“If you're overusing your retinol, or if you're using a retinol that's too strong for you, it can lead to peeling, irritation, and excessive dryness, which may have led to retinol's association with skin thinning,” she says.
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 your skin gets red or discolored and inflamed to the point where you are in pain, ice the area or apply a cold compress to help soothe your skin. Keep your skin routine as basic and gentle as possible while your skin heals from retinol burn, rinsing with cool water once per day and skipping makeup if you're able to.
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.
After a month or so with no side effects, you can likely use it every day if you want. Zeichner also suggests only using retinol at night. “The evening is a time of rest and repair, and cell turnover is at its peak,” he says.
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.
Generally, it takes a few weeks to see results, but some OTC options may require months of regular use. Most dermatologists said you'll need to use retinol for a few weeks before you see results, but you should see improvements by 12 weeks with most products.
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.
Don't Mix: Retinol with vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, and AHA/BHA acids. AHA and BHA acids are exfoliating, which can dry out skin and cause further irritation if your skincare routine already includes retinol. As for benzoyl peroxide and retinol, they cancel each other out.
To help combat aging, Dhingra recommends applying topical retinoids to this area. Retinoids, which are topical vitamin A-based derivatives, may help reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen production. If you use retinoids on your face, extend the treatment area to your neck and chest at night.
Purging usually lasts between two to four weeks, according to Dr Phillips. “Efficacy is partly determined by the formulation and strength of the product; however, on average, most people will start to see a difference after a month,” he says.
Skin purging typically looks like tiny red bumps on the skin that are painful to touch. They are often accompanied by whiteheads or blackheads. It can also cause your skin to become flaky. The flare ups caused by purging have a shorter lifespan than a breakout.
First, the answer is yes, retinol can make wrinkles worse, especially when you first start using it. What is happening is a drying effect, and one can get epidermal sliding from separation from the dermis.
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.
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.
Should you use retinol under your eyes? Yes, definitely. While it is true that retinol – a form of vitamin A – is a powerful ingredient and the skin under your eyes is delicate, there's no reason why you should miss out on the amazing benefits of retinol.
The truth: You can use vitamin C with retinol and retinoids. Get them as separate products so you can tailor the concentration of each and use them at the right time of day. Although vitamin C can be used day or night, it is ideal for daytime use, while retinol and retinoids should be applied at night.
Make sure you don't apply Vaseline after using powerful, retinol-based serums—the petroleum jelly can make those work too well, which can lead to skin irritation.
It's perfectly safe and okay to use hyaluronic acid and retinol together. Using skin care products that contain these ingredients together shouldn't cause any interactions or side effects. Hyaluronic acid and retinol are one of the most popular skin care combinations.
Some people have noticed acne breakouts after using retinol, though this is a rare side effect. Eczema flare-ups, skin discoloration, swelling, and stinging are also rare occurrences. Side effects are likely to disappear after a few weeks of regular use, so it's important to give your skin time to adjust.
Buffering—or layering a retinol product between two layers of moisturizer—can also help minimize retinol burn. “Benefits will be seen in about four to six weeks of consistent, nightly use,” she says. You might also get more breakouts once you start using retinoids. Keep calm and stick with it.
"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.
Hyaluronic acid is best if they're looking to moisturize dry skin, while retinol works better by encouraging better skin by boosting collagen production. They have several benefits that can work in tandem for better results, though patients need to be careful with the exact formulations they use.
During the adjustment period, it's best to avoid using any exfoliants or other skincare products that could irritate your skin. Instead, give your body two to six weeks to adjust to the effects of the tretinoin cream or gel before adding additional products into your skincare routine—and only add them if you must.
Quick Tips for Incorporating Retinol into Your Beauty Routine. Mix your retinol with your moisturizer, or apply your moisturizer first and then your retinol. Always use sunscreen the morning after you apply retinol. Your skin will be especially sensitive to sunlight, so it's important to protect it.