7 People on Surviving the ‘Retinoid Uglies’

So you decided to experiment with a retinoid. Congratulations on trying what dermatologists universally agree to be “the most useful anti-aging ingredient around.” It also helps with acne, so good job on finding a beauty product with actual multi-uses!

But a little-known side effect of retinoid is something colloquially known on internet message boards and the beauty world as the “retinoid uglies.” Known as a skin-care “coming of age” phase, it’s an adjustment period (the timing is different for everyone) when your skin “purges,” often resulting in excessively red skin and peeling. Much like puberty, the “retinoid uglies” feel different for everyone. The experience can get so bad that there are even Reddit support groups. The Cut talked to seven people who went through the “uglies” about what it was like, and their advice for getting through it.


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