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This Calming Moisturizer Saved My Skin From Retin-A Dryness

Testament Beauty’s Damascus Rose De-Stress Moisturizer
Image courtesy of Testament Beauty; treatment by Ashley Peña.
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In 2023, I resolved to get back into a skincare regimen that involved some form of Retin-A. A couple months prior to the 2022 holiday season, I squeezed a few final drops of the precious stuff out of my well-worn tube of Retin-A and applied it to my face—then promptly forgot to replenish my prescription. September and October whizzed by, and suddenly, my face went from snatched and smooth back to its previous state (which was, essentially, not snatched and significantly un-smooth). By the time November rolled around, I was fully in holiday mode, partaking in all the merriment that comes along with it: late nights with friends and a bottle of pet-nat, a second helping from the Friendsgiving potluck table. As a result, my skin turned red and angry, breaking out around my mouth and chin with cystic, hormonal acne exacerbated by my indulgent lifestyle. It was as though my face had completely forgotten all the valuable lessons and experiences it had gleaned while I was steadfastly on a regular Retin-A routine.

And so, I returned to Retin-A—this time, a tretinoin, which is packed with vitamin A to treat acne, scarring and blemishes, discoloration, and wrinkles. As any Retin-A, retinoid, or retinol devotee knows, the first month or so of a new formulation wreaks havoc on the skin—making it bone-dry and causing the face to peel nonstop—before making it better. This time around was no different; except now, I had the knowledge that I needed a calming moisturizer, desperately, to relieve my face from the crackling itch.

Enter: Testament Beauty’s Damascus Rose De-Stress Moisturizer, which has become my saving grace from all tret-related discomfort. This cream—a sumptuous product perfect for wintertime, when you need something a little bit more luxurious to stave off excess dryness—taps the power of Damask Rose, a flower cultivated in Turkey that reduces redness and provides a radiant, sheer look upon application. (And I must say, after using this product, I’ve come to regard rose as something of a miracle treatment.) Despite its rich feel, the De-Stress Moisturizer is still wonderfully light and airy, making it a perfect for daily use. I use it morning and night, and have noticed a marked difference in my skin’s softness over the past few weeks. My cheeks are more supple, the acne scarring around my chin has chilled out, and I go to bed each night smelling like a bouquet of flowers cut fresh from the garden.

This is the first moisturizer ever released by Testament Beauty, a brand founded by former fashion and beauty editor Sophia Chabbott in 2021. The label focuses on providing products containing garden-grown Mediterranean ingredients—including its new Ancient Vine Vitality Serum and Moroccan Chamomile Sleeping Mask—and I absolutely notice a difference in terms of my skin reacting positively to the formulation. Turns out, a potent chemical like Retin-A must be tamed with all-natural ingredients, straight from Mother Earth.