I’ve been using retinol for many years and I'm firmly convinced of the benefits (and there a ton of good studies to back them up).
What results am I talking about? Firmer and more toned skin from more collagen and production, fewer fine lines and less crepey skin, fewer breakouts if you’re prone to them, bouncier and more glowing skin.
I forget that if you’re not familiar with retinol, it can be a little scary. There are a lot of myths out there. There are also some products that don’t have enough actual retinol in them to give any sort of results.
Some of the myths might keep you from using a product that’s effective, safe, and has well documented benefits.
Retinol and the sun
Here is a myth that would keep me from using retinol. It’s the myth that if you use retinol, you can’t go out in the sun.
Retinol does NOT increase your risk of sunburn.As long as your skin isn’t red or irritated you can absolutely go out in the sun.
Of course, you should protect the fresh new skin cells on your face, neck, upper chest, and hands with sunscreen (but you’re doing this anyway, right?).
If you’re using a prescription product that has a “break in period” where your skin is red and irritated, then you should stay out of the sun until your skin is normal again. But if your skin is normal, get out there!
Using retinol at night (retinol breaks down in the sun, so use it at night anyway) after you’ve been in the sun can be a good thing. It has been shown to prevent the surge of the enzyme that breaks down collagen after UV exposure. This means you have a shot at stopping sun damage before it starts.
If your skin is red , peeling, or irritated, you should stop using retinol
When you first start using retinol products, there may be a “break in “ period where your skin isn’t happy. This is much more likely to happen with prescription retinoids.
It’s much less likely with retinol, and even less likely with all trans retinol which goes deeper into your skin with less irritation (win-win).
The key is to not stop using it.
If your skin is irritated, cut back and use your retinol every other day or every third day and gradually work your way back up to daily.
Or, you can mix your retinol into your moisturizer. The higher molecular weight of your moisturizer will slow the delivery of retinol down. Eventually you’ll want to use it first, then apply your moisturizer after your retinol serum has absorbed for the best results.
You shouldn’t put retinol around your eyes because it’s too strong
Retinol is no more likely to cause irritation in your eye area than anywhere else on your face.
And it’s really effective.
Your eye area is the first place that sun damage and aging show up. Since the skin is thinner there, retinol can be well absorbed and really give you great results.
Only use retinol on dry skin
The receptors on your skin work just as well whether your skin is damp or dry.
More is better
Not necessarily true.
Using many products with retinol might sound like a good idea, but it’s not.
There’s only so much collagen your skin can produce. Using retinol once a day will help your skin reach its maximum capacity.
Using more than that, say retinol serum plus retinol face cream, and maybe even a retinol eye cream and you’ve got the recipe for some big time irritation. And with no added benefit.
A focused retinol serum with 0.5 -2.0 % retinol is all you need.
Retinoids work by exfoliating your skin
I think this idea got started because of the redness and peeling that sometimes happens when you start using retinol. But that’s part of the break in process.
That’s not how they work. They work on a much deeper level to encourage collagen production, smooth your complexion and even out skin tone.
Rather than remove the top layer of your skin, retinoids work to strengthen your skin’s barrier function, reduce moisture loss, and protect collagen to prevent it from breaking down.
You need to wait 4-6 weeks to see results from your retinol
Think more like 3-6 months. Things will be happening but you won’t see the process on your skin for quite a while. And you’ll need to be consistent (daily, ideally) to get the full benefits.
A home run for your skin
You can get really good result by using a mild chemical exfoliant (like TCA) and all trans retinol.
By gently exfoliating excess dead skin cells, you help the retinol perform better.
That’s why we worked with one of the top cosmetic formulators in the country to develop StarDrops TCA and Retinol Serum. The TCA does the gentle exfoliation and the all trans retinol works even better.
It’s gentle enough to use every day and it delivers powerful results.
You’ll start to notice results faster (in 4-6 weeks) mainly because of the TCA. The retinol will be working behind the scenes and you’ll notice even better results as time goes on (3-6 months).