When Should You Start Using Retinol? (The million-dollar question)
As a dermatologist, I'm asked this question all the time: "When should I start using retinol?" The answer isn't as simple as you might think. Before we dive into the details, let's take a quick look at what retinol is and how it works. Then we'll talk about why you might want to use it and when is the best time to start using it—all so that by the end of this post, you'll have a clearer picture of whether or not it's right for your skin type!
What is retinol?
Retinol is a type of vitamin A that can be found in many products for the skin, including moisturizers, facial cleansers and serums. Retinol is also known by other names such as retinoic acid (tretinoin), isotretinoin and adapalene.
While all forms of vitamin A are beneficial to your skin when used correctly, there are some differences between the various forms available on the market today. Some people may find one form more effective than others at treating their specific skin concerns.
What are the benefits of retinol?
Retinol is a great all-rounder, helping with everything from acne and clogged pores to fine lines and wrinkles. It can also improve skin texture, reduce hyperpigmentation (spots), improve sun damage, even out skin tone and more.
Here’s a quick rundown of the main benefits of using retinol:
Helps with acne and clogged pores
Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Improves skin texture by reducing flakiness, roughness, dryness or any other sign of ageing on your face or neck area - which is something we could all do with! 4. Helps reduce hyperpigmentation (spots) 5 . Helps repair damage caused by UV rays 6 . Evens out your skin tone 7 . Repairs sun damage 8 . Softens large pores 9
How does retinol work?
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, and it has been proven to help with the production of new skin cells. Retinol helps your body produce collagen and elastin, two proteins that keep your skin looking plump and fresh. It also helps reduce wrinkles, fine lines, age spots and sun damage by increasing blood flow to your face which in turn brings more nutrients to your skin
What are the side effects and risks of using retinol?
When using retinol, you may experience some side effects. These side effects can include skin irritation and dryness. Retinol can also make acne worse, according to Dr. Ellen Marmur, a dermatologist in New York City and author of “Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist."
Some people may experience skin discoloration or dark spots due to the exfoliation that occurs with using retinol products, but this is temporary and often fades after two weeks of consistent use.
How do I use retinol cream?
In general, it is not recommended to use retinol cream during the day. The skin’s natural defense mechanisms are weaker during the night and can cause irritation and redness if exposed to harsh UVA/UVB rays.
Additionally, retinol creams should be used consistently for at least three weeks before you start noticing results. This is because it takes time for new collagen to form from underneath your skin's surface—and you need to build up this new collagen in order for it to be visible on top-level layers of your skin.
Finally, avoid using retinol around eyes and other sensitive areas (such as lips). The best way that we've found is by testing a small portion of product on an area where there isn't much hair or oil production like our forearm or thigh first just in case there are any adverse reactions like burning sensation or redness after applying the cream all over face once again after 24 hours elapsed since applying initial test spot!
How long does it take for retinol to work?
It's a question that everyone asks: How long does it take for retinol to work? While there isn't a definitive answer, we can give you some guidelines.
For the most part, it takes about 2-3 weeks before you start seeing results. But it depends on your skin type and how often you use the product.
If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, we recommend starting off with a lower concentration of retinol and then working up to higher concentrations as your skin becomes more accustomed to the ingredient (up to 0.5%). A general rule of thumb is that if after three days of usage there are no adverse reactions—no redness or other signs of irritation—then you should be good to go!
The frequency at which you apply retinol is also important: You should never apply too much; start by using only one pea-sized amount at night and slowly increase the amount depending on how well tolerated the product is by your skin.
Lastly, making sure that all products containing retinol are stored properly helps extend their shelf life because exposure to light degrades them over time (and who wants an expired product?).
Which retinol products should I buy?
You're probably wondering what products contain retinol. The answer isn't as straightforward as you'd think, because many skincare companies sell products that contain retinol but don't label them as such.
So the first step is to make sure a product you're interested in buying contains retinol by looking at its ingredients list—which can be found on the packaging or online. If your product has 0.25 percent to 2 percent pure retinol (or retinyl palmitate), then it's safe to assume that there's some level of effectiveness in the formula—but not much!
The second step is to look for other ingredients that may boost your results, like vitamin C and hyaluronic acid (also known as sodium hyaluronate). Vitamin C helps repair skin damage caused by free radicals (which are produced when UV rays penetrate the skin), while hyaluronic acid binds moisture onto skin cells so they stay hydrated longer than usual; together these two potent boosters help keep your face moisturized while also helping reverse signs of aging such as wrinkles and discoloration.
Before you start using retinol, talk to your dermatologist.
If you haven’t started using retinol yet and are interested in starting, it’s important to talk to your dermatologist about whether or not this is right for you. It isn't recommended for pregnant women because it can cause birth defects. People with sensitive skin may also experience irritation from retinol products, so consider that before making a purchase.
We hope we’ve answered all your questions about using retinol. It’s a powerful anti-aging ingredient that can give you smoother, younger-looking skin—but it does come with some risks and side effects. Before you start using it, talk to your dermatologist about how much retinol is right for you. And remember that if your skin starts feeling dry or peeling, stop applying the product immediately!