Is Retinol Safe?

If you’re into skincare, you might be tempted to try retinol but heard mixed reviews. Some people rave about how this ingredient has transformed their skin, while others have not been so lucky.

What if I told you that retinol has long been used as a potent ingredient that has the power to clear a tough acne, smooth away wrinkles and fine lines, and is a cost effective way of getting an even skin tone.

What are the benefits of retinol for skin care? How can I include retinol in my skincare routine? From selecting the right percentage of retinol to applying it correctly, you can reap the benefits of this amazing ingredient.

It gets better.

I’ve compiled research on everything you need to know about retinol plus why you should be using products containing retinol for your skin and other health benefits of using retinol, as well as avoiding the side effects.

Here’s a tip- If you are worried about retinol being too strong for your skin, start by using a light potency such as 0.025%. Don’t use it every night either at first, slowly build up and see how your skin deals with it.

Stick around for the rest!

 

What is retinol?

Retinol is part of a group of ingredients called retinoids, and it’s actually a form of vitamin A. When it comes to choosing retinol for yourself, keep in mind that there is a range of potencies, from 0.02% all the way up to 1% and more. You can easily find retinol in a store or pharmacy, or for stronger retinol such as tretinoin, you may need a prescription from your doctor.

Retinol works by boosting cell turnover, unclogging your pores, preventing breakouts, and smoothing out fine lines to get a brighter complexion. It’s worked for so many people, could it be what’s missing from your skin care routine?

What is retinol

Benefits of retinol

When it comes to using retinol, there are some people who are worried about the drawbacks. But what about the positives? What are the benefits of retinol on the face?

Even skin tone

The main advantage of using retinol is that it increases skin cell turnover. Think of it as an exfoliant, that clears away dead skin cells and helps to reveal bright, even skin underneath. If you have dull skin, reitnol can help to boost your complexion to get brighter skin and have a stronger outer layer.

More elasticity

Since retinol boosts skin cell turnover, it also promotes the production of collagen in your skin. As you know, collagen can get broken down as time goes on, so you may not have a lot of it as you get older. Using retinol to increase collagen production is going to improve skin elasticity and hydration, helping your skin to look tighter and smooth out fine lines too.

Anti aging

This is one of the main reasons people use retinol, to reverse the signs of aging. Retinol is one of the most powerful anti aging ingredients you can use to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Since retinol promotes cell turnover, it helps to renew your skin, getting rid of dead skin cells and promoting new cell production so you get new, youthful skin. It can help to minimize a deep wrinkle or fine line and keep your skin looking fresh.

Treat acne

Another huge plus for using retinol is that it can treat acne. Some people who have struggled to treat acne and have tried everything we’re able to clear their acne completely using retinol. Retinol helps to unclog pores to prevent future breakouts, and fight current acne so it goes away completely. It will also help prevent acne scarring. It might be worth checking with your doctor for prescription retinol as this will be stronger for more severe, treatment-resistant acne.

Fades sun spots and hyperpigmentation

Whether with age or acne, our skin can get dark spots, sun spots, and hyperpigmentation that prevent our face from looking bright and clear. Retinol is great for fading scars as it promotes new cells, helping to get rid of the scar tissue and repair the skin. Using retinol will speed up the healing process, getting rid of old cells and replacing them with new cells much more quickly.

Whatever your skin concern, retinol can help to promote a healthier, brighter skin complexion and when used correctly, bring so many benefits to your skin.

Using Retinol

What are the side effects of retinol?

You might have heard a few horror stories when it comes to applying retinol. The good news is, if you use it right, you shouldn’t see any of these side effects. If you’ve started using retinol and you’ve noticed some of these side effects, it could be that retinol is too strong for you.

Common symptoms– If retinol is giving you a bad reaction, you’ll notice irritation, redness, dryness, and maybe some peeling or even acne flare ups. These are ways your skin is telling you to stop using it.

Too strong for sensitive skin- Keep in mind that retinol can be too strong if you have very sensitive skin or skin conditions such as rosacea. You might experience side effects if you use retinol in this case.

Sensitivity to sun- A normal side effect of retinol is that it will make your skin more sensitive to the sun. That means you have a higher risk of burning or damaging your skin if you don’t protect it during the day

Don’t use it if you are pregnant- There are not enough studies to show the effects of retinol on pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, so it’s best to avoid using retinol if this applies to you. Especially stronger, prescribed retinol, check with your doctor if you are unsure.

The key to avoiding the negative side effects of retinol is to use it the right way in your skin care routine. If you build up usage of retinol over time, your skin has time to get used to it and will react better to it as well.

How to use retinol in a skincare routine

So you might already have a skincare routine, or want to build one to include retinol. Where do you start? Here are a few tips for using retinol to improve the appearance of your skin in the best way possible, minus the side effects!

Use it at night- As mentioned earlier, retinol will cause sun sensitivity while you are using it, so the best way to protect your skin is to only apply it at night. That way your skin has all night to absorb the retinol without the risk of harmful UV rays

Use SPF broad spectrum- Yes, even if you apply retinol at night, you should use sunscreen during the day, no matter the weather. Since retinol works by renewing the skin, it will make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, so you need to be extra careful about protecting your skin in the daytime.

Start with a low percentage- If you’re trying out retinol for the first time, start with a low percentage, for example 0.02% retinol. There are a variety of strengths and retinols available, but this is going to allow you to see how your skin reacts to retinol. It will be more gentle on your skin, but still effective. If you start with a higher concentration, you may get a negative side effect.

Don’t use it every night– Similar to the previous point, but you don’t want to overwhelm your skin by using a strong ingredient like retinol every night. Start with twice a week, and slowly build up depending on how your skin reacts. Most people end up using retinol every other night or every night.

In a skin care routine- To use retinol in an evening skincare routine, you should start by cleansing your skin, then tone and exfoliate if you usually do this. After you can apply retinol and then moisturizer. Don’t try to use too many treatments or serums, try to alternate retinol and other serums on another day. Remember-Cleanse, tone then exfoliate, retinol serum, night cream.

Be patient- results will take a while to show up, from as little as a week to more than six months depending on the type of retinol treatment you are using. if you use over-the-counter retinols, these will take more time as they are gentler than medical retinols.

The right age for retinoids- There is no best age to start taking retinoids, but many dermatologists recommend the late twenties as a good time to start if you suffer from acne/pigmentation. If you want to take retinol for its anti-aging effects, then later on is fine. Prevention is even better than treatment!

retinol 2

Frequently Asked Questions on Retinol

What does retinol do to your skin?

Retinol boosts collagen production by getting rid of dead skin cells and promoting new cell turnover. What that means is you can use it as an acne treatment or to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and aging skin.

Can retinol ruin your skin?

Like other products, you need to be careful. If you are using prescription-strength retinol you may need to be extra careful or your skin could have a reaction. This is true for sensitive skin or people going through skin conditions too, which is why it’s important to tread carefully and start with a lower dose less frequently at first.

Can I use retinol every night?

If you are using prescription-strength retinol, then it’s best to check with your dermatologist. If you are trying out retinol for the first time, it’s best to start slow so your skin doesn’t get a reaction, and build up over time. Try to start with twice a week and then build up. If your skin can handle every night, then that is perfectly safe to do. Just remember to avoid sun damage, put on spf in the morning!

 

Final Thoughts

Applied topically, with the power to improve skin texture, retinol are worth a go when it comes to skincare. Whether you buy over the counter retinoid or prescription, retinol use can be life changing especially when you want to get rid of dark spots, boost collagen production, smooth out any wrinkle and generally improve the health of your skin.

It is a process, and it’s true that some people have experienced some irritation and dry skin, but with proper use you can make the most of retinoids. A pea sized amount of retinoid serum can be enough to see big improvements in your skin’s texture as well as fine lines and wrinkles.

Of course, don’t forget to wear sunscreen to prevent sun damage, dryness and irritation. So, if you’re looking for an anti aging serum that reduces fine lines and wrinkles and boosts collagen production, you might want to check out some form of retinol.

Have you tried a form of retinoid before?

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