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Retinol FAQs

What is the difference between retinol, Retin-A and Renova?

Retinol is a natural form of vitamin A, while Retin-A and Renova are based on retinoic acid, a synthetic derivative of vitamin A, which is prescription only and considered a pharmaceutical.

What can I expect from regular use of retinol?

With continuous usage, improvements in your skin may become visible after just a few days. Users of retinol generally notice diminished fine lines and wrinkles, a smoother overall appearance of facial contours and evened out skin tone. You may also notice your skin becoming more supple and healthier- looking. Sufferers of keratosis pilaris may also see improvements from use of retinol products.

Can I use retinol if I have dry skin?

Yes. Those with very dry skin may have an initial period of light flaking, but generally, this is nothing to be concerned with. This is actually a stage called the retinoid effect, and is simply your skin acclimating to the vitamin A. It is generally a short period of time, and can be eased by skipping every other night until your skin has adjusted.

Is there a difference between retinol and Alpha Hydroxy Acid?

Yes, Alpha Hydroxy acids are used to encourage topical exfoliation, while retinol is used to help generate the renewal of skin cells from deep under the skin.

Is it okay to use Alpha Hydroxy Acid products while using retinol products?

Yes, use of one doesnít preclude the other. However, if using both, you might try applying AHAís in the early hours and retinol products in the evening, before bedtime.

Iíve heard that retinol can make your skin overly sensitive to the sun. Is this true?

You may notice some increased sensitivity during usage, so make sure to use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 before spending time in the sun.

My skin is flaking from retinol use, what should I do?

This may be whatís called the retinoid effect, and is a temporary acclimation of your skin to retinol. Generally, skipping every other night in the beginning should allow your skin to adjust. However, it is always advised to consult with your dermatologist if you are experiencing any discomfort.

How long until I see results from retinol products?

Each individual case is different; however, many people see increased radiance of the skin and smoothness in as little as two weeks. Sun damaged skin may take a while longer, but you should see improvements during the first few months of usage.

Does retinol treat acne?

Retinol is not a pharmaceutical, thus it isnít prescribed by doctors for acne treatment. However, due to the increased exfoliation and skin renewal benefits of retinol, some OTC retinol products that target acne have had good results, leaving your skin looking clearer and less clogged.

Is there any time when use of retinol products should be avoided?

It is not advised to use more than one retinol product at the same time. Also, if youíre undergoing any kind of skin peeling treatments or using a particularly strong AHA, you might temporarily avoid retinol products until your skin has adjusted, to avoid any chance of irritation.