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Cosmeceutical Skincare - dermoi

Combining Retinol and Sunbeds: What Are The Risks?

January 05, 2022

Retinol encourages a clearer complexion, but unfortunately, some people mix retinol and sunbeds together. Little do they know that this destroys the skin and leads to premature aging!

Author: Naeem Ali & Sam Pennington

Reading time: 6 minutes

Many people are combining retinol with sunbeds, without realising the damage that they are causing to their skin. Retinol products should never be used if you're planning to visit a tanning bed. Carry on reading to find out more about retinol and sunbed's effects on the skin, as well as why the combination of retinol and sunbeds should be avoided at all costs!

What is Retinol?

As a potent type of retinoid (vitamin A), retinol stimulates collagen and elastin production. It's an antioxidant ingredient that also encourages a clearer complexion. However, unfortunately, some people mix retinol and sunbeds together which can destroy the skin!

Retinol can’t be applied directly. Instead retinol converts to retinoic acid when applied to the skin which has a bunch of anti-aging benefits:

  • It balances uneven skin tone – Your skin discolours over time for several reasons, including too much sun exposure. Retinol sheds dead skin cells and promotes skin cell turnover.
  • Helps with acne breakouts – Inflamed skin caused by environmental stressors, smoking and the natural aging process heightens acne breakouts. Retinol not only soothes inflammation by clearing dead skin cells, but keeps pores unclogged and reduces excess oil.
  • Removes fine lines and wrinkles – Skin cells that lose collagen will cause fine lines and wrinkles, which are one of the most prominent signs of aging. Retinol stimulates collagen to keep your skin looking fresh and plump.

Why You Should Use Retinol Products

Retinol products are becoming an ever-increasing part of people’s skincare routine. This is because the body doesn't naturally produce vitamin A, making retinol skincare products an ideal way to boost your antioxidant intake

However, not all retinol are the same. Despite them having skin protective ingredients, some prescription retinoids fail to maximise their anti-aging benefits.

Liposomal delivery is a great way to maximise the benefits of retinol products. Liposomes maximise the penetration of the retinol and work with all skin types.

However, retinol should be used with caution. For example, combining retinol and sunbeds will actually aggravate skin problems instead of solving them.

The Dangers Of Using Retinol And Sunbeds

Excessive sun exposure is the leading cause of sun damage, It's also one of the main causes of skin pigmentation. However, some people use tanning beds as a way to darken the skin and give the semblance of a glowy complexion.

Mixing retinol and sunbeds is a big no-no. However, the prolonged use of sunbeds alone also has many long-term damaging effects on the skin:

  • Skin cancer – Sunbeds emit UV rays at a close distance. This is in order to stimulate melanin production. However, because the beds are so strong and close compared to normal sunlight, it heightens the risk of skin cancers. These types of cancer include malignant melanoma and non-malignant melanoma.
  • Premature aging – Light exposure aggravates the signs of aging, in particular photoaging. The UV ray’s close proximity damages the skin's structure. This in turn destroys the elastin fibres and collagen proteins that normally keep the skin firm.
  • Sunburn – Sunbeds increase the likelihood of developing sunburn. What's more, this can be especially bad where sensitive skin is concerned. This extremely close burn causes peeling skin and can also lead to discolouration and pigmentation.

Retinol and Heightened Skin Sensitivity

Retinol can be highly irritating if used too frequently. It will also cause irritation if the formulation is too strong for your skin type. When using retinol always start off with a small amount and gradually work your way up. For example, using it just twice a week and slowly increasing usage gives your skin a chance to acclimatise.

As a result of retinol causing skin sensitivity>, retinol products should never be used on days where you exfoliate. This is because exfoliating causes skin abrasion and leaves the skin more susceptible to irritation. It's the same story when combining retinol and sunbeds. You don't want to compromise your skin even further when sensitivity is already heightened.

Retinol and Sunbeds

As it's a strong ingredient, retinol makes the skin more sensitive to UV rays. This is the main reason retinol and sunbeds should never be combined. As retinol products leave the skin more susceptible to UV damage, the negative effects of using a sunbed increase. Furthermore, retinol is sensitive to UV exposure. This basically means that the retinol becomes almost completely useless, losing its effectiveness when exposed to UV rays.

It's also for this reason that nighttime use of retinol is best. For further protection, always use broad spectrum SPF the following day after using retinol to protect the skin.

On top of this, retinol and sunbeds also have counteractive effects. Retinol is one of the most advanced anti-aging ingredients out there. On the other hand, sunbeds damage the skin, resultantly speeding up the aging process. In summary, if you're using both retinol and sunbeds, the anti-aging effects of the retinol become redundant.

First of all, let’s consider the question “Does retinol make you tan faster?”. To explain this issue, we should consider what effect the ingredient has on skin cells. Retinol attracts sunlight, UV radiation, free radicals, and other environmental aggressors. Thus, it is true that retinol speeds up tanning. However, this can have a negative consequence on your skin, leading to severe skin problems.

Below, let’s consider the issue of “Can I use retinol after tanning?” and how retinol and tanning beds affect each other.

What Happens If You Go Into The Sun With Retinol?

Retinol-contain skincare products are not recommended for usage when you plan to spend a lot of time under the sun since the ingredient tends to multiply the negative impact of the sun and UV radiance on skin cells. Thus, retinol attracts UV light and sun rays to the skin, improving skin sensibility and free radical penetration. Thus, it is obvious that retinol and sun are non-compatible.

Still, if you have to go out after using retinol, wait for at least several hours. Thus, answering the question “How long after using retinol can you go in the sun?”, no less than several hours should pass. This is why most retinol-rich products are designed for a night application.

Can You Use Fake Tan When Using Retinol?

So, answering the question “Can you tan while using retinol?”, note that fake tan does not come into reaction with retinol and does not cause any problems in cells. Thus, it is not forbidden to apply both skin products simultaneously.

Does Retinol Ruin Fake Tan?

Practically, retinol does not interact with fake tan. Thus, it cannot ruin it. Another important question is “Can I use retinol on tanned skin”. Here, note that it is advisable to apply skincare products under fake tan. First, apply your moisturizer and then put on a fake tan.

Can You Use Retinol in the Summer?

“How to tan while using retinol” is a popular question in a hot season. Note that it is not recommended to use retinol in the summer since it increases skin photosensitivity, meaning that cells become more vulnerable to UV radiation, free radicals, and other negative influences of the sun.

Thus, if you want to use skincare products with this ingredient in the summer, remember the issue of retinol and sun exposure, and use sunscreen obligatorily.

Does Retinol Remove Suntan?

Answering the question “Does retinol remove tan?”, note that it is not recommended to mix retinol with tanning since it aggravates skin problems and attracts environmental aggressors to cells. Yet, since retinol is well-known due to its peeling and boosting properties of skin renovation, the ingredient can partially accelerate suntan removal.

The Best Products to Combine with Retinol for Sun Protection

Not everyone can avoid sun exposure, nor is it healthy to avoid the sun! We get vitamin D from sunlight which has many roles in the body and it's essential for optimal health. But we must be careful as too much sun exposure without proper protection can damage our skin.

Dermoi offers products that have the best sun protection formulas on the market. Heliocare, in particular, is one of, if not the best, sun protection brand out there.

Here are some of their best products:

Air Gel SPF50

This ultra-light SPF Gel gives astounding protection against UVA, UVB and infrared radiation. Air Gel not only contains 2 powerful technologies to prevent sun damage, but also includes vitamin C and E. These vitamins control melanin levels and brighten the skin.

Mineral Tolerance Fluid SPF50+

This potent formula not only prevents free-radical damage with vitamin C and E, but with the help of ferulic acid, provides the best protection from UVA and UVB radiation. Mineral Tolerance Fluid also prevents photoaging spots caused by long exposure to the sun.

Heliocare 360: Water Gel SPF50

SPF skincare products are the best way to protect your skin from sun damage. Heliocare 360: Water Gel however is more than a sunscreen; it’s a powerful hydrating gel that keeps the skin feeling smooth and fresh. Added Fernblock protects cellular DNA from sun damage. It transforms Water Gel into an intelligent product to give your skin the protection you need. It's ideal for those with dry skin.

Fluid Cream SPF50+

This nifty sunscreen uses a patented technology called Heliocare 360° BioShield System of Fractional Biomimetic Melanin and Pro-Taurine. It provides biological protection against infrared-A radiation by neutralising the light’s effect on the skin.

Gel Oil-Free SPF50

Using a patented photo-immunoprotection system, Gel Oil-Free is the perfect solution for sun protection. The BioShield System uses the latest technology to shield the skin from UVA, UVB and infrared radiation. Since it's oil-free, the skin absorbs more of the ingredients, therefore maximising their benefits.

What Happens If You Use Retinol Without Sunscreen?

Also, let’s consider the question “Is retinol good for sunburn?”. Since the ingredient increases skin sensitivity to UV light, the use of retinol-rich skincare products without sunscreen leads to the next consequences:

  • an increased influence of UV radiation and sunlight;
  • high penetration of free radicals into cells and their damage;
  • increased photosensitivity and pigmentation;
  • premature skin aging and wrinkling.

Thus, using retinol without sunscreen in summer is forbidden for your safety.

There Are Always Alternatives

Note that if you’re allergic to retinol or in a risk group (pregnancy or breastfeeding), search for safer alternatives. For example, bakuchiol comes as a safe and powerful antioxidant that has an anti-inflammatory effect and competes with retinol in its beneficial properties:

  • Both ingredients are equally effective in coping with hyperpigmentation.
  • Bakuchiol is cleaner and is not associated with irritability.
  • It does not irritate, peel, or itch the skin surface.
  • Bakuchiol contains natural non-nano zinc oxide that comes as a reliable protector of cells from sun exposure.

The product comes as a worthy alternative to apply in a hot season without restrictions and side effects. Cosmetic industry manufacturers have started adding it into moisturizers and other skincare products to guarantee a powerful and safe effect for aging skin.


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