Can Retinol Damage the Skin? You may have heard that extended retinol use can cause the skin to thin and the skin barrier to degrade as a result of increased cell turnover, but Shah says that's a myth. You don't need to worry about retinol causing permanent damage, Schlessinger says.
If you're wondering if you're clear to use your retinol as a long-term anti-aging strategy without negative side effects (like compromising the strength of your skin), both derms agree the answer is yes — in fact, you'll need to use it continuously if you want to keep benefiting from the effects, says Dr. Colbert.
With retinoids, it's often a “worse-before-better” type of situation. Typical side effects include dryness, tightness, peeling, and redness — especially when first starting out. These side effects usually subside after two to four weeks until the skin acclimates.
Do the results last if you stop using retinol? Yes, but most dermatologists say you'll want to resume using it for optimal results. "Retinols help turn back the clock. If you have to stop them (for example while pregnant), your skin is still better from the time you were using them," explains Dr.
People use Retin-A too much, use it too often, experience negative side effects and then give up on it too soon, doctors say. The problem with Retin-A is that it may actually make skin look worse — with redness, flakiness and peeling — for up to eight weeks.
Skin purging happens when new ingredients, like retinol, promote increased cell turnover, which causes clogging and worsening breakouts. This is particularly the case as oil and debris that is trapped deeper underneath the skin comes to the surface.
Chemical exfoliants or acne treatments can contribute to a damaged skin barrier, especially if overused. Think retinoids (like retinol or Tretinoin), AHAs, and BHAs. If these actives are used at too high of a concentration or too frequently, they can irritate your skin and compromise the skin barrier.
Again, there is no definitive evidence that topical retinoids lead to cancer or reproductive toxicity, but the evidence we do have is pretty much on par with that of parabens.
In general, retinol is one of the more gentle varieties of retinoids, however, “if you're going to experience shedding it will begin on day three to five of daily night time use, and this usually continues for about five to 10 days depending on your skin type and the percentage of retinol you've used,” adds Ejikeme.
Peeling, redness, and irritation are common onset reactions for some people when they first start to use retinol. Some reactions get so bad that the common term used to describe the list of effects has been dubbed the “retinol uglies”. Note from a skincare expert: Many things in life get worse before they get better.
Retinol significantly decreased both hormone levels, however retinoic acid decreased the progesterone level only.
"You can definitely prevent [the retinoid uglies]," he says. "First, make sure it's applied to dry skin. Apply every third night for the first two weeks, then every second night for the next week, and so on so that your skin can get acclimated to it.
A report in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology concluded that retinoids are “suitable as long-term medications, with no risk of inducing bacterial resistance.” Another study tested the safety of tretinoin cream over 52 weeks and found no problems.
No, it's not. It's just an adjustment process. For the record, no study proved that there's been any skin damage or signs of 'faster aging' caused solely by retinol.
Tretinoin works best when used within a skin care program that includes protecting the treated skin from the sun. However, it does not completely or permanently erase these skin problems or greatly improve more obvious changes in the skin, such as deep wrinkles caused by the sun or the natural aging process.
Purging is slightly different, appearing on the skin mostly as blackheads or small skin-coloured bumps just under the surface of the skin. But it is also possible for purging to cause similar spots to a breakout, too.
Retinoids work best if you use them daily. Specifically, they should be used at night because some types are deactivated by light and air. It's important to start slowly and allow your skin time to adjust. Using too much too quickly can cause redness, dryness, and irritation.
In acute toxicity, ingestion occurs because of the ingestion of a large amount of vitamin A over a short period of time. In chronic toxicity, intake is over a longer duration. The most common adverse effect of topical retinoids is skin irritation, notably erythema and peeling.
Maternal use of synthetic vitamin A (retinoids) such as isotretinoin (Accutane) during pregnancy can result in multiple effects on the developing embryo and fetus including miscarriage, premature delivery and a variety of birth defects.
Dr Murad advises: “Watch out for things such as redness, flakiness, tightness, itchiness, rough to the touch, fine lines, increased breakouts and rashes are all signs of a compromised barrier. It can appear in large or small areas over the body or face.”
It can range from minor pimples to cystic acne, as well as dryness, redness, and peeling. Also, it is important to remember that retinol isn't the direct cause of acne.