Step 1: Cleanse
Step 2 (*crucial*): Apply Adapalene Gel 0.3%.
Welcome to the previously promised section on the most powerful product I’ve ever used on my skin: adapalene gel, which is a retinoid. I’ve come to learn that basically, everyone in their late 20s and up should be using some form of retinol or retinoid (if you want a results-oriented skincare routine, that is). Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, confirms, “I feel that topical retinoids, aside from sunscreen, are the absolute most important part of a skincare routine. They stimulate collagen to strengthen the skin foundation, minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and prevent new ones from becoming etched into the skin.”
You’ve probably heard of retinol, so here’s a quick lesson on retinoids versus retinol. They’re both vitamin A derivatives that get converted into retinoic acid, but retinoids are ultimately stronger because they have a higher concentration of the active ingredient. Differin gel is the first over-the-counter retinoid, and it’s only over-the-counter at 0.1% concentration. I had to haul myself to the dermatologist to get a prescription for Shayna’s preferred stronger 0.3%. The prescription ended up costing around $10 with my HMO insurance plus my copay to see the derm.
Shayna elaborates, “Retinol kicks your skincare up a level, and I like the prescription because it’s pure, and I don’t have to wonder if it’s working. It’s the only proven ingredient that reverses aging. You’ve got to work up to that strength though. I won’t wear it if I know I’m going on vacation, and I only wear it to bed.” Shayna doesn’t add anything after the retinoid, and while I love the simplicity of a two-step evening routine of cleansing and using a retinoid, I found that following with a simple moisturizer was necessary to not feel too dry as I headed to bed.