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How to Use Retinol: A Beginner's Guide

Retinol just might be considered the MVP of skincare products, treating everything from fine lines & wrinkles, to acne, to uneven skin texture. But is retinol safe for every skin type? Should you consider adding retinol to your skincare regimen? Are there side effects?

Don't worry; we've got all your answers in this beginner's guide to retinol. Read on!

The Basics: What is Retinol?

Retinol is a type of retinoid, which is made from Vitamin A. If you want to get technical [some of us do], "retinol" is somewhat of a catchall term used to talk about topical products which contain a vitamin A derivative. If you read the ingredients of certain skincare products, you will see different types of retinoids: retinyl palmitate (weak), retinaldehyde (stronger than retinol), or adapalene (the strongest over-the-counter option).

So you get the point. But here, we are simply talking about the catchall, MVP retinol.

Should you consider adding retinol to your skincare regimen?

FACTS: Sometime in your 30s, cell regeneration slows down, which can make the skin appear dry, dull, and wrinkly [eww... who wants that?]. Retinoids work by increasing collagen production [when used long term] as well as increasing the rate of skin cell turnover which can equal smooth & soft skin. Retinol can also exfoliate surface skin cells at an increased rate, which helps to unclog pores and keeps your skin refreshed. It's basically turning back time on your skin!

You don't really need to wait until you're in your 30s to start using this magical product.

Even if you don't have fine lines, wrinkles or acne, retinol can help maintain an even skin tone and fresh glow. It can also plump up your skin, clear and shrink pores, and fade dark spots and redness. So many benefits with this one little product!

So the answer is yes! You should absolutely consider adding retinol to your skincare regimen!

But is retinol safe for every skin type?

Yes, retinol is safe for just about all skin types, BUT its use needs to be carefully managed by a professional. If you have sensitive skin, especially, you need to be cautious. The best approach is to gradually let your skin acclimate to using retinol so that it will become more tolerant. How you ask? Good question.

First, start with the lowest strength [for example: SkinMedica Retinol Complex .25. Use this product only ONCE per week for two weeks while your skin acclimates, then increase to twice per week for one week, and gradually build up to daily use. If your skin tolerates the .25 strength, you can increase to the SkinMedica Retinol Complex .5 next. The SkinMedica Retinol Complex 1.0 is the highest strength and should only be used if recommended by a professional.

Are there side effects?

Side effects of retinol have been reported as irritation, including redness, dryness, and peeling. Retinol can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so it's even more important than usual to wear your sunscreen. Check with your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as some retinoids are not recommended.

So retinol really is the MVP of skincare products!

We think so! Book a virtual consult with us to find out which retinol strength is best for you, and then watch the anti-aging process begin! You're welcome ;)

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