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The 10 Best Moisturizers To Use After Retinol To Hinder Irritations

Use these moisturizers after retinol to reduce dryness and irritations.
Brand courtesy / La Roche-Posay
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Retinol does terrific things for our skin. Softening, brightening, reducing signs of aging…the list goes on. But to get the best effects from your retinol, you’ve got to incorporate it into a routine, whereby you get some hydration, protection, and strengthening action to counteract the acids within retinol. While retinol is incredible, it can cause irritation and dryness, so your moisturizer is seriously important. It helps to accelerate the skin healing process and restores any moisture lost by using retinol. Below you’ll read about the best moisturizers to use with retinol. 

What kinds of moisturizers are best to use with retinol? 

There are a few ingredients that work wonders for your skin after you’ve used retinol. The best moisturizer to use with retinol should include skin-replenishing ingredients such as ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid. That’s because these ingredients are not only restorative, building and strengthening the skin’s barrier, but they’re also skin-identical, meaning that they’re already found within our faces. 

  1. Ceramides help to rebuild and strengthen our skin’s barrier function. We need a decent strengthened barrier, as it’s the way we keep moisture locked within, and how our faces stay looking more youthful, bouncy, and radiant. They also seriously do help to retain moisture too. 
  2. Niacinamide has many benefits that’ll complement retinol. It helps ease irritation as it’s a natural anti-inflammatory and really improves skin hydration by stopping moisture from evaporating out of our skin. It also promotes the production of ceramides and elastin, needed to help strengthen our skin’s barrier.
  3. Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant, holding water onto the surface of our face so our skin stays hydrated for much longer. It slows the rate of water evaporation too. 

You should avoid these if using retinol

There are a few things you’ll want to steer clear of if using retinol: other exfoliants, vitamin C, alcohol, and fragrances. Some of these things can have a place within your routine, but just not on the days you’re using retinol. If you were to combine these, you could end up with an irritated face — not your intention at all! 

The best moisturizers to use with retinol

It turns out that these are the best moisturizers to use after retinol to hinder irritations and reduce dryness so that you can enjoy all the benefits of this vitamin A derivative. 


La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

This moisturizer is exactly what your skin needs after retinol! It provides major hydration and helps restore the skin barrier, which you need after exfoliation. With both ceramide and niacinamide (woah!), your skin can retain more moisture and gets some soothing treatment. It’s also a great choice for those of you with sensitive skin. And since it’s made with La Roche Posay prebiotic thermal water as a base, you can be sure it’ll soothe and strengthen your skin in the blink of an eye. It’s not too heavy on the purse strings either!


SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore

SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore Moisturizer

Here’s a moisturizer that’s really focused on some essential skin-identical ingredients: ceramides, cholesterol, and other fatty acids. This leaves you with something super nourishing and helpful in self-repairing and moisturizing after using retinol, as well as being ideal for reducing signs of aging. In plus, SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore Moisturizer doesn’t leave a greasy feeling, layering nicely and smoothly, leaving you with instant soft skin, being one of the best moisturizers to pair with retinol cream.


Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel-Cream

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel-Cream

If you really want to focus on something that’ll hydrate and help get that moisture back into your skin after using retinol, Neutrogena has you sorted! This gel-cream is formulated with hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which creates the ideal situation for prolonged hydration and moisture retention. The gel texture and oil-free formula make this one the best moisturizer to use with retinol for oily skin folks.


PCA Skin ReBalance

PCA Skin ReBalance

This moisturizer focuses on niacinamide to renew and restore the skin’s surface to avoid moisture loss. Your skin’s surface barrier is the first line of defense from the environment and daily grime, and this moisturizer works to improve that barrier. Vitamin E is added to help strengthen and protect against free radicals while bisabolol soothes. On top of everything, PCA Skin ReBalance lacks any potential drying ingredients, such as alcohol, and fragrances, which you’d want to avoid when using retinol.


SkinCeuticals Epidermal Repair

SkinCeuticals Epidermal Repair

You know Centella asiatica, aka cica, does a very good job at calming skin. Welp, this moisturizer is enriched with Centella asiatica to soothe and addresses skin resurfacing recovery. It’s specially formulated to relieve sensitized skin and is great to use after retinol to counteract any redness or irritation. After your retinol’s worked its exfoliating magic, you want something soothing, strengthening, and supportive, and this fits the bill.


First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Moisturizer

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer

If you want some instant hydration from your moisturizer after using retinol, First Aid has you covered! This moisturizer contains that all-important ceramide to strengthen that essential skin barrier and lock moisture in, helping to prevent any irritation caused by retinol. There’s colloidal oatmeal in there too, to help ease dryness while avocado and meadowfoam seed oils soften skin — now you know why it’s considered one of the best moisturizers to use with retinol.


CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream

CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream

CeraVe decided to go all out with this night cream, putting not one but three ceramides in there to seriously help restore and strengthen your skin barrier and provide some serious moisturizing. Moreover, it features shea butter on top of the ingredients list, meaning it forms a protective layer that prevents transepidermal water loss. When applied after using retinol, this moisturizer is going to really lock in essential moisture and help reduce signs of aging too, due to a peptide complex.


Glow Recipe Banana Souffle Moisture Cream

Glow Recipe Banana Souffle Moisture Cream

This moisturizer honestly sounds good enough to eat for breakfast! But you can settle for using it after your retinol. Glow Recipe went with banana because it’s skin soothing and hydrating, but also because it’s healing, which is perfect to counteract any irritation or redness caused by retinol. For additional calming and healing, there’s added Centella asiatica and turmeric.


Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Cream

Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Cream

Kate Somerville products are a go-to whenever your skin needs a pick-me-up, and this calming cream created to soothe and reduce redness is definitely one of the best moisturizers to use with retinol. As a matter of fact, the aim of this moisturizer is to help stressed skin. And while the aim of retinol isn’t to stress your skin out, this moisturizer will work as a team with it to counteract any side effects, build that protective skin barrier (thanks ceramides!), and keep skin calm. There’s a peptide complex and ginger root in there, which provides serious help for any redness.


Sunday Riley ICE Ceramide Moisturizing Cream

Sunday Riley Ice Ceramide Moisturizing Cream

This is another moisturizer you can apply after retinol to counteract its drying and irritating effects. It’s a rich but lightweight moisturizer packed with plenty of hydrators and skin-soothers such as squalane, vitamin F, hyaluronic acid, and coconut extract. The formula is also enriched with three types of ceramides working to fortify the skin’s natural moisture barrier and give it that boost to resist retinol.

The bottom line

If you’re going to incorporate retinol into your routine and make it a regular thing, adding in a protective, restorative moisturizer will create the ideal team that’ll deliver a complexion that’s not only beautiful on the outside but the inside too. Check out your ingredients and give ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid the big green light! They’re definitely superhero-like ingredients that create the best moisturizers to use with retinol.  

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