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How to Use Retinol the Right Way

March 30, 2021 4 min read

How to Use Retinol the Right Way

Retinol is the undisputed golden standard of the skincare industry. While new ingredients are always emerging, retinol remains a standard in most skincare kits for its anti-aging properties. Not only does this miracle-ingredient target fine lines and wrinkles, but it can also help minimize the appearance of blemishes. But retinol is also a highly potent ingredient that requires a little more understanding of how it works and how to use it. Read on to learn more about this golden product and how to reap the most benefits possible.

Types of Retinol

Both retinol moisturizer creams and serums are powerful products for anti-aging. The general consensus is that which form you choose is based more on personal preference than effectiveness. Serums are typically lighter and thinner, making it easier for the retinol to soak into the skin. Creams provide a protective, hydrating barrier that helps reduce flaking and irritation.

Start Gentle

While you might want the most powerful retinoid product on the market because you think it will magically erase your wrinkles and fine lines, retinol is an ingredient you need to build up slowly. It’s a highly effective product, but that also means that it can be highly irritating to sensitive skin. Starting small and gentle allows your skin to react to the product in a manageable way so that you can get an idea of how much your skin can handle.

Dry Skin Only

Start with a small amount of retinol on completely dry skin. Damp skin can cause irritation when too much retinol is absorbed into the skin. Smooth the product over your skin, starting with your forehead and moving down. Use a gentle, upward motion to avoid dragging the skin down. The exception to this is our Retinol Cleanser, which is specially formulated to work without the extra irritation from water.

Using Retinol for Acne

Retinol is known to be a potent ingredient to fight acne. It is exfoliating, which removes dirt and dead skin cells from pores, minimizes the appearance of new blemishes. Retinol is also known to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin that reduce the appearance of pores and scarring.

Avoid Mixing Powerful Ingredients

That means benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and any other super ingredient – including pretty much any targeted acne treatment. These ingredients can also be irritating, causing your skin to react even more strongly to the retinol.

Opposites Attract

Retinol is often used as a one-and-done product without having to fight with other powerful ingredients, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use other products with potent ingredients at all. Retinol is often applied at night because it can cause skin sensitivity to sun, so applying a Vitamin C or Niacinamide product in the morning can be a great way to get a double dose of skincare super boosters with less chance for the irritating side effects.

Use a Moisturizer

If you’re worried your skin may be too sensitive for the retinol you’ve chosen, you can first apply a moisturizer, wait 20 minutes for it to absorb and dry, then apply the retinol on top. The moisturizer will help protect your skin’s cells while still allowing the retinol to absorb properly.

Sunscreen is Your BFF

As mentioned earlier, retinol can cause sun sensitivity. Because retinol sloughs off the dead skin cells at an accelerated rate, the new skin underneath is extra sensitive. Apply at night to allow the product to work overnight then apply a light sunscreen in the morning for extra protection.  

How Often to Use Retinol

One dermatologist recommended method is as follows:

  • Once a week for one week
  • Twice a week for two weeks
  • Three times a week for three weeks

If after this period you still see no itching, irritation, or redness, you can bump your use up to once every other night. If your skin does react, move back to the previous phase.

How Long Does It Take for Retinol to Work?

Although there’s no one answer to this because everyone’s skin is different and is going to react individually, most experts say it takes between 8 and 16 weeks to see major results. You’ll see some changes, like less clogged pores and exfoliation of the skin sooner, but the potent anti-aging effects take longer to work. Even through retinol is the “gold standard” of the skincare industry, it’s not an overnight miracle worker. Stick with it and you’ll see the results!

Retinol and Pregnancy

Certain prescription oral retinols are associated neuropsychiatric disorders and physical deformations of an unborn fetus. Although the European Medicines Agency reports that topical retinols hold a negligible risk of harm, many medical agencies, including the EMA, have reported that all forms, both oral and topical, should be avoided to avoid unintentional harm to the unborn child (2018).

Shop Retinol Products

Retinol Moisturizer
The Radha Beauty Retinol Moisturizer is formulated with 2.5% active retinol for a boost of anti-aging power. Men and women alike love how it can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, crows feet, and promotes a youthful appearance.
$18.95
Retinol Serum (2oz)
The Radha Beauty Retinol Serum contains a powerful retinol complex that penetrates deep into the skin to promote natural cell turnover. This serum can help soften fine lines and wrinkles while soothing and hydrating the skin. Its benefits can help brighten and smooth skin tone and texture for a youthful, radiant complexion.
$16.95

Retinol Cleanser

The Radha Beauty Retinol Cleanser exfoliates the skin to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol is known to support natural skin cell turnover and natural collagen production to reveal a soft, youthful complexion. Our Retinol Cleanser is 100% Vegan, Cruelty-Free, and comes with a satisfaction guarantee!

$12.95



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