Retinoids are becoming more and more popular as a way to reduce the effects of aging. From reducing wrinkles to evening out pigmentation, retinol seems like a skincare secret weapon. But with any popular skincare trend comes lots of misinformation—let’s clear up some retinol myths!
In today’s blog post, we’ll cover some of the most common retinol myths out there (and why they’re untrue).
Let’s dive in so you can find out whether this skincare savior is worth adding to your routine!
What Is Retinol, Anyway?
LOTS of skincare experts are discussing retinol right now. But most of us aren’t even aware of what it is (or what it does!)
Let’s go over some retinol basics so you can get a handle on what it actually is.
The term “retinol” is typically used to refer to any topical products that contain a vitamin A derivative. Retinol products tend to have varying levels of strength—some are sold over-the-counter and others are only available by prescription.
Retinol has been shown to:
- Smooth out fine lines and wrinkles
- Prevent new wrinkles from forming
- Exfoliate your skin on the cellular level, leaving it brighter and smoother
- Even out your complexion by fading sun spots, acne scars, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation
- Regulate oily skin
- Prevent clogged pores that can lead to blackheads, pimples, and cysts
Clearly, retinol has lots of benefits, which is why so many people rave about it! But along with the hype comes retinol myths. Let’s set the record straight on all things retinol.
5 Retinol Myths & The Truth You Should Know
With all the buzz around retinoids, it’s no surprise there are some retinol myths floating around.
We’ve separated the facts from the fiction when it comes to retinoids. Here’s the real scoop on this miracle product so that you can try it with confidence!
Myth #1: Retinol Works By Exfoliating Your Skin
Retinol use is often accompanied by peeling and redness. Many people assume that’s a side effect of an exfoliating process.
But retinol works on a cellular level, not through surface-level exfoliation!
Retinoids affect your gene expression, which lets them increase collagen production and smooth out your skin.
Myth #2: All Retinoids Are The Same
Some people believe that all retinoids are the same, because retinoid is the catchall term for vitamin A derivatives.
But there are actually lots of different retinoids! They vary widely in terms of strength and availability.
An anti-aging formula you’d find in a drugstore is likely to contain weaker retinoids than a prescription option. You’d be able to purchase retinoids like retinyl palmitate and retinol (the most tolerable for your skin) on your own.
But more potent retinoids, like tretinoin or tazarotene, require a prescription. They work faster and are more effective, but can also be more irritating for your skin.
All retinoids are effective, but work in different ways. If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend trying out the HD Vibrant Retinol Advanced +!
Myth #3: Retinol Increases Your Chance of Being Sunburned
This is one of the biggest retinol myths out there.
Retinoids are typically sold in opaque packaging to prevent them from breaking down in sunlight. This has given way to rumors that retinol reduces your skin’s defenses against UV rays. That’s not why they suggest you try it at night!
Applying retinol at night makes sure that the retinoids don’t break down so you’re getting their full power. Clinical studies have definitively shown that retinoids do not make your skin more prone to burning.
Myth #4: Retinol Always Irritates Your Skin
Many people will tell you that retinol irritates the skin, but it doesn’t have to.
True, skin often goes through an adjustment period with retinoids. During this time, you may experience dryness, flakiness, irritation, or even breakouts. Don’t panic!
Retinoids promote skin cell turnover at a faster rate (which we want!) So your skin needs to adjust to that faster rate. Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce any irritation during this time.
Step One: Choose a Gentle Formula
Like we said above, different retinoids have different levels of strength.
Choose one with a gentle formula to start. You can use products containing retinyl palmitate or retinol to ease your way in.
Step Two: Start Slowly
Ultimately, you want to be using your retinoid products most nights of the week to maximize your benefits.
That doesn’t mean you have to start there!
Take it slow—start by using it one night a week for the first week. Bump up to two nights a week for two weeks. Incrementally increase like that until you get to where you feel is good for your skin.
Unsure what’s best? If you have sensitive skin, work up to using it every other night. If your skin isn’t sensitive, you can make retinol a part of your nightly skincare routine.
Step Three: Use Small Amounts
One of the most amazing things about retinoids is that you only need to use a tiny bit to see a significant change!
After you wash your face, use a small amount to cover your whole face. The exact amount depends on the product you’re using.
If you’re using a night cream, you want just enough to cover your face in a very sheer layer.
With a serum or prescription, pump out a pea-sized drop and spread that over your whole face. After 20 minutes, you can apply your usual serums and moisturizers over it.
Myth #5: Retinol Only Works To Help Treat Wrinkles
While retinoids are excellent at treating wrinkles, the idea that that’s all they do is another one of the retinol myths.
Besides keeping your skin smooth and wrinkle-free, they work on a cellular level to offer other benefits. Retinol increases collagen and elastin production. This helps make your skin clear and glowy while fading dark spots!
Retinols work beyond the topical level that other skincare products help. Because retinol works directly on your cells, they transform your complexion over time.
Now you know the truth behind the retinol myths. Are you ready to give it a try yourself? Reduce wrinkles, smooth pigmentation, and firm your skin, all with just a couple of drops. Give it a go and spread the retinol gospel to your skincare-loving friends!
What retinoid products are part of your routine at home?