How To Use Retinol: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

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Have you just heard about this powerful anti-aging ingredient- Retinol, but have no idea what to do next? we’ve got you covered! 

Building a skincare routine from scratch might be difficult. There is such a wide selection of items on the market, that it can be difficult to decide which ones to buy and which ones live up to the hype.

One such ingredient that is getting a lot of attention nowadays is retinol. It is widely recognized as one of the most effective topical treatments and is found on every dermatologist’s top shelf. However, there is still a lot of confusion about it.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about using retinol correctly so that your skin can look its best without unnecessary irritation or redness.

How To Use Retinol: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

It is always a good idea to learn more about how specific ingredients work, what they do, and whether or not you are a fine fit for using them. This is especially true when there are as many myths about them as there is hype, as is the case with retinol.

Now, before we go any further, let’s find out what retinol is.

What Is Retinol?

Retinol, much like other vitamins, can go by a few different names; such as niacinamide, which is a type of vitamin B3,  Retinol is one of the most common types of vitamin A.

benefits of retinol

It is one of the most powerful ingredients that can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions. It’s an ingredient that’s in many skincare products and has been proven to speed up cell turnover, regenerate skin cells and make more collagen – all things that are important for fighting aging.

There are times when you may see “retinol” and “retinoid” used interchangeably, but they aren’t exactly the same thing: Retinol is a type of retinoid (a compound related to vitamin A). In other words, you could say that all retinol are retinoids, but not the other way around.

Moving on, let us look at the benefits that this skincare ingredient offers.

What Is Retinol Skin Care Benefits?

You’ve probably heard that using retinol is good for almost everyone, and that’s not a lie. Applying vitamin A in the form of retinol can help with many skin problems and offers various benefits. Some of them are listed down below:

 Retinol For Beginners
  • Retinol evens out your skin tone by steering clear of sun damage, acne scars, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation.
  • Retinol works by increasing cell turnover, reducing inflammation, and improving skin elasticity.
  • Retinol not only gets rid of fine lines and prevents wrinkles, but also makes new wrinkles less noticeable.
  • Retinol keeps oily skin under control, and also prevents pores from getting clogged. This means that blackheads, cysts, and pimples happen less often.

With all these benefits in mind (and many others), it’s easy to see why retinol is such a popular skincare ingredient!. Let us now see how to apply retinol for effective results.

How To Use Retinol for Better Results?

If you have never used retinol before, take it slow at first; because retinol can be irritating and it’s easy to give up on.

Even if your skin doesn’t usually get irritated, you may find that it does when you add vitamin A to your skincare routine. Remember that “Low and slow” is the rule for first-timers. 

To begin with, choose retinol with a low concentration of around 0.025% that is suitable for your skin type. With retinoids, a small amount goes a long way. 

retinol skin care

Always start with a very small amount, about the size of a pea, and apply only at night. Because as your skin is in repair mode, you’ll obtain better benefits. Next, you have to wait for a few days to see how much your skin can handle and adjust the routine accordingly. 

To apply retinol correctly, all you have to do is simply dab a small amount on your forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin and rub gently to spread the product out evenly. For sensitive skin around the eyes, use a milder cream base retinol of lower concentration. 

To get the best results, wait at least 30 minutes before applying other skincare products. If the product causes your skin to become red and flaky, consider mixing it with regular moisturizer.

With that being said, retinol itself can be irritating. It’s best not to use them with other harsh things such as benzoyl peroxide salicylic acid AHAs/BHAs scrubs etc.

Now that you are aware of how to use retinol, let’s discuss how often you should apply it.

How Often To Use Retinol?

As a newbie, start with retinol once or twice a week and work your way up to every other day or three times a week to observe how your skin reacts. It’s best not to use it more than that until your skin has had time to adjust.

retinol skin care benefits

Also, it’s better not to use any product containing retinol if you plan on getting some sun exposure. Because retinol can make you more sensitive to sunlight and may increase the risk of developing sunburns or even skin cancer if used during the daytime. 

To avoid this, try using an SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum sunscreen every day as well as a moisturizer during the day while using retinol products.

How Long Does It Take Retinol To Work?

When you start using retinol, you won’t see results right away. It takes time for it to work and to show expected results. 

 how to use retinol in routine

However, while doing so you might also experience what we call a “retinol purge,” like more acne, redness, or skin that is peeling. As long as it doesn’t hurt keep using the retinol because as soon as your skin gets used to it these side effects will go away

If you use retinol every night for at least four to six months, you will see some improvement in fine lines, dark spots, and acne. To see an apparent result, it’s important to stick to the routine!

What Is the Best Time To Begin Using Retinol?

The most popular reason people add retinol to their routine is to reap the anti-aging benefits retinol provides. As it is always preferable to do pre-aging than anti-aging, it is recommended to start using retinol when you hit your mid-twenties or thirties, as that is when collagen levels in the skin start decreasing more rapidly.

normal skin

Those under 25 should not use it right now. Because your skin’s metabolism is already very active and adding retinol could cause it to work too hard and cause inflammation. 

Moreover, many people under 20-25 years of age experience breakouts, and you wouldn’t want to do anything that could make it worse. So it’s better to avoid using it. 

If you want to incorporate it into your skincare regimen, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist before using it. 

Can Retinol Be Used on All Skin Types?

Retinol is safe for all skin types, although some may experience dryness, redness, and irritation, which is typical, especially if it’s your first time applying retinol to your skin. Even so, there are some things that people with different skin types should know.

For combination, oily, or acne-prone skin, thinner retinol formulas work best, like a fluid or gel that absorbs quickly and doesn’t feel heavy. Because retinol makes your skin drier than usual, your skin can handle it better if it has more oil.

how to apply retinol

If you have acne-prone skin, you might experience some breakouts when you first start taking it, but they should go away fairly quickly. If you have normal skin, retinol with hyaluronic acid works well for you.

For dry skin, you might want to mix retinol with moisturizer. Retinol can cause dry patches and peeling, so to counteract the drying effects of retinol, you should have a soothing moisturizer on hand.

Whereas those with sensitive skin should be mindful that it may be more difficult for them to adapt to the ingredient’s potency. 

Having said that, it might not work like this for everyone. If you have rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis, it’s probably best to stay away from retinol because it can be too strong for skin like yours that needs a gentle touch. It can make skin even more inflamed, dry, and sensitive.

Note – If you are pregnant or nursing, you should avoid using retinol.

Ultimately, let’s have a look at some of the Dos’s and Don’ts of using retinol.

What Are the Do’s and Don’ts of Using Retinol?

When it comes to skincare, retinol is one of the most effective ingredients, yet the wrong application can make skin much worse. There are some things you should do and not do when applying retinol.

 how to use retinol

Some of the Do’s Are:

  1. Choose the correct concentration of retinol.
  2. Always Apply Sunscreen after using retinol.
  3. Use an only a pea-sized amount for the entire face
  4. Do take more sun safety measures

Some of the Don’ts Are:

  1. Don’t mix retinol with other harsh ingredients such as vitamin C, and AHAs/BHAs.
  2. Don’t use too much of it at once or too often.
  3. Don’t apply retinol in the morning or when exposed to the sun.

Final Thoughts: How To Use Retinol for the Best Results

That’s all! We hope this articles helped you understand how to use retinol correctly.

Even though there are some worries about using it too much (or not enough), so you should be mindful when using it. Although there are products with low concentrations of retinol that you can try which are unlikely to cause harm.

If you have any other doubts about how to use retinol or if it is appropriate for your skin condition, always see your dermatologist first.

Let us know if you’ve tried retinol before and how well it worked for your skin.

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Swaliha Baza, born and raised in Mumbai, India writes fashion-related blogs focusing on modest fashion. She provides readers with a wide selection of modest clothing ideas, outfit inspiration, and styling guides in order to assist them in finding the right modest style for themselves.

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