How to Use Retinol in Skin Care Routine – 8 Retinol Tips

A girl demonstrates how she uses retinol in her skin care routine

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Scroll down for 8 most important retinol tips on how to use retinol in your skin care for the best results…

One of the dermatologists’ absolute favorite and an ingredient with impressive scientific backupretinol sure draws a lot of attention. Its benefits are widely famous, its side effects even more so.

But, though no one is looking forward to the redness and peeling retinol can cause, it would be a shame to pass on it, considering the magic it can perform on your skin. Plus, those notorious negative effects of retinol can be significantly diminished and even completely avoided, and we will talk in a minute on how.

But, before we dive into how to use retinol, let’s first quickly go through a list of the most important skin care benefits you can get from this vitamin A derivative.

Benefits of Retinol for Skin:

  1. Retinol minimizes wrinkles and fine lines and helps smooth the skin’s surface.
  2. Retinoids have been clinically proven to stimulate collagen production, improving the firmness and elasticity of the skin.
  3. Retinol also speeds up cell turnover and that way encourages the skin to renew itself faster.
  4. This ingredient helps control the oil production. It unclogs pores and prevents acne and blackheads.
  5. It also helps with already existing breakouts and has a significant positive effect on both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne.
  6. Retinol reduces uneven skin tone, fades post acne marks and other skin discolorations, such as aging spots, hyperpigmentation and sun damage.
  7. Products with retinol improve the texture of your skin, reduce rough, bumpy complexion and minimize the appearance of enlarged pores.

How to Use Retinol – 8 Most Important Tips

How you incorporate retinol into your skin care can make all the difference between desert dry, blistering red skin and a clear, youthful, glowing complexion. Here are 8 most important tips on how to use retinol for the best results:

Retinol Tips #1 – Start Using Retinol Latest When You Hit Thirties

As we age, the collagen in our skin starts to deplete, which starts to happen more rapidly in our thirties. That is why this age, or even mid-twenties, is the perfect time to add retinol to your routine, to slow down the breakage of collagen and stimulate the production of new collagen.

That said, as long as you use it in a way that your skin can tolerate, retinol can be very beneficial for skin even before that age. In fact, many people with acne start to use retinol as early as their teenage years, which can have a huge positive effect on their skin in the long run.

Retinol Tips #2 – Add It Slowly to Your Regimen

If you are new to retinol, start using a pea-size amount of a low concentration (0.01% to 0.03%) retinol product two to three times a week. Do this for several weeks or even months, so that your skin has time to get used to it.

Then you can slowly add it more frequently and use a bit stronger product, one additional day a week. Do this until you find your sweet spot – a frequency and strength at which retinol gives you the best results without causing irritations.

Retinol Tips #3 – Use It in Your Nighttime Routine

While using products that contain vitamin A derivatives, your skin might be more susceptible to sunburn. Plus, retinoids degrade in the light, so the sunlight can make them less effective.

Also, the sunlight and the heat can contribute to redness and irritation, unnecessarily making the discomfort worse. Because of all this, you should add your retinol to your nighttime routine, unless the brand you are using specifically states that their retinol products can be used in the morning as well.

Retinol Tips #4 – If You Are Results Driven, Apply Retinol First

Retinol is the strongest and most efficient when applied directly to bare skin. Apply it right after cleansing your face, but make sure your skin is completely dry. Damp skin absorbs better, which is not what you want with such powerful and potentially irritating ingredient.

When your retinol is fully absorbed, you can apply your moisturizer, to replenish, nourish and soothe the skin. If your skin is dry, you can even finish with a facial oil, to lock in everything.

Retinol Tips #5 – Apply It over Your Moisturizer to Avoid Side Effects

While some small retinol side effects are to be expected, burning, flaking and intense redness is certainly not something you want to experience. Especially if your skin is sensitive, you can introduce retinol to your routine even slower than described above. And you can somewhat dilute it.

To dilute your retinol, simply mix it with your face moisturizer and apply them together. Or apply the moisturizer first, as some sort of buffer. Then apply retinol on top of it.

Retinol Tips #6 – Don’t Mix It with These Ingredients

Retinol is powerful stuff. It might be best to use it with just some moisturizer, to replenish and soothe the skin. You should definitely avoid scrubs or any chemical exfoliants, such as AHAs or BHA on the nights when you are using retinol.

You can still use other actives in your skin care, just not at the same time as retinol. So, for example, you can use a vitamin C serum every morning. And alternate nights between retinol and your favorite exfoliant. Make sure to skip both on some nights unless your skin can tolerate actives so often.

Retinol Tips #7 – Wear A Sunscreen!

Here’s an advice you’ve probably got sick of hearing. However, retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Which means an SPF 30+, broad spectrum sunscreen is an absolute must, every day, no excuses.

Treating wrinkles and sun damage with retinol, then going out in the sun unprotected would be a really bad idea. We all know what kind of havoc UV rays can make on your face. A sunscreen and staying out of the sun when possible are still the best ways to preserve your skin’s youthful appearance.

Retinol Tips #8 – Be Patient

In skin care, nothing good ever happens overnight. And especially with such a powerful ingredient as retinol, it is so much better to take your time and go slowly than rush into it and make the things even worse in the long run.

Retinol is one of the best ingredients out there. So, make sure to use it in a way your skin can benefit from the most. Consistency over intensity is the key here. The only way to get the results you want with retinoids is to go one tiny, slow step at a time.

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