A mature woman with wavy brown hair smiles as she applies moisturizer to her face.

Every 28-40 days, a new skin cell develops in the deepest layer of the epidermis and moves toward the surface. As we age, this cell turnover rate slows down, and can leave our faces looking dull and dry. “Sandwiching” uses layers of retinol and moisturizer to help cells reach the surface faster, leaving brighter, more youthful skin.

Sophia Collins, Master Aesthetician at EVMS Med Spa, says that sandwiching can be an effective way to improve skin’s texture and appearance. “It takes time and dedication, but using a slower approach avoids the retinol uglies,” says Collins, “but this is the period in which retinol is doing its best work – turning skin cells and clearing out pores. Fortunately, this time of possible increased breakouts and skin irritation is temporary.”

All skin types can benefit from sandwiching.

Dry, oily, sensitive – all types can see an improvement with sandwiching. When you mix a moisturizer with retinoids, you are actually making the retinoid less effective, so even the most sensitive skin can benefit from the buffered effect.

Use your normal moisturizer.

Ideally you can use your regular daily moisturizer or night moisturizer for this method.  Remember, the thicker the consistency, the more it will hinder the retinoid.

Hyaluronic acid can be included too.

Hyaluronic acid is very beneficial to the skin. Most people apply this wrong. To be 100% effective, it should always be applied to moist skin, not dry.

Introduce retinoids to your skin slowly.

When first using retinoids, it is best to ease in. Start on a lower dose which falls within the range of 0.01%-0.03%. Use this every other day and work your way up to using a higher dose daily.

Five easy steps.

First, wash your face using a mild cleanser. Do not fully dry your face – make sure the skin’s surface is moist. Next, apply a thin layer of moisturizer, then a retinoid. Add a layer of hyaluronic acid at this point (if you wish). Finally, apply another layer of moisturizer.

Sandwiching may be confused with slugging – another trending skincare method.  In slugging, an occlusive moisturizer like petroleum jelly is applied to the face as the last step before going to sleep. The goal in slugging is to create a barrier to seal in moisture.

Collins recommends having regular monthly or quarterly medical grade facials where skin health can be monitored. The esthetician can also evaluate whether the home skin care routine will keep the client on track for their desired skin care goals.

Learn more about the EVMS Aesthetic Med Spa and schedule an appointment by calling 757.226.8089.

Sophia Collins, Master Aesthetician at EVMS Aesthetic Med Spa, has worked for two decades in the skin care industry, with advanced knowledge in all aspects of aesthetics. She has traveled the globe researching the best spas in the world, graduating with her Masters in Esthetics from Yvonne De Vilar Scientific Skincare Institute.