How to Use Retinol in the Summer

How to Use Retinol in the Summer

Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, is celebrated for its remarkable ability to transform skin, reducing wrinkles, fine lines, and acne. While its benefits are numerous, using retinol during the summer requires special considerations to protect your skin from increased sensitivity to the sun. Here’s a guide on how to safely incorporate retinol into your summer skincare routine.

1. Understand Retinol and Its Benefits

Retinol accelerates cell turnover, promotes collagen production, and helps even out skin tone. It's a powerhouse ingredient in many anti-aging and acne-fighting products. However, its potent nature can make your skin more susceptible to UV damage.

2. Start Slowly and Gradually

If you're new to retinol, start with a lower concentration (0.25% to 0.5%) and apply it once or twice a week. Gradually increase the frequency as your skin builds tolerance. For seasoned users, maintain your routine but stay vigilant about sun protection.

3. Apply Retinol at Night

Retinol can break down in sunlight, making it less effective. Apply retinol products in the evening as part of your nighttime skincare routine. This allows the product to work overnight without exposure to harmful UV rays.

4. Always Follow with Moisturiser

Retinol can be drying, so it’s crucial to follow up with a good moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated. Look for a moisturiser with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin to help lock in moisture.

5. Prioritise Sun Protection

This step cannot be emphasised enough. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every morning, even on cloudy days. Reapply every two hours if you're outdoors. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and seeking shade can provide additional protection.

6. Pair with Antioxidants

Antioxidants like vitamin C can enhance the effectiveness of sunscreen and provide an additional layer of protection against UV damage. Incorporate an antioxidant serum in your morning routine to boost your skin’s defence.

7. Avoid Combining with Other Actives

Using retinol alongside other active ingredients like AHAs, BHAs, or benzoyl peroxide can increase irritation. If you use these products, alternate them with retinol to avoid over-exfoliating your skin.

8. Stay Hydrated

Heat and sun exposure can dehydrate your skin. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out.

9. Monitor Your Skin

Pay attention to how your skin reacts. If you notice excessive redness, peeling, or irritation, reduce the frequency of retinol use. It’s essential to listen to your skin’s needs and adjust your routine accordingly.

10. Consult a Dermatologist

If you have concerns about using retinol in the summer or have specific skin conditions, consult a dermatologist. They can provide personalized advice and recommend products suited to your skin type.


Using retinol in the summer is entirely possible with the right precautions. By understanding how to incorporate it into your skincare routine safely, you can enjoy its benefits while protecting your skin from potential sun damage. Remember to start slowly, prioritise sun protection, and stay hydrated to keep your skin glowing and healthy all summer long.