Retinol for Sensitive Skin – My Experience

My skin is extremely sensitive, and I also have taken allergic reactions to products, so I test EVERYTHING on my arms for at least 24 hours before testing on my face.

I’ve tried various products with retinol over the past couple of years. I wish I had kept track of everything that I’ve tried. The ones listed below I have tried over the past year, and this is my experience of trying them out. Your experience might be different than mine because everyone’s skin is different, as are sensitivity levels.

With any retinol product use, sunscreen is a MUST! And you should be wearing it anyways!

First up we have Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol (1.7oz, $29 USD, mini sample 0.05oz $1 USD).

PC Retinol1

As per the Paula’s Choice website:

Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer contains a unique complex of ingredients proven to remodel your skin by building and preserving collagen, firming skin and protecting against moisture loss. The feather-light, silky texture provides substantial hydration. The active ingredients in the Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer are proven to make a visible difference in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, skin tone, and skin firmness.

My experience – This one is probably the best place to start if you’ve never used retinol based products before. I moved from using this every second night, to every night within a few days of using it. I think that it did help with fine lines and evened out my skin tone. But over our colder than usual winter, I didn’t find it gave me enough hydration, so I decided to try out the next retinol in serum form:

Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle Repair Retinol Serum (1oz, $40 USD, mini sample 0.034oz $1.50 USD)

PC Retinol2

Described on the website:

Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum is an exclusive formula that utilizes a proprietary blend of highly stabilized retinol, potent antioxidants, and skin-repairing ingredients. Its soothing, silky texture goes to work immediately to help skin of any age look and act younger. Anti-irritants reduce redness and soothe sensitive skin, and the serum helps fade red marks from past breakouts. With ongoing use, you will see fewer wrinkles, smoother skin, and improved skin tone.

My experience – I love this serum. It mixes well with other serums (like vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid). It really does go on silky. I think that because my skin was used to the moisturizer with retinol, that it made switching this one so easy. I think that it is helping with fine lines, and my skin is definitely smoother. I would recommend this one, but if you have sensitive skin, try to gradually introduce it if you’ve never used retinol based products before (like every third night, and then move to every second before using nightly.

This final product, I had received with a recent Paula’s Choice order, as a gift with purchase. Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment (1oz, $55 USD, trial size sample .16oz, $20 USD)

PC Retinol3

According to the website:

Combined with potent antioxidants, Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment is specially formulated to smooth and firm skin by helping to boost cell regeneration and stimulate collagen production. Its creamy lotion texture absorbs quickly and goes to work immediately to refine pore size, reduce deep wrinkles, fine lines, brown spots—it can even help breakouts, too! Licorice, oat extract and other anti-irritants help to minimize the irritation some people may get from products containing high amounts of retinol. You’ll be amazed at how much younger and radiant your skin will look and feel.

My experience: This one is in lotion form. It was way too strong for my sensitive skin. It stings, as in OMG GET IT OFF, GET IT OFF NOW! I didn’t use this one long enough to notice any benefits. I thought that I would be able to use this one since my skin had already adjusted to the previous retinol products. Nope. If you have sensitive skin, I would steer clear of this one.

All three products can be purchased on the Paula’s Choice website.

Disclosure: I paid for the two full sized retinol products, and third one (the trial sample size) was a gift with purchase.

Thanks for reading!!! ❤

23 thoughts on “Retinol for Sensitive Skin – My Experience

  1. I have a sample of that 1% retinol and I’m kind of scared to use it! 1% is mighty strong.
    For me, I have to test stuff ON my face rather than on my wrist or elsewhere because the skin on my face reacts differently than other parts of my body. I just have to make sure I test new products on the weekends.
    I have PC’s antioxidant serum with retinol and it caused redness and bumps all over my skin like a rash (I tested the serum on my face several times and it was definitely the culprit). I actually am using up the serum on the back of my hands to get rid of some old scaring and no reaction there!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It really sucks when that happens. I had a huuuugely bad reaction to a skin peel type treatment specially formulated for sensitive skin – it made my skin look and feel like a really bad sunburn within less than a minute! thank goodness I always have aloe gel on hand!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe you are reacting to the combination of ingredients in the PC serum?
      I test on my wrist first, then on a my face (near the jawline / hairline) before putting all over because I’d rather take a small reaction than have my whole face fall off.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. These were really helpful reviews! I’ve been wanting to try some more products from the Resist line but I have oily skin so I may start out with the Barrier Repair Moisturizer if I do decide to invest in a retinol product.


  3. I just placed an order with PC a few minutes ago and I needed a new moisturizer and decided to try the ” Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol” (first one in the post). I’ll let you know how I like it! Since my skin is getting used to the Rx I’m on for the Rosacea, I thought it might be time to add in something new.

    Liked by 1 person

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