I Burned My Face Off with Retinol… Here are the Products I Used to Fix It

Tower28 S.O.S. Mist

You all know that I am obsessed with a good retinol product. It’s the one ingredient I’m always recommending (except for pregnant and nursing mamas… you guys need to try bakuchiol!), because it gives you results fairly quickly, and you can find a good formula at any price point.

That being said, mama gets a little too zealous about her love for this ingredient sometimes, meaning I use too much… And then I burn my face off.

Waking up with red patches as a result of using too much retinol or another active ingredient is something I try to avoid. But on those mornings after I’ve been a little too heavy-handed and burned my skin, here are the products I turn to to soothe my skin and make it happy again.

In sum, Step One: Try not to burn your face off. Step Two: If you do, pick these up!

Tower28 S.O.S. Mist

It’s difficult to describe my love for this product fully. This is one thing that I use in my routine no matter what else I’m using. I switch up cleansers and treatments and moisturizers regularly, but this mist, which is designed to help rebalance the skin and teach it how to behave normal again.

It’s more helpful coming from them: “The hero ingredient, hypochlorous acid, is naturally found in your white blood cells, which helps to fight and defend your body from harmful bacteria and inflammation. When applied to the skin, HOCl triggers an immune boost, which then signals your body to repair and heal irritated skin.”

I cleanse, tone, spray this on and let it dry, then follow up with the rest of my routine. This was also a lifesaver after my IPL procedure.

soothing products for sensitive skin post procedure retinol burns

The definition of a super soothing, simple face cream. Sometimes that’s all you need, know what I mean?

When your skin is reactive or red after using too many. (or too much) of an active ingredient like retinol, you want to focus on rehydrating with simple, non-irritating ingredients. This formula features avocado and sunflower oil, along with aloe and chamomile. Lots of rich ingredients, but somehow it manages to feel light and elegant, and it soaks right in.

I apply a light coating of this on top of my reactive skin after a gentle cleanse, then really let it soak in before doing my (zinc oxide-based) SPF. Read more about some of my faves here and here, and some options for kids here.

soothing products for sensitive skin post procedure retinol burns

This guy is on the lighter end of a soothing moisturizer, but it still does the job. The texture is so cool too… it’s fluffy and has little pockets of air in it, as if it were a cloud trapped in a jar. You have to swirl it around a bit to make it smooth, then apply.

soothing products for sensitive skin post procedure retinol burns
Close up of the whipped, airy texture

Pro tip: This is a great formula to use as a “base mix” as well. That’s a simple moisturizer I use to mix with serums or other treatments that makes the treatment a little less intense, and a little easier to apply. For example, I mix this with my SkinMedica TNS Complex, because the TNS is a little hard to blend on its own, but mixed with this in a little skincare smoothie, it helps it to soak right in.

soothing products for sensitive skin post procedure retinol burns

This is a cult product for a reason. The lightest, smoothest gel texture foams up ever so slightly to gently whisk away dirt, and it does the trick without irritating your skin.

Pro Tip: If you’re using this to wash off a ton of makeup, you might want to cleanse with a good oil or balm cleanser first, then use this as your second cleanser.


Any products you swear by that soothe your skin? I’m all ears! Drop them in Comments below.


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