Retinol is a type of Vitamin A that can be found in over-the-counter skincare products. It's a powerhouse ingredient that can help with a variety of skin concerns, from wrinkles and fine lines to acne and sun damage. But, like all good things, there is a right way and a wrong way to use retinol. If you don't use it properly, you may experience irritation, or you might not get the results you're aiming for. Here are some dos and don'ts to help you get the most out of this fantastic ingredient.
What Is Retinol And What Are Its Benefits?
we dive into our dos and don'ts, it's essential to understand what retinol is and how it works. Retinol is a form of Vitamin A, which has many skin benefits. Vitamin A is known to help improve overall skin health, which is why retinol makes such a great skincare ingredient. Retinol benefits the skin in various ways:
- Anti-Aging: Retinol helps boost collagen production, which is one of the skin's building blocks that naturally decreases as we age. This strengthens and smooths the skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Evens Skin Tone: Retinol promotes cell turnover, which allows the skin to repair itself faster and reduces hyperpigmentation and age spots for a more even skin tone. It also slows down melanin production to prevent further hyperpigmentation.
- Reduces Acne: Retinol gently exfoliates the top layer of skin, removing dead cells, dirt, and bacteria. This unclogs pores and eliminates acne-causing bacteria for blemish-free skin.
- Skin-Protecting: Retinol has antioxidant properties that help to neutralize free radicals that can damage the skin. This allows your skin to protect itself better against environmental factors.
Does Retinol Have Any Side Effects?
Retinol is a skin-saving ingredient, but it's important to use it properly, or your skin can become irritated because of how powerful it is. Not to worry, we have compiled a list of dos and don't so that you can experience all of retinol's benefits without irritation.
Retinol Dos And Don't
Don't: Use Too Much At Once
You don't need that much retinol to start seeing results. You can start seeing skin improvements with concentrations of 0.25% to 1%. If you use high concentrations of retinol on skin that hasn't previously been exposed to it, you may end up with itchy, red, and/or dry skin. Your skin doesn't know how to react to a sudden increase in cell turnover, so using too much retinol at once when your skin is not prepared is not good.
If you have a darker skin tone, DO NOT exceed a 0.5% concentration. People with darker skin tones have more melanocytes, which produce melanin. High concentrations of retinol can cause inflammation, which increases melanin production and results in hyperpigmentation.
Do: Ease Into It
Start off slow. Begin with products with lower concentrations of retinol until your skin is more used to it and gradually work your way up to higher concentrations. We recommend starting around 0.01% to 0.03% for beginners with sensitive skin, then work your way up to 0.04% to 0.1% for intermediate users, and then 0.2% to 1%+ for advanced users. Try using it every other day for a couple of weeks and slowly ease into using it daily.
Don't: Apply Retinol In The Morning
Using retinol in the morning can make your skin more vulnerable to the sun's harmful UV rays, so many dermatologists say the best time to apply retinol is at night to avoid sun damage. Night creams like the Dēpology Anti-Aging Retinol Night Cream are perfect for a nightly retinol ritual.
Do: Moisturize Consistently
Retinol can have a drying effect if not supplemented with additional moisture, so make sure you are incorporating plenty of moisture into your skincare routine in addition to staying hydrated. Moisturizers like hyaluronic acid keep your skin from drying out when applying retinol.
Don't: Combine Retinol With Incompatible Ingredients
Some ingredients cause an adverse reaction when combined with retinol, so it's important not to use them at the same time. Don't use retinol with Vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, and glycolic acid, which are other common skincare ingredients. If you want to take advantage of the benefits of these ingredients, make sure you use them in the morning rather than at night when you apply retinol to avoid skin irritation and redness.
Do: Be Consistent
As with all other topical skincare ingredients, it might take some time for you to begin seeing results. Be patient and use retinol consistently, and you will start to see results over time. People typically begin to see visible skin improvements over the first few months.
Don't: Use Retinol While Pregnant Or Before Hair Removal Treatments
There are a couple of situations where you don't want to use retinol. During pregnancy, too much Vitamin A can be harmful to the fetus, so doctors recommend avoiding products with retinol during that time. You also don't want to apply retinol immediately before or after getting facial laser hair removal or waxing because your skin may be more sensitive.
The Final Verdict
We hope you find these dos and don'ts for using retinol products useful. Remember, retinol is a powerful ingredient, so it's important to use it according to the directions on the product label and keep all of these tips in mind. And as with all skincare products, be sure to test it on a small area of your skin first to ensure you don't have any adverse reactions. As long as you follow these guidelines, you can enjoy all the anti-aging benefits that retinol has to offer!