I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve wasted $50 on a skin care product touted by convincing influencers and gimmicks, only to be stuck with a useless tub of goop. But rarely, if ever, have I been disappointed with a skin care recommendation from my dermatologist. As obvious as that might sound, cutting through the crescendoing, superficial noise surrounding skin care is harder than you think, and for some, access to a trustworthy skin care expert is limited. With her brand SLMD Skincare, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee, MD, FAAD, FAACS, aka Dr. Pimple Popper, is bridging that gap. And SLMD Skincare’s two new retinol products coming on Nov. 8 are the dermatologist-developed and -tested skin care releases you can feel good about purchasing.
The SLMD Dream On Retinol Night Cream ($47, SLMD Skincare) and the Night Light Retinol Eye Cream ($49, SLMD Skincare) were born from what Dr. Lee’s circle of fans and followers asked for the most. This makes sense given that retinol, its benefits, and its side effects have dominated nearly every skin care conversation over the past year. But, this also means misinformation and oversimplification abound. For Dr. Lee, achieving just the right formula was crucial. “I have put myself in this position where people trust me and my opinion as a dermatologist, and I don't take that lightly,” Dr. Lee tells Elite Daily. “I realize that so many people can't see dermatologists and they have questions ... I want things that I would recommend as a dermatologist — that all dermatologists, in general, would recommend to their patients if they can't come in and see them.”
SLMD Skincare Retinol Night Cream And Retinol Eye Cream Details:
Thus, SLMD’s Retinol Night Cream and Eye Cream combine the best of both worlds: the skin-smoothing, wrinkle-reducing effects of retinol with a cocktail of other ingredients to counteract the dryness retinol can cause. For example, in the Night Cream, you’ll find ultra-hydrating squalane alongside vitamin E and probiotic lactobacillus, which fosters a healthy skin microbiome. Similarly, the Eye Cream combines retinol and lactobacillus with hyaluronic acid and caffeine. “There are so many other [ingredients] in there that are going to benefit your skin that are sort of cutting edge, or we're looking at these things now and seeing some real benefits to them,” says Dr. Lee. “It's good to put that all in there, because then, hopefully, people will feel like they’re over all those 10-step regimens. I don't like [routines] like that, personally; I would be stuck in my bathroom all day.”
While a moisturizer is widely considered a pretty essential part of most people’s nighttime skin care routines, the jury’s still out when it comes to the necessity of an eye cream. Some don’t see the need, writing off most eye creams as a gimmick. Others swear by them, claiming the formulas are specifically designed for the very sensitive skin around the eye area. Dr. Lee’s opinion? Be skeptical. “I normally say that you don't need a specific eye cream — that it is essentially a very gimmicky thing in some ways ... but I think there's something to be said specifically with retinol,” she says. “[The Eye Cream] is a great retinol to use that is specifically designed to be less irritating around that area. Because, in general, we usually tell people not to put [retinol] around their eyes.”
Who Should Use Retinol Skin Care Products?
You likely see non-prescription retinol-based products most associated with “anti-aging” skin care topics, like wrinkles and fine lines. (BTW, “anti-aging” is not real; the aging of your skin is extremely natural, beautiful, and should not be a cause for concern.) However, that doesn’t mean retinol is reserved for a certain skin type or age group. In fact, Dr. Lee says retinol is one of the “mainstays” of treating acne. So, if you experience acne and have been treated for it by a dermatologist, you may already be using prescription-strength retinol, which can help rid the skin of excess oil, break up the clusters of cells that form acne, and gradually lighten acne scars.
That said, if you have open wounds on your face from pimple-popping or scratching (we all do it), you can still use retinol to treat your acne. But, Dr. Lee also suggests placing a small pimple patch, like SLMD’s Spot Check Acne Patches ($20, SLMD Skincare) over any open wounds to treat them and to keep them covered and safe from any further irritation. “The deeper you traumatize your skin ... that can lead to issues with [scarring] being permanent,” says Dr. Lee. “That's why pimple patches are great, because they're going to help keep your hands off of it.”
Regardless, according to Dr. Lee, introducing retinol products like the Night Cream and the Eye Cream as staples in your skin care routine early on can set your skin up for success down the line. The key? Patience. “When we're younger and when we want something, we want it now. You don't realize that it's not a 50-yard dash — it's like a marathon,” she says. “[With retinol], you're not going to wake up the next day and look like you're 10 years younger. It is something that you want to use consistently over even decades, and it will have a definite added benefit if you do that.”
Of course, if you’re going to use a certain ingredient for that long, you have to really like the products you’re putting on your face. After trying SLMD’s Dream On Retinol Night Cream and Night Light Retinol Eye Cream myself, here’s how I rated it in the following areas:
The SLMD Skincare Dream On Retinol Night Cream and Night Light Retinol Eye Cream Review:
If you’re waiting for the part where I tell you I woke up with skin that looked wildly younger and smoother after using both the Night Cream and the Eye Cream for about two weeks, you won’t find it — not because these products aren’t efficacious, but because, as Dr. Lee said, that’s not how retinol works. That doesn’t mean you won’t see any initial positive effects. After using both products nightly, along with the rest of my skin care routine, for about a week straight I noticed a few small changes in my skin — ones Dr. Lee says are signs that retinol is beginning to work its magic. “The earliest things you might notice are a little bit of flaking, a little bit more dryness, and a little bit more need of something that's going to offset that,” she says, adding that you might notice a slight lightening of any dark spots of freckling on your skin.
Thanks to the hydrating ingredients in each product’s formula, I didn’t experience much, if any, dryness typically associated with using retinol — and that says a lot coming from someone with dry skin to begin with. Dr. Lee says it is important, however, to monitor your skin regardless, particularly “if you have a breakout of eczema or a skin irritation, like a rash, an allergy to something, or something else of that nature.” If so, you may want to hit pause on retinol or other harsh active ingredients that can cause more irritation.
Fortunately, the ease of use and the luxurious feeling of both the Night Cream and the Eye Cream made me want to keep using each product. For one, they’re both foolproof, and neither product comes with any off-putting scent. Second, while the price tag of either product isn’t insignificant, you get a good bang for your buck. Both a tiny dab of the Eye Cream lightly tapped onto the under-eye area and a small dollop of the Night Cream massaged around my face and neck absorbed into my skin quickly, but left it feeling soft and hydrated to the touch immediately post-application and when I woke up. And, as I kept using both products, I noticed that softness became more noticeable and lingered throughout the day, as did my skin’s radiance and tone.
Overall, I consider the SLMD Skincare Dream On Retinol Night Cream and Night Light Retinol Eye Cream a solid investment in your skin’s long-term health, not just from its effects on my skin so far, but because it comes from a trusted dermatologist. Both new SLMD products will be available for purchase on the SLMD Skincare site on Nov. 8.
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