- How (and Why) To Use Retinol + Recommendations -
Written by Editorial Intern Amanda Schroeder.
I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t benefit from a little bit of retinol in their life. Retinol, which comes in many complicated forms in skincare, is basically vitamin A. The benefits when applied to your skin are so total that it seems almost like witchcraft. Retinol increases your skin's rate of cell turnover, which keeps acne and wrinkles at bay and also helps your skin repair itself faster. This means that retinol is good for a plethora of skin concerns, including general dullness, acne, scarring, wrinkles, and maintaining firmness. So how do we use retinol? I’ll offer up some pointers below!
First things first, retinol is NOT an exfoliator and should not be used in place of one. Often times your skin peels when used in excess or when first starting, which many people conflate with exfoliation. If anything, you should be exfoliating MORE when using retinol, as your skin is producing more dead skin than it did previously. I highly recommend using a gentle chemical exfoliator everyday, even the days you use retinol. If it feels like your skin is beginning to stress out, supplement some moisture with an essence or serum with hyaluronic acid (hint: Maude products are formulated with hyaluronic acid!)
Retinol is the sort of product you want to wean onto. I personally use it every three days, switching out between different night treatments. (Side Note: if I could be so bold, I recommend having three night treatments in rotation: one retinol, one collagen or peptide, one suited for your needs.) Usually every three days is perfectly fine for most individuals who aren’t addressing an immediate skin concern, but if your struggle with conditions like scarring or acne or are into your later years, it’s appropriate to up your frequency.
I wanted to stick to products I have personally used, either currently in the past, not just ones I have heard good things about. The amount of retinol on the market, however, is colossal. Feel free to shop around, but remember that not all retinol is sourced and created equally!
You can buy this baby for $10 - $15 at most super markets. Its targeted to treat acne so it’s usually lurking amongst the clean and clear products. This is probably my favorite “starter product” because it’s low risk and the results are awesome. Just be sure to not start by using it every day. Your skin will peel and you will come to hate the product, but it’s just doing its job! Start with every three days or so then work up from there if you’re actively treating conditions like acne or advanced aging.
Luna Oil by Sunday Riley
This. This is my holy grail product. So pricey, so perfect. I once listened to a 30 minute interview with Sunday Riley on how she formulated the Luna Oil and it truly changed my life. I know that she also recently came out with another vitamin A treatment, but I haven’t tried it and I’m not sure why I would when she already has the most perfect skin product on the market. I couldn’t recommend it more. The downside is the exorbitant price. The upside is your life will change for the better.
This is a prescription only product, so please don’t buy it anywhere online (scam likely). I am currently trying to get back on this treatment, but it’s really only prescribed for individuals with active skin conditions, not as preventative care. I used to use it for acne and it was a miracle worker. If you struggle with related conditions or are concerned about aging, I highly recommend talking to your dermatologist about either Retin-A or other prescription retinol products. This also shows how long I have used retinol for. I probably started back when I was 15, so about five or six years! My skin gets clearer all the time and all the acne scarring I had from years of cystic acne is solved.
And be on the look for a retinol serum from yours truly coming soon!