5 Retinol Myths to Stop Believing ASAP
Retinol is a mainstay in anti-aging skin care arsenals far and wide. As with most uber-popular skin ingredients, retinol is not without its fair share of false information. Isn’t retinol the same as retinoids, retinoic acid, and retinyl palmitate? Wait, there’s a difference?! But aren’t they bound to irritate your skin? If you’re scratching your head, don’t fret. We’re clearing the air on these vitamin A derivatives once and for all, below. Keep scrolling to discover five common retinol myths you should throw out the window, stat.
Myth #1: It’s Best to Start with the Highest Concentration of Retinol
Don’t underestimate the power of retinol—for your skin’s sake. Trust us when we tell you that it’s wise to build a tolerance to the product first. If it’s your first time using retinol or it’s been a while since your last application, start with a lower concentration twice per week and gradually increase frequency—and concentration—as tolerated. This will help lessen the chances of an adverse reaction.
Myth #2: Retinol Can Only Help with Wrinkles and Fine Lines
Nope, nope, nope. Retinol is the ultimate multi-tasking ingredient. Research suggests that retinol can help visibly reduce signs of skin aging (think wrinkles & fine lines), in addition to improving an uneven skin tone, and smoothing and refining skin’s appearance. No wonder it’s so popular!
Myth #3: Irritated Skin After Retinol Use Is Normal
Yes and no. Some experts say that irritation that flares up after retinol use is to be expected and will eventually die down once your skin becomes adjusted to the ingredient. If your skin is slightly drier than usual with a few flakes here and there, it’s less concerning than incessant peeling, burning, stinging, or an allergic reaction. In the latter case, it’s very likely that the retinol concentration you’re using is too strong. There’s also a chance that you’re applying it incorrectly or too frequently. If your skin feels uncomfortable after retinol use, don’t ignore it. Consult your dermatologist for the best advice.
Myth #4: Drugstore Formulas Don’t Work
Of course they do! Prescription retinoids—retinoic acid and tretinoin—are stronger than the over-the-counter, drugstore retinoids— retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde, and retinol—but both can be effective. That said, not all retinoid formulas are created equal. Study the ingredients list of a retinoid product before using it to ensure it’s the real deal. When in doubt, consult a professional.
Myth #5: You’ll See Results Immediately
Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Retinol can work really well, but it likely won’t improve your skin overnight. It may take a number of weeks, or months before you see results. But don’t be discouraged! Like they say, all good things take time, right?