technique. I  gleaned some very useful tips from London dermatologist Dr. Sam on YouTube. Watching her actually applying the product is worth a million words. Here is what I learnt:

BUFFER  Retinols can be irritating. But instead of enduring the peeling, flaking, and red skin that can result and then ultimately giving up, Dr, Sam advises Buffering by applying the retinol 5 to 10 minutes after moisturising at night with a niacinamide-based cream. Two further comfort measures she suggests are what she calls Moisturiser Googles and a Moisturiser Duvet. Clever!

ESCALATE  Begin with a half-fingertip amount (1/4 gram) of product and then once your skin has built up a tolerance, increase the quantity to a full fingertip amount (1/2 gram).

RUB IT IN  Retinols are powerful. I was ever so gently applying A313 until Dr. Sam dropped this tidbit of information I had not heard or read elsewhere: retinol needs to be firmly massaged into the skin. If it is just sitting on the top of the skin, it causes irritation. Apply evenly, but thin out the product in the nasolabial folds and areas with fine lines and wrinkles so it doesn’t sit in the creases. Work it into your skin so it can do its magic.

As Dr. Sam says about retinol, It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The first part of winning with retinol is showing up; and secondly, not giving up.

Now you know how to do it.

WATCH: Dr Sam Bunting

NIACINAMIDE MOISTURISERS: Dr. Sam’s Flawless MoisturiserCeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream; CeraVe PMLa Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer




  1. Ms. Liz
    July 5, 2019

    I am very tempted to try your Retinol recommendation. Your tips are excellent as I have used it before and the redness and flaking put me off. I like the phrase it is a marathon not a sprint.

  2. July 8, 2019

    These are fantastic tips that have never been mentioned in any blog I’ve ever read. I do have A313 on my list. But first I have to get through this Drunk Elephant retinol sample that I have. Although it is supposed to be gentler, I have heard reports of peeling. So I wonder if I should buffer or just bite the bullet and see what it will do first. I’ll bookmark this video for later.

  3. Great tips! I’m a massive fan of retinols and I use them religiously – it took me a long time to get into the ‘retinol habit’ as I mistook the dryness for a sign my skin just didn’t like them, but I am SO glad I persevered! xx

    Beauty Geek Beauty Blog

  4. July 10, 2019

    Oh I am so going to check out her video. Yes retinol is pretty strong. I have heard mixe views on from derms. On the one hand in the moment it makes your skin look great. But some dems don’t suggest it as they say in can thin skin over time. But maybe using it with moisturizer can help with this.

    Allie of

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