Retinol, retinol, retinol—if you care about keeping your skin its most youthful, there’s a good chance you’ve stumbled across this word a time or two.
There’s also a fairly good chance that you’ve heard whisperings of retinol being harsh and damaging for some skin types.
Today we’re going to clear up all the myths surrounding retinol and give you a full and accurate picture of what it’s like to use retinol for the first time.
Let’s get into it:
What is Retinol?
If you’re unfamiliar with retinol, retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A. Generally speaking, retinol helps with cell turnover, collagen production, and reducing any “stickiness” in the pores that could result in acne and blackheads.
The result of using retinol is improved skin texture, reduction in fine lines, smaller pores, and a more even skin tone.
Basically, if you want a skincare ingredient that will go to work for you, fighting all the most common skincare concerns, retinol is it.
Having said all that, does that mean you should just slap loads of retinol all over your face every day and hope that your skin just magically transforms?
Retinol can be a relatively intense skin treatment, which is why it’s so important to have a plan for using retinol if you’re using it for the first time. Let’s discuss.
Using Retinol For The First Time
As mentioned, retinol can be relatively intense, especially if your skin is sensitive and/or not use to more intense skincare products.
In fact, many people develop retinol dermatitis if they use too much retinol too fast. Oftentimes, retinol dermatitis appears as redness, burning, itching, flaking, or dryness of the skin.
Probably not what you were looking for when you started implementing retinol into your routine.
To avoid retinol dermatitis you want to start with small amounts of retinol spaced out through the week. For instance, a small dab of retinol, three times a week rather than a full glob of it slathered all over your face every day.
This way, with slow use, you can see how your skin reacts and adjust how often you’re using the product accordingly. For some, regular retinol use might be okay. For others, they’ll have to limit their use.
What else should I consider when using retinol for the first time?
Because the improper use of retinol can result in such an uncomfortable rash, there are a few other considerations you’ll want to make prior to using it for the first time:
If your skin is damp and you apply retinol, it will penetrate your skin more deeply, resulting in more side effects than if you were to wait 10 minutes for your skin to completely dry.
Whether you’re using retinol or not, you should always apply your SPF; however, with retinol use, sunscreen is more important than ever. Retinol makes your skin more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays, meaning unprotected skin could result in a fairly serious burn.
This isn’t necessary for everyone, but if you’re finding that your skin isn’t taking the retinol well, you can always mix retinol with a small amount of moisturizer.
By doing this, you’re diluting the retinol and making it easier to spread out onto the skin rather than concentrating it all onto one area.
Have you tried retinol?
For some, they try retinol once, and because of side-effects, they never try retinol again.
This is a mistake.
Retinol can be hugely impactful on your skin, giving you a noticeably firmer and more youthful complexion.
The mistake people make is that they apply too much, too fast.
Even if your skin can only tolerate retinol once a month for the first 3 months, that is better than nothing.
Gradually ramp up your retinol use over time, and within the next year, we’ve got a feeling you’ll be applying retinol 3-5 times per week and loving it.
Tell us: What has been your experience with retinol?