Our expert guide on using retinol

Our expert guide on using retinol

10.10.2022 Off By manager_1

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If you are considering using retinol, it is important to ask how often. You can apply some products, such as the moisturizer, to your skin without any concerns. You should be cautious with powerful active ingredients like retinol.

Vitamin A has been used for years in the skincare industry as retinol. It can increase cell turnover, improve the appearance fine lines and wrinkles as well as uneven skin tone and blemishes. As more people realize its benefits, it has seen a significant rise in popularity. Anyone with an interest in skincare will want to test the best retinol serums and creams. We’re sure that’s why you’re here.

It can cause irritation so it is important to research how to use it correctly. If you are a newbie, you should start slowly. To get the best results, we asked industry experts to give us their recommendations on how often to use retinol.


Dija Ayodele is a skincare expert who founded West Room Aesthetics as well as the Black Skin Directory. She advises that you start slow and low. This means that you should use a light formulation and a small amount at night. Begin with two applications per week, on non-consecutive day. This will allow your skin to rest between. You can also use a hydrating moisturizer on nights when you don’t use your retinoid. This will reduce irritation such as dryness, sensitivity, redness and skin flushing in Black (areas that are darkening or gray patches).

You can increase the amount if you don’t experience any irritation. Dr. Sophie Shotter is the founder and medical director of Illuminate Skin & Welless Clinics. She says “A more oily or resilient skin will be able to increase frequency more quickly than a more sensitive or rosacea-prone one.”

It is important to take it slow and not rush the process. You won’t see faster results if you do it too quickly. It will cause irritation and your skin will not have the time to adjust. If your skin is sensitive, you can gradually increase the amount of retinol that you use. Dija suggests increasing your retinol use by 1 night per 3 weeks to allow your skin to adjust and become more comfortable with the retinoid. She suggests that you avoid adding too many active ingredients at once, as this can cause skin irritation.


You might be wondering how often you should use retinol after you have completed the building-up phase. It is possible to use retinol every single day, but it will depend on how your skin reacts to it during the initial weeks. Dr. Shotter states that some skins won’t be able to tolerate retinol for more than two or three times per week without experiencing severe side effects. Listen to your skin, and you’ll find the answer.

You must use a facial sunscreen every day, no matter how often you apply your retinol. Dija points out that retinoids can cause skin irritations and make it more sensitive. Therefore, you should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF30 or greater. You should also be careful not to introduce other active ingredients such as exfoliating acid at the same moment, especially if this is your first time. This can increase irritation.

What happens if you use too much retinol?

Retinol is an extremely powerful ingredient that should not be used in excess, as we have already said. Dr. Shotter says that retinol can cause skin irritation if it is used too often, in excess or in high doses. This can lead to skin flaking, redness, dryness and irritation. Sun sensitivity can also be a side effect. This can get worse if you use too much sunscreen.

Dija agrees that retinization can occur if you use too many retinoids, especially if you jump straight to a stronger strength. This can cause dry, sensitive skin and even breakouts. There may be some reddening and flaking, as well as skin flushing in Black skin. If this happens, you can take a break and apply moisturizer for a few more nights.


You don’t have to start using retinol until your 20s. Many people begin using it even later. It’s not too late to incorporate retinol in your skincare routine. Dr. Shotter says, “I have many patients who wait until they get older to invest in skincare.” It’s all about managing expectations. Retinol can be incorporated in the twenties and thirties, when collagen levels are high. This helps to preserve collagen levels and correct early signs of aging.

She continued, “But, when you use it when there are more signs of age, you will see good improvements in your skin, but you can’t expect it to turn back the clock and take your skin back where it was before skin aging started.”


The best face moisturizers can be applied after retinol to reduce dryness. Dr. Shotter says that if your skin requires more moisture, you should wait at least 20 mins after applying retinol to let the product absorb fully. This can help reduce irritation caused by retinol, and maintain the integrity of your barrier.

Dija says, “If your skin feels dry or tight after applying a retinoid to it, you can apply a layer of moisturizer over top.” If your skin does not feel the need for it, you can skip this step. Listen to your skin.


La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Serum

This gentle, all-purpose retinol serum combines the benefits and niacinamide of La Roche-Posay, a research-backed skincare brand.

L’Oreal Paris Laser Retinol & Niacinamide Revitalift Laser Night Cream

This night cream is lightweight and contains the anti-inflammatory ingredient Niacinamide. It sinks in to the skin beautifully.

Kiehl’s Retinol Skin -Renewing Micro-Dose Cream

This formula is a great choice for those with sensitive skin. It includes retinol and ceramides.

Medik Crystal Retinal 1

Retinal, another form of vitamin A, requires less conversions than that of retinol in order to reach the form our skin uses. Medik says it works up to 11x faster.

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Skin Serum

Sunday Riley’s powerful serum contains a potent blend of ingredients, including retinol. It helps to reduce blemishes as well as restore radiance.