Retinol is one of the holy grails of skincare, especially when it comes to reducing the signs of aging and enhancing your complexion. This derivative of vitamin A is one of the lower strength varieties of retinoids. Still, it is one of the most commonly used types in everyday application, whereas other, more powerful types require prescriptions due to their potency.

There are countless success stories from clients who saw their skin transformed after introducing retinol to their skincare routine, but many still have questions. 

Let’s address 5 FAQs our experts often answer about the use of retinol and what it can do for your skin. 

How Does Retinol Work?

As we age, the process of cell turnover slows down, leading to issues like clogged pores, hyperpigmentation, dullness, and dry spots. When applied, retinol works as a chemical exfoliant, encouraging our outer layers of skin to shed and allow new cells to take their place. 

In the process, it also boosts collagen and hyaluronic acid production, both of which play a role in keeping our skin plump and youthful. 

What Kinds of Products Should I Look Into?

Before you choose a product, there are a couple of tips to keep in mind. 

First, know that your initial use of retinol should be a lower concentrate that you can slowly increase over time. Starting too high can cause excess irritation.

Second, start by using it only a couple of times a week. As your skin adjusts, you can gradually ramp up to using it every night. Always use a moisturizer after applying retinol to keep your skin hydrated and your skin barrier healthy. 

We recommend Tensage® Stem Cell Eye Cream, ideal for combatting signs of aging in the fragile eye area. The powerful formula of caffeine, peptides, antioxidants, soothing botanical extracts, brightening agents, sodium hyaluronate, and retinol is effective against crow’s feet, dark circles, and under-eye puffiness. 

For a more comprehensive application, D·E·J®Night Face Cream is an intensive nighttime moisturizer formulated to work while you sleep, with time-released 0.25% retinol combined with bakuchiol. Night Face Cream works by using the skin’s own microbiome to address the visible signs of aging, supports short-term and long-term skin health, and helps sagging skin appear firmer. 

Are There Extra Precautions I Should Take?

When you first begin using retinol, you may notice some irritation, redness, dryness, and peeling. This is especially true for those with sensitive skin. Some have reported that introducing retinol into their skincare routine caused eczema or acne flareups in rare cases. These concerns are usually temporary and will disappear within a couple of weeks. It is essential to give your skin time to adjust to retinol. 

If the irritation, breakouts, or flareups seem to be excessively painful or won’t go away, speak to your trusted dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Institute about possibly scaling back the potency or frequency of use. 

How Do I Know if Retinol is Right for Me?

Most skin types can handle retinol, but those with susceptibility to sensitive skin or conditions like eczema may want to opt for something a little gentler. 

Alternatives like Resveratrol, an antioxidant derived from grapes and available in SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E Antioxidant Night Concentrate, are gentler while still providing antiaging benefits and relief from oxidative stress. 

What Kind of Results Can I Expect?

The bad news is that retinol may take up to 6 months for visible results and up to a year for the full effect.

The good news is that the changes in your skin will include an increase in youthfulness, vibrancy, and overall appearance. Hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, and acne will decrease. Your skin will be more smooth and refreshed, making retinol worth the wait.