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Oops! Easy on the RoC de-wrinkle stuff!

So, when I bought the Costco Lifetime Supply of RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream gunk, as part of the new lifestyle retread scheme, I thought I was buying the usual wussy over-the-counter pretend cosmetico-pharmaceutical, designed and pitched to make the customer feel good but in reality unlikely to do much of anything.


It definitely does something. What exactly the something is remains to be seen. However, at the moment it’s a shade on the alarming side.

The stuff stings a little when you put it on, but I took that as unremarkable, because the Alpha-Hydrox I used to smear on my face did the same. Today, however, an hour or two after I’d rubbed this stuff in, covered it with an SPF 45 sun block, and powdered over the whole mess with SPF 20 makeup, my cheeks and chin started to hurt and feel uncomfortably parched.

Naturally, I was on the campus, so there was nothing I could do to get it off. Not for several hours after this burning sensation began did I get home where I could remove the layers of makeup and goop.

Once I washed it all off, what I discovered is that my face looks like it’s been burned. Not critically—like a middling sunburn, I’d say. But still: the irritation is there, and the skin all over my cheeks and nose has turned bright red.

I have been staying out of the sun, and each morning I’ve applied a liberal dose of Neutrogena’s best SPF 45 sun cream, plus some fairly opaque makeup also advertised to have some SPF qualities. So I doubt that it’s sunburn. I think it’s a reaction to the wrinkle gunk.

The package copy says, “You may experience mild tingling and redness during use.” Hm. I’m not sure “mild” is the term I’d use here. It continues: “This is normal and should be temporary until your skin adjusts.”

We shall see.

In the meantime, we’ll be hurrying the “adjustment” along by cessation. I’m going to quit using this stuff, at least until the inflammation subsides.

I probably overdid the slathering by applying the gunk in the morning as well as at night. The package does say you can do this, as long as you’re careful to use sunblock and hats. But it seems to recommend using it at night only.

A number of users have complained about similar discomfort. Unlike this woman, I do not have sensitive skin (to the contrary), but the effect fits what she describes, except for the eye symptoms. Presumably the redness and burning sensation will go away, one hopes without lasting damage.

If you’re going to use RoC or something like it, I’d suggest a conservative approach. It might be wise to try it on a small patch for a few days (it took several days for this reaction to develop!). Also, I certainly wouldn’t advise applying it more than once a day—maybe less than that, once every two or three days.

While it’s less than pleasant to go around in old-lady rhino hide, some things may be worse…

5 thoughts on “Oops! Easy on the RoC de-wrinkle stuff!”

  1. I’ve been using products with alpha-hydroxy for many, many years. It is an effective but strong ingredient so I would highly recommend that you only use it at night, even if you don’t have sensitive skin. If you do use it during the day, wear a hat and sunblock.

  2. Yup. If you’re going to wear this stuff, get yourself an excellent sunblock.

    But it should be recalled that I did wear a highly rated, SPF 45 sunblock, and also that I stayed indoors most of the time. So, I would add to the advice that a person should test it on a small part of the face for about three days before rubbing it on all over.

    It’s interesting that the Alpha Hydrox, which I also used morning and night, didn’t have that effect.

  3. I believe the ROC stuff is actually a retinol. Like you said, start with once a day at night, and if that irritates your skin, back off and try again at once every other night. Had some experience with a retinol type product – they do work though!

  4. @ Sally: No question of it: discretion is the better part of valor with these products!

    Now that my face is finally pretty well healed up — after four days! — I’d say that yeah, the wrinkles actually look a little better. If that can be accomplished without scorching off the top layer of skin, the product can definitely be said to work.

    In the discretion department: The wrinkle cream’s instructions say not to apply it around your eyes, and even though I did not knowingly do so, I got scorched all around the orbital area, which is taking longer to heal and looks really gawdawful. Finally figured out that I did use the tube of eye cream that came with the set…applying it after I’d applied the wrinkle cream. The blowtorch stuff must have still been on my fingers! That’s the only explanation for how it got anywhere near the eyes. So: wash your hands with soap and water after applying the retinoid cream, and be careful not to touch your eyes or any other sensitive areas while you have that stuff on your hands.

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