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Today we're talking moisturisers to use with retinoids! If you don't know about retinoids, they're Vitamin A derivatives that can smooth fine lines, increase skin cell turnover (which declines as we age), boost collagen production (which keeps our skin bouncy and full) and improve skin texture and tone. Of course that all sounds amazing! But there are some drawbacks; namely, if you're new to retinoids or you recently increased the strength of the formula you're using, you definitely need a good moisturiser to use alongside your retinoids. Key ingredients for me include ceramides, peptides and nourishing plant oils and butters. So, here are a few of my recommendations...
First up is probably my personal favourite: the Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Cream* | £69. This is a rich, nourishing, buttery moisturiser with ingredients like shea butter, honey, non-fragrant plant oils and occlusives (which trap moisture into the skin) to counteract any potential dryness. There's soybean extract in here, which you can look at as a 'retinoid booster', ceramides (which are an essential component of the lipid barrier that keeps your skin happy and healthy), ginger to calm inflammation and peptides, which are plumping, hydrating and help boost up collagen production (complimenting your retinoid) and helping to heal the skin and encourage repair. It's a great product on its own for very dry, sensitive or compromised skin, but it's absolutely perfect paired with a retinoid.
A great alternative to a much more expensive cult product with similar ingredients is the Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid Peptide Cream | £52. This formula brings together the holy trinity that makes up your lipid barrier: ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. Topping up these components topically is great for ensuring your skin isn't dry or sensitive when you're using a retinoid. There's shea butter in here and non-fragrant plant oils, but it definitely has a lighter texture than the Kate Somerville, if that's important to you. There are anti-inflammatory extracts in here and it features soothing aloe and fat-soluble antioxidant Vitamin E. There are also peptides in here which, as I mentioned, I really find to compliment retinoids. This is your slightly lighter and fluffier option with ceramides and peptides!
Next is something a little different with the Curel Intensive Moisture Facial Cream* | £19.50. This is a simple, super-light but really effective moisturiser that's free from shea butter, if that's an ingredient that doesn't agree with your skin. It's fragrance-free and the short ingredient list makes it a good option if you're prone to reactions. There's glycerin in here, which is a humectant that draws moisture into the skin. There are occlusives to trap that hydration in, allantoin is very soothing and squalane is a skin-similar plant oil to replenish and soften the skin. This is a great option for oily skin; it provides softness and hydration without feeling rich or heavy on the skin.
My most budget-friendly option is the Byoma Moisturising Rich Cream* | £13.99. This is a lotion-cream with your ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. What I really like about this formula (besides the texture, which is perfectly-balanced and substantial but not heavy) is that it includes bakuchiol; whilst it's often touted as an alternative to retinoids, I find it works best as an amplifier used alongside your retinoid. We have glycerin in here, shea butter and Vitamin E, which are all ingredients that work perfectly with a retinoid.
Finally, we have a new entrant with the Ordinary's Natural Moisturising Factors + Phytoceramides* | £20. This is a kind of add-on to the original NMF formula. Natural moisturising factors (such as urea, amino acids and hyaluronic acid) occur in our skin already and using products featuring them can boost the skin's moisture levels from within. Then this formula adds in additional plant-derived fats that will nourish and replenish dry skin. Linoleic acid is a fatty acid that's amazing for the skin barrier and can actually help with discolouration (which retinoids also do, so this enhances your results). It has a rich texture that melts into something super-emollient on the skin. It's absolutely for dry skin types, as it's heavy-duty stuff, but for people who need all the nourishment they can get: it's perfect!
Do you use retinoids? If so, what sorts of ingredients do you like in the moisturiser you pair with them?