What is the best retinol to start with?

Dermatologists regard retinol as the gold standard for adult acne and topical skin rejuvenation. Retinol can speed up the skin's renewal process, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, help with blackheads and whiteheads, fade sun-induced dark spots, improve the skin's overall texture, and bring out its natural glow.

What is retinol?

Retinol belongs to the vitamin A family, which consists of the fat-soluble vitamins found in foods such as carrots, eggs, and sweet potatoes, to name a few. When retinol is applied topically, it is converted to retinoic acid by specialized enzymes found in the skin.

What does retinol do?

Retinol can help with adult acne, smooth and refine skin texture, and enhance skin radiance. It accelerates skin renewal, enhances collagen production, and reduces the appearance of fine wrinkles, uneven texture, and age spots.

When to begin using retinol?

Most dermatologists will recommend incorporating a retinol product into an anti-aging skincare routine around 25-30. Retinol is typically used to help clear, mild acne, blackheads, and whiteheads for younger adults and teens.

Does retinol help with acne?

Due to its potent cell renewal properties, retinol can significantly help those with frequent acne and breakouts on the face. It helps to regulate cell turnover and has an exfoliating effect that can prevent clogged pores, pimples, blackheads, and cysts from forming.

When is the best age to start using retinol?

Most dermatologists recommend introducing retinol in your mid-twenties, particularly if you suffer from breakouts or pigmentation.

What is the best retinol to start with?

The MDacne retinol treatment system seems to be the best retinol kit for new retinol users. It contains two different strengths of pure retinol combined with niacinamide. We recommend starting with the retinol 0.25% + niacinamide 2% treatment cream, then continuing with the more potent retinol 0.5% + niacinamide 4%.

Should I use a retinol cream or a retinol serum?

The use of serums by people with acne or rosacea is not the best idea. Serums are clear liquids formulated to contain a high concentration of specific ingredients. That said, serums do not have the hydrating compounds that are included in moisturizing creams. Water-based serums can damage the skin's natural protective layer, while oil-based serums can clog the skin's pores and cause more acne.

What is the advantage of retinol creams over retinol serums?

Cream-based products, in general, create a stronger barrier over the skin, sealing the active ingredients inside. Liquid serums will have most of their effect on the surface of the skin only. The occlusive nature of cream-based retinol helps to retain the water inside the skin, allowing significantly better penetration of the active ingredients into its deeper layers.

What is the best retinol cream?

Examples of first-generation retinols are the Roc retinol, Olay 24 retinol, and the Ordinary Retinol 0.5%. The Roc retinol is one of the first retinols used. Formulated years ago, it contains parabens that are not accepted anymore in modern cosmetic formulations due to skin health concerns. Like MDacne retinol creams, Olay 24 uses a combination of retinol and niacinamide (vitamin B3) but unfortunately does not provide the same percentages of retinol. The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% is excellent simple retinol, but it lacks the calming and anti-dark spots effect of niacinamide and may be too irritating for most people. Unlike MDacne's retinol, those products do not contain additional anti-inflammatory and calming ingredients such as aloe vera or anti-territorial ingredients (tea tree oil).

What is the best retinol for people with adult acne?

Using a retinol cream can help women with mild adult acne and women with acne-prone skin.

What are the expected results from using retinol?

In just 4 weeks, you'll notice visible improvement in the texture of your skin and an increase in your skin's natural glow. After 3-6 months, it is excepted to show a reduction in blackheads and whiteheads and an improvement in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. The skin tone will be more even, and pores will look smaller. The niacinamide (topical vitamin B3) in the MDacne retinol cream helps retain moisture in the skin, keeping it hydrated. Niacinamide also helps with surface skin's cell turnover, regeneration, and exfoliation to remove dull skin.

What are the side effects of retinol and other retinoids?

Since retinol is such a potent ingredient, it can cause the skin to redden or peel as it is adjusting. If a high percentage of retinol is incorporated into a skincare routine too quickly or used too often, it can cause severe skin dryness, flakiness, and redness. For optimal results, it's best to start with a relatively low pure retinol percentage and gradually increase the application frequency.

Should I use a retinol eye cream?

It is possible to apply retinol to the sensitive areas around the eyes, but it needs to be a retinol cream with 0.25% or less. In the first month, mix a tiny drop of your retinol 0.25% in your palm with a similar amount of your moisturizer. Then, apply a small amount to the area around your eyes, starting with twice a week. As with other areas, apply the retinol at night and use sunglasses when outdoors.

Can I use retinol every night?

It is best to start with retinol 0.25% only twice a week for the first 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, it can be applied every other day; after 2 more weeks, it can be applied every night. Once the skin fully adjusts to the retinol 0.25%, switching to more potent retinol at 0.5% is possible. Always monitor the skin for irritation before you increase the application frequency or switch to more potent retinol.

What can you not mix with retinol?

Do not mix retinol with high amounts of vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, or AHA/BHA acids. AHA and BHA acids are exfoliants, which can dry out the skin and cause further irritation if your skincare routine already includes retinol. As for benzoyl peroxide and retinol, they cancel each other out when applied at the same time.

Is retinol a retinoid?

Yes, it is. Retinol is one of the most effective retinoids. When applied to the skin, retinol is converted to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid then enters the skin and increases cell turnover and collagen production.

Can you use niacinamide with retinol?

Mixing retinol and niacinamide is where the magic is. Products that combine retinol and niacinamide deliver retinol's full effect on acne and skin aging together with the hydrating, redness-reducing, and anti-dark post effects of niacinamide (vitamin B3). An example of that is MDacne's retinol that you order right here.

Can you use Retinol with AHA?

The alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) group includes glycolic acid and lactic acid, while there's just one BHA (beta-hydroxy acid), salicylic acid. Both Retinol and AHA and BHA are exfoliators and help shed the dead skin cells from the upper layer of skin. They can certainly be used in the same skincare routine but just not applied at the same time. Mixing these using two exfoliators at the same time can be too irritating for your skin. In addition, retinol doesn't work optimally on acidic skin, and mixing it with acids can reduce its efficacy. You can use your BHA (salicylic acid) or AHA products on alternating nights with your retinol for best results.

What are the uses of retinol serums?

Retinol serums can be beneficial for women in their 50s and 60s that also use thicker moisturizers. Younger women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s will benefit more from cream-based retinol, which is less irritating and will help more with both acne and signs of skin aging.

What are the best retinol products?

The best retinol cream or retinol serum is customized to your age, gender, and specific skincare needs. If you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s and want to target adult acne and fine wrinkles, you would do best with a retinol cream of 0.25% - 0.5% that is combined with niacinamide to provide significant additional benefits (decreases redness and helps to fade dark spots). If you are in your 50s or 60s, using a treatment cream with retinol 0.5% or a retinol serum combined with a separate thicker moisturizer is recommended. Check out this link for a retinol 0.5% treatment and this link and this link for retinol serums.

Can you use retinol while nursing?

No. Do not use retinol or any other topical oral retinoids during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

For more info: What are the effects of retinol on the skin?

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