How to use retinol in the summer?

The skincare community will hotly debate any number of topics. Do you need a moisturiser? Are eye creams effective? How many times per week should you exfoliate? But one ingredient we can all agree on is retinol. It is a powerful ingredient with numerous studies that prove its effectiveness. That said, retinol can sometimes be harsh on the skin, and many will be reluctant to use it during the summer. Should we steer clear from retinol in the summer? What is the most efficient and safe way to use it during the warmer months?

What are the benefits of retinol for the skin?

Retinol is a form of vitamin A that converts to retinoic acid. It is a multi-tasking ingredient with numerous benefits for the skin. It:
• boosts collagen production
• improves the skin’s texture
• minimises the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
• fades hyperpigmentation
• improves the elasticity of the skin
• can reduce breakouts and the scarring related to it

To see results with retinol, you need to practice patience – it is an effective ingredient. However, it might take a while to see the results.

To answer the question – can you use retinol in the summer? The answer is yes. However, you must use sun protection every single day. Diligently and abundantly. If your sunscreen use is sporadic, remove retinol from your routine for the time being. Because it boosts cell turnover, new skin will be exposed to the sun. That can mean sun damage if you are not diligent about sunscreen.

How can you use retinol in the summer?


To answer that question, we need to back up a little bit and see what your current retinol routine is like.

  • If you are already using a retinol product and your skin is used to it, carry on while being mindful about sunscreen.
  • If you are new to retinol, it is better to start with a lower percentage and give your skin time to adjust to the ingredient by using it just a couple of times per week. In some cases, retinol can irritate the skin and cause dryness, redness, or flaking, and you want to avoid that.
  • When are you applying retinol in your routine? Retinol degrades in the sunlight making it less effective. We recommend using it as a part of your evening routine to reap the benefits.
  • Even if you discontinue retinol use for a while when you are on your holiday or you know you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the sun, you still need to apply sunscreen since your skin still might be prone to sun damage.
  • Also, consider other active ingredients in your skincare routine that might make your skin more sensitive to the sun (like Alpha-Hydroxy acids). Again, if your skin is used to the products, it should be ok with strict sun protection during the day. However, avoid mixing and matching active ingredients if you are new to them.

Ishtar’s Retinol products


Ishtar offers two different strengths of retinol – 1% and 2.5%. Both of our serums utilise Rovisome technology. It means the retinol molecule is microencapsulated in a phospholipid (lecithin) shell. That way, the retinol molecule stays potent for longer and gives improved results.
The formulas also contain Prickly Pear extract to hydrate and soothe the skin. Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans (natural polysaccharides) hydrate and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
We recommend our 1% Bioactive Retinol serum for people who haven’t used a retinol product previously. If you are an experienced retinol user, you can go for 2.5% Bioactive Retinol serum.

Roberta Striga